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Homily by Bishop Larry Duffy at Mass for the Feast of Saint Macartan

“Saint Macartan calls on us at this time to care for and carry the aged, weak and vulnerable…

“None of us knows when this virus will pass. But what we do know is that Christ in His love healed the sick and died for sinners – for all of us. We place our trust in Him who is with us in this anxious and worrying time.” – Bishop Larry Duffy

Readings: Exodus 47:1-9,12; Psalm 45:2-3, 5-6, 8-9, R/v8; John 5:1-3, 5-16

How quickly our priorities and mood have changed. Covid-19, a virus unheard of three months ago, has entered our world and greatly affected our lives

  • So many people out of work
  • Schools closed
  • No public Mass – Confirmation and First Holy Communion delayed

The litany is long.

Social distancing is the ‘in’ phrase.  To stop the virus, we are called upon to be responsible and to do our civic duty; to wash our hands often; no shaking of hands; keep two meters away from the nearest person.  So much of what is demanded is new and strange to us.

And yet, our sacrifices are small when viewed against what public health workers and carers have to do.  They are in the front line.  We owe them a huge debt of gratitude.  I thank our priests and deacon for their continued service in very different and new circumstances.

Today, we celebrate the Feast of Saint Macartan – the patron saint of the Diocese of Clogher.  While this man lived many centuries ago, he has much to teach us at this time.  Macartan is often referred to as Saint Patrick’s ‘strong man’.  This faithful and dedicated bishop supported Saint Patrick, sometimes carrying him on his back over difficult terrain.

Saint Macartan calls on us at this time to care for and carry the aged, weak and vulnerable.

Jesus, in the Gospel this evening, invites is to be the light of the world by our faith and love.  Many groups, including Clogher don Óige, football clubs and community groups in general, have shone that light by being available to help the isolated and vulnerable.

A light has been lit in countless churches by the many people who have prayed silently and lit a candle.  Letters received or phone calls made to the housebound or aged have lightened up their darkness.  So many young people delivering shopping or dropping a note have lit up the lives of their grandparents.  I encourage you all to keep up this mission of love.

None of us knows when this virus will pass.  But what we do know is that Christ in His love healed the sick and died for sinners – for all of us.  We place our trust in Him who is with us in this anxious and worrying time.

Lord, give us your peace.

Lord, show us your love.

Saint Macartan, pray for us!

ENDS

Notes for Editors

  • Bishop Larry Duffy is Bishop of Clogher.  This Mass will take place this evening at 7.00pm in Saint Macartan’s Cathedral, Monaghan
  • Saint Macartan, patron of the Diocese of Clogher, was a close companion of Saint Patrick and he died in the year 506AD.  The Church community he was given charge of by Patrick was based at Clogher, now in County Tyrone but at that time a place of great political and cultural importance and from which the Gaelic kingdom of Airghialla (Oriel) would emerge.  This kingdom became the basis for the territory of the original diocese.
  • The Diocese of Clogher encompasses all of Co Monaghan, most of Fermanagh and portions of Tyrone, Donegal, Louth and Cavan.  It has a Catholic population of 88,000, across 37 parishes, which are served by 56 priests and 1 deacon. There are 85 churches in the diocese.

For media contact: Dr Gary Carville, Director of Communications, Diocese of Clogher

Tel: 00353 (0) 47 81019

Mobile: 00353 (0) 87 1767226

Email: communications@clogherdiocese.ie

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