The Most Reverend Dr Robin Eames Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of all Ireland
Jesus told his listeners: "I am the Resurrection and the Life". The great events of that first Easter Day proved beyond doubt the meaning of what Christ had said. For the Christian that is the centre of the Easter message - a message of hope, love, triumph and certainty. Christ had risen from the dead and overcome all that the evil, darkness and hatred of this world could achieve. The resurrection turned hope into reality.
Easter Day 1998 dawns on an Ireland where so many will feel encouragement and fresh hope for the future. The efforts of our two governments and the political parties to reach accommodation have involved courage and great effort. The result of their work will have answered the longing of those who have prayed for progress. No one doubts the difficulties which still remain. Much has been demanded of our understanding as events have unfolded. Still more will be demanded of everyone in the days ahead. Attitudes are dictated by experience. There are many this Easter who will find it very hard to come to terms with what is demanded of them. Somehow the real spirit of the Easter hope must be translated into a new era of confidence across our island home. For too long we have lived and breathed an atmosphere of failure and frustration and we are weary of it all. We long for stability and the confidence throughout the community which will allows lives to be lived to the full and in safety. It is in the hearts and minds of people that the real battle for peace and reconciliation must be won. It is in our attitudes to each other that the real message of Easter must be seen.
Jesus said: "I am the Resurrection and the Life". For the Christian that is our hope and that is the centre of our faith. The challenge of Easter 1998 for all of us is to translate the confidence into lives of influence and courage as we grasp the opportunity to build together a future of peace and understanding. The desire of so many for peace has received such encouragement at the Stormont talks. Under God let us move forward with courage and faith in the real Easter story.