Power of ‘Group’ healing for Donegal’s road victims

Michael McHugh

Reporter:

Michael McHugh

A special Mass is to be held this Sunday in St. Conal’s Church, Glenties to remember - as a group - those that have lost their lives in road tragedies, not just tales of terrible individual tragedy.

A special Mass is to be held this Sunday in St. Conal’s Church, Glenties to remember - as a group - those that have lost their lives in road tragedies, not just tales of terrible individual tragedy.

Organiser Margaret Mannering from Glenties said that one could not underestimate the powerful healing that could come from hearing the name of a loved one, who has died in a road traffic fatality, to be called out at a Mass or commemorative event.

And she has called on those who wish their loved ones names to be added to the roll call to contact her, that have lost their lives through road tragedies in the wider Donegal south west area.

“This is, so that their names can be read out at the Mass. These things are life changing events. Although we remember them individually and personally on their anniversary, on this particular day, there is a shared bond, with a community of people who have been deprived of the benefit of their family members. And so we want to name that person at Mass who died on a particular day. It doesn’t matter if it was twenty years ago,” she told Ocean FM.

It didn’t even have to come within the realm of a road traffic accident, she added making reference to one woman whose son died twenty years ago in the UK, just walking across the road.

She recalled how her own son Matthew was killed in Italy five year ago, on November 17th while travelling home from Florence to Parma on an notoriously infamous stretch of road, dubbed “Via Sanguina” or “Road of Blood” by locals.

“He rang his wife to tell her that he would be home in half and hour and that was the last she heard from him because he was in a motorway pile-up,” she recalled.

Mrs Mannering said each year, she travelled over to the area where a Special Mass was held for road victims and where their names were read out. She described the uplifting experience that it conveyed to those who had lost loved ones.

“Remembrance Day” was a powerful experience, she explained.

“It is a powerful Mass as everyone goes to that Mass in faith. People there are bonded by this faith, hope and trust. And everybody’s child or brother or sister is named in that Mass. And the naming of somebody is a wonderful thing, It has an amazing healing effect and an amazing bonding affect. And there area families there that have been stricken and have suffered even more than you have, at the same time.”

She also hoped to set up a new lobby group called “Road family” which will collate information on stretches of road within the county, the times of the accidents and the particular location where an accident occurred.

Over time, she says they fade from the collective memory, but not the families concerned.

The names of loved ones can be sent into Anne on 086 2436849 and Rose on 087 2919830 or road.families@gmail.com When contacted by the Democrat yesterday afternoon Rose Mannering said that they had already received a number of calls, relating to the Mass.