Bishop Leahy urges Lenten sacrifice in support of those gripped by alcohol, drugs, gambling and pornography
Tuesday, 04 March 2014: The Bishop of Limerick, Dr Brendan Leahy, has said Lent should be a time for people of Limerick to reach out to those whose lives are being devastated by addiction.
Launching his Lenten Message, Bishop Leahy urged people to make a sacrifice this Lent in support of people who are gripped by alcohol, drugs, gambling or pornography addictions. “Far too many people’s lives in Limerick, like every other part of this country, are today devastated by slavery to the likes of alcohol, drugs, gambling and pornography. While we must have compassion for people involved and recognise that much can stem from difficult personal circumstances and disadvantage, it is important nevertheless to name these issues and tackle them,” said Bishop Leahy.
“These addictions not alone ruin the lives of the individuals themselves but are also causing untold pain amongst families and friends who, in many cases, are helpless in these situations.
“Lent is an opportunity for the people in thrall to addictions to try to break them and it is also an opportunity for those close to them to make a sacrifice in solidarity with them.
“Our Lenten commitment does not only have to be about giving up something we will miss but don’t need. It can simply be about giving; whether that is more of our time to people affected by additions or to their family members in supporting them through a very difficult situation, to volunteerism or by simply donating money towards worthy causes. It can be also be by giving more of our time to offering up prayers for them.”
Bishop Leahy said that in his own Lenten Message, Pope Francis addresses the destitution that is affecting society generally today. “Pope Francis recognises that many are plunged into this destitution by unjust social conditions, by unemployment, which takes away their dignity as breadwinners, and by lack of equal access to education and health care. These are all issues that apply locally in Limerick and we must break down barriers to ensure there is change.
“Pope Francis talks not just about moral destitution but also material destitution, where people lack basic rights and needs, and Spiritual Destitution, which is what we experience when we turn away from God and reject his love. We need to work on all three areas if we are to become a just and balanced society.
“Lent is a time of conversion. As Pope Francis says ‘we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty’.”