I am thankful for the invitation to come here today.  I congratulate you and your Club on this, your latest fine achievement.  I have very pleasant memories of enjoying the excellent social amenities here some years ago.  I am pleased to recall your victory in the Championship last year and I am delighted that you have reached this stage in a new chapter of the Club’s development with the provision of these facilities.

I want to pay tribute to and thank those members of the Club who, by their generous voluntary involvement, do so much for the good of the community. It is always a joy too to come here and celebrate Mass with you in your beautiful Church of St Colmcille.  

There is always an atmosphere created by people who are paying attention to what they hear and mean what they say.  That is a sign of a community that is mature and responsible.  

I met a junior Grange supporter in the Cathedral earlier in his green and white shirt.  When I asked what exactly is going on here today he told me that new training facilities are being provided and opened today.  

Of course training is a very important part of everyone’s preparation for life whether it is training to live in society and avoid anti-social behaviour; whether it is training for employment and work so as to make one’s contribution; whether it is training for family and marriage responsibilities; All of this is training – preparation for life on this earth.

Nowadays training is also part of recreation – a huge part – so much so that some would say that it is no longer sport but really is a type of warfare in which people compete against each other and battle it out to prove their superiority.  

All of this is for life in this world but as Christians – as rational human beings – we do not believe that life in this world – on this earth – is all there is to it.  We happen to believe that we are different from the brute beast and that there is something of us and about us that will survive life here on earth.  The question is how?  In what state and while we don’t believe it will all depend on us, we do believe we have a part of play.  So preparation – training for that – is also important.

I never cease to be amazed at the sacrifices people are prepared to make for the glory that will last a year or a decade – while at the same time they will be quite careless about training in such qualities as virtue.

Of course there is quite a overlap.  Every great team respects its opponents and the qualities and talents of its own teammates.  The virtue of respect for people, for life and for the give of life, is important.

There is respect for obedience from the supremo – trainers – and Managers – people depend on them for selection but surely there has to be a place for obedience to the community of the Supreme Being – the Creator on whom we depend.

I hope these new facilities will make a big contribution to the life of Grange Football Club.  I hope they will enhance the self-worth of every player.  I hope that people will respect the Sabbath – that the Lord’s Day was not introduced by a spoil-sport God – but by people who were attentive to the Commandments.  Remember keep holy the Sabbath Day.  

I interpret your invitation to me to come here as an invitation to come and bless these facilities. Of course when we bless something we praise God the source of all that is good and we beg the protection of the God who sustains us at every moment of our existence.  For our prayers to be genuine and attentive I think that there is implied on all of us a decision to do all in our power to fulfil the Will of God.