Hope Centre staff, Board Members and clients attended the 18th Annual Service of Commemoration and Hope in Our Lady of Lourdes Church on Sean McDermott Street, Dublin on 1st February. This spiritual, multi-denominational service is held annually by the National Family Support Network in remembrance of loved ones lost to substance misuse and related causes and to publicly support and offer hope to families living with the devastation that substance misuse causes.

Multicoloured quilts hung from the walls with each one representing a geographical area, and the individual squares a young man or woman who has died due to drug use. The Hope Centre was proud to have its own quilt, created by service users, displayed.

The service was opened by Sadie Grace, CEO of the National Family Support Network. There was then a reflection on grief from Fr Myles O’Reilly, a message from Pope Francis read by Supt Anthony Howard of the Garda Drugs & Organised Crime Bureau, an address by the Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin and uplifting music from the Gardiner Street Gospel Choir. Also in attendance were Bishop Eamon Walsh, Catherine Byrne TD, Mary Lou McDonald TD, Kieran Carey Aide-de-Camp to the Taoiseach, Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan and various other political representatives. There followed a minute’s silence, and at one point a representative of each group held a candle. There were also some moving testimonies from service users.

The Hope Centre would like to thank Mid & East Antrim Borough Council for its support, which enabled us to attend this inspiring service.