On 31 May 2016, Bishop John Sherrington celebrated Mass at Westminster Cathedral on the Centenary of the Battle of Jutland and the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
In his homily, Bishop John said, ‘We mourn the death of over 6500 naval personnel and over 2500 Germans. Over 250 ships took part in the battle: 151 British ships 14 being lost, and 99 German with 11 being lost. We remember that many who survived the battle endured terrible injuries and continued to live with these injuries, burns and the effects of heavy bombardment by shells. As we recognise the bravery and generosity of so many men for the sake of justice and freedom, we continue to pray for those serving in the Armed Forces and to pray for peace.’
He continued, ‘From across the centuries the words of St Augustine of Hippo of the fourth century, remind me that whilst it is at times necessary to wage war to restore justice and protect peoples, war is always to be lamented because of the misery which it brings to so many people in the cause of peace.’
Calling to mind the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Bishop John reflected, ‘As we remember and commemorate the fallen in this great and tragic sea battle, the Feast of the Visitation of Our Lady offers hope. First, it offers the hope that Mary desires to share the good news that she has conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and will give birth to a Saviour. Second it is the hope that comes from a visit of charity.’
The full text of Bishop John’s homily is available to read here.