A poem for #Rescue 116

On St Patrick’s Day, I put a few lines here about the terrible tragedy that occurred off the West Coast of Mayo on March 14th. On that night, I was here in my house in East Mayo around midnight.  I’d called a priest friend just before midnight and we ended up having a lengthy conversation enough.  During that call I heard the sound of a helicopter passing overhead and it seemed to be very low and its sound suggested it was close enough.  At that time of night, I felt certain it was responding to an emergency somewhere.  I like helicopters and, had I not been on the phone, I know I’d have walked outside.  I’d have followed the lights and prayed for those on board.  As it was, I know I said a quick prayer.  I had no idea where the helicopter had come from nor, did I know, its destination. Sadly the next day, with all of Ireland and much of the world, I came to know its story. 


On Monday last I heard your sound
you in sky and me on ground,
on the phone, chatting with a friend
wondered where your journey's end?

Someone somewhere was in need
prayed you'd reach them with due speed
and from the sky you'd hover low
to help the stricken ones below

The sound was loud as you crossed Mayo
I prayed God's blessing as you'd go
a fleeting wish that you'd be blest
and to ones troubled you'd bring rest

An hour later I went to bed
your journey then had left my head
a few hours later the story broke
as to a new day I awoke

Helicopter missing near Black Sod;
Could it be them? I asked my God
is that the one that passed last night
to ease another's troubled plight?

​And yes it was or so it seems
in a world shattered by broken dreams
In lives laid down, you gave your all
in answer to another's call

Your photos now before our gaze
friends and family offer tear-filled praise
and the loss they feel is ours too
for​ as a nation we mourn you

How could you as crew have known
the destiny to which you'd flown
but know this now and for evermore
your memories in our hearts we store

To Dara, Paul, Ciarán and Mark
who flew that night into the dark
know this day, you gave your best
in God's hands we leave the rest.

One Comment:

  1. Thank you, Father Vincent, for your posts on R116. Your poem is an expression in a way of the reality of the Communion of Saints as was your spontaneous prayer for the crew as they flew late and low overhead. I’m sure that your prayer was heard as they lost their lives in a team effort to help someone who had to be rescued. Thanks too for the link to the video featuring Captain Fitzpatrick. May they all rest in peace and may the remains of Ciarán and Paul be recovered soon. Thank you too for your ‘Letter to Father Jacques’ in the March issue of Sacred Heart Messenger. I’m sure you’re aware that his cause has now been officially opened. [http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/04/13/french-diocese-opens-cause-of-fr-jacques-hamel/ ]

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