Racism must be overcome – Bishop Leahy

07 Jun 2020

Bishop also reveals 3,000 have signed up in the past week for First Holy Communion and Confirmation through newly launched diocesan registration system

Sunday 7 June 2020: Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has said that we must do all we can to overcome racism in society.

Speaking at Mass from St. John’s Cathedral, which was streamed live today, Bishop Leahy said that this particular Sunday – Trinity Sunday – is the “celebration of diversity in unity and unity in diversity” and that we must respect difference in our world today.

Bishop Leahy also revealed at today’s Mass that there has been a hugely positive take up on the diocesan registration system launched for both First Holy Communion and Confirmation during the week.

Regarding events across the world in response to the killing of George Floyd in the US, he said: “Only love transforms. Hatred, racism,

sectarianism of any type, destroys the fabric of any community. The events of this past week have prompted us all to examine the personal judgements we make in our hearts and the social arrangements around us whose injustice we perhaps neglect to notice.”

Bishop Leahy said that we have been far from exempt from racism here in Ireland. “We must all do our part to watch out for it and overcome it, in whatever form it arises. There is more we can all do and it starts with the Golden Rule – love your neighbour as yourself.”

Having expressed concerns about treatment of asylum seekers in the Irish system many times in the past, Bishop Leahy said: “I note also from the gatherings in Irish cities yesterday the references to direct provision centres as a form of racism. It remains a hidden and troubling aspect of our society and one we must address. We are surely capable of a greater welcome in this country of ours.

“We will have to work on this together in a collaborative approach involving Government, local communities and listening to those in direct provision centres.”

Meanwhile, Bishop Leahy said that wherever Mass is celebrated via webcam or Facebook across the Diocese next Sunday, Corpus Christi, there will be focus on preparation of children for First Holy Communion. The Mass will include a short prayer moment involving a lighting of a candle and he urged families joining who have a child preparing for First Holy Communion to have the boy or girl’s baptismal candle or another candle at the ready to share in the ceremony.

Bishop Leahy said he was particularly heartened to see the enthusiastic response of families to the diocesan registration system launched last week for Confirmation and First Holy Communion, with families having registered some 3,000 children so far across the diocese.

“It is wonderful to see the sense of joy and hope that has been expressed in this process,” he said.

Bishop Leahy also urged the public, as restrictions are being eased, not to for a moment think we have beaten the Coronavirus and he said that resumption of Masses post June 29th can only happen with this in mind.

“I welcome the news that restrictions are beginning to ease, not least because it is a statement about the health of the nation. Collectively, we’ve done well but it’s essential to remember it’s not over yet.

“From a Church perspective, we all welcome that we are able to resume from June 29th public celebration of the Mass and other sacraments. How we’ve missed our public celebrations, but we will need to prepare carefully, ensuring our places of worship reflect the good advice given by public health guidelines,” he added.