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Today, along with members of the Edmund Rice family spread throughout the world, we celebrate the life of Blessed Edmund Rice – a man who chose to make the world a better place.

At the core of Edmund’s drive to transform the world was his deep belief in Jesus and his desire to ‘do what Jesus did’.

We have almost nothing of Edmund’s own writings or things that could tell us what he thought, in his own voice, but we have the evidence of hundreds of witnesses who knew him and passed on the story of the man they knew, respected and loved.

Edmund was a son, he valued family and knew that he was part of his family with all of the rights and responsibilities of being a son.

Edmund was a father and husband. A man who loved tenderly and gave himself to look after his family.

Edmund was a brother to the young people who lived on the streets and needed someone to reach out to them and offer them a hand up. Edmund was a brother to the other men who came after him and tried to follow the model of loving service that he started.

Perhaps most importantly though, Edmund knew that he lived because God gave him life. In Church language we say that he was ‘a child of God’, but to him this was an incredibly true and real thing. He knew the presence of God in his life so centrally that he could not but live that truth in his every day life. It shaped and coloured every one of his relationships.

Edmund’s whole life, like the life of Jesus, was lived in relationship, and powerful, yet incredibly simple, choices to look out for those in need and to stand up for people who were left behind by society.

Today we look to him as the father of our tradition – the one who created our way of following Jesus. Let us remember this simple man from Ireland with great pride, but also hear his challenge, his ‘Call’ to follow Jesus and to make our world a better place.

In our celebration of the Mass today we are marking his Feast Day by doing something that he loved, we came together as a community to remember that Jesus is at the heart of who we are. As well as this, three boys – Lorencz Arnold, Kyle Armstrong and Zane Warnecke were baptised (become members of the Church) and a large group of other young men received their First Holy Communion. Edmund would be full of joy that these young men chose to make these next steps on their journey of faith and relationship with Jesus.

Mr Tim Kenny - Dean of Identity