“I encourage people to pray every day wherever you are, and especially in family-home settings … together we shall light a candle of hope in a dark world” – Archbishop Neary
In line with advice from the government, Archbishop Michael Neary has postponed all Confirmation ceremonies until further notice. Archbishop Neary said, “I regret the disruption and inconvenience that this will cause to children, parents and priests, but I take this decision in the interests of public health and in the common good. I am committed to arranging new dates for the celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation at the appropriate time.”
“Furthermore, in view of the Taoiseach’s directive, ‘Indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people should be cancelled’, I am requesting that all Masses with congregations in parishes within the Archdiocese of Tuam be cancelled. For the time being, I am urging all parishes with webcams, and parishes with radio facilities, to utilise broadcast technology to its maximum effect. May the congregations tuning in engage in a Spiritual Communion as together we pray to contain Covid-19.”
“I encourage people to pray every day wherever you are, and especially in family-home settings. Churches will remain open throughout the Archdiocese and I offer the following prayers (see below) for assistance. Let us all pray for those affected by Covid-19 and for those working tirelessly at the front line to deal with this virus. It is vital that we all act responsibly and provide particular support to the elderly in our parishes and to those of us living in isolation,” Archbishop Neary concluded.
On Friday last Archbishop Neary wrote to his priests in the Archdiocese of Tuam offering the following support:
As priests and bishops we are challenged to be ministers of hope. We are acutely alert to the great test facing our people which can manifest itself as a sense of helplessness, of a world running out of control. To respond to the present challenge, together we shall light a candle of hope in a dark world. By keeping our churches open, priests can provide a reassuring presence when people come to pray and be in solidarity with them at this time. Every generous or gentle word of encouragement can inspire others. Likewise, as pastors, our own faith will be sustained and restored by the goodness and generosity which is innate in our parishioners. The present crisis is also an opportunity for a robust view of God, a God who is a vital conversation partner (like Jesus in his dialogue with the Samaritan woman in this Sunday’s gospel) to whom we can speak candidly and with courage as we share our fears. I take this opportunity to ask you to take care of yourselves, especially our priests challenged by health issues which complicates matters for them and their families at this time. I wish to express my deep appreciation of the faithful ministry you provide for your people, your presence with them and unstinting support for them. While the present situation continues your ministry will be largely to individuals so you might encourage them to pray, possibly suggesting the prayer card which was launched only a few weeks ago. I ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers, as I do you.
Prayer for our protection
We ask for prayers for those affected by the Coronavirus. Placing all our trust in the Lord, and asking Our Lady to intercede for us, we invite everyone to pray these prayers:
Extract from Saint Patrick’s Breastplate
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions, but in your mercy, hear and answer. Amen.
· Archbishop Michael Neary is Archbishop of Tuam
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