"Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God." ~Queen Elizabeth II
The death of Queen Elizabeth II has been a big story over the past week. As we know, worldwide tributes have been pouring in for her from all over the world and rightly so too. We here in Cork will never forget her visit on May 20th 2011. I have a personal memory of that visit. At the time I was chaplain in Colaiste Choilm, Ballincollig. We were one of a handful of schools that got an invitation to be present for this historic visit. We were to line the street opposite the English Market along the Grand Parade. So only one bus could go from the school and those lucky enough to get a place were thrilled which included myself.
So we were all standing in front of the English market and when the Queen did arrive there was such excitement. We know how successful the visit was within the English market and we know she particularly enjoyed the tour. But afterwards she walked across the street and spoke to so many of the young people present, including those from Colaiste Choilm. The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, were in no rush. It was not part of the itinerary but that did not matter. We were touched by the generosity of her time, her smile, her relaxed presence and how relaxed the whole occasion was. You can also imagine the excitement amongst the students as well with constant chirpings of "We met the Queen!"
There are so many stories and memories of the Queen been shared but from a spirtual point of view, I was always impressed with her Christmas Day message each year. She always made a direct reference to the birth of Jesus, its significane, how it was a highlight for her as a Christian and how relevant it was in our modern world. She never shyed away from not mentioning it and you could always sense that she was a deeply spiritual woman who treasured her faith and beliefs. May her gentle soul rest in peace.