Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy said that it is right to have a feeling of deep satisfaction over the resumption of public ceremonies but said that COVID complacency will be the enemy and we must not allow it to undo the good work.
Welcoming the resumption in a statement today, the Fifth Sunday of Easter, Bishop Leahy also asked the public to think of the people of India as COVID sweeps with devastating consequences through their nation and asked the public to engage in a “marathon of prayer” that COVID passes.
Said Bishop Leahy: “The resumption of public ceremonies in churches from May 10th onwards is deeply satisfying in so many ways. It’s just great to feel we can be gathered as one, albeit with number limited, seeing each other, listening together to God’s Word, expressing ourselves as a community and taking part in the Mass that contains the great gift of the Eucharist.
“Not everyone will understand the significance of it, but many people of faith see this as very, very positive in terms of their spiritual health and personal wellbeing.”
Bishop Leahy expressed confidence, thanks to track record of already having managed a reopening, that public celebrations will be appropriately and carefully handled but he said that we cannot at any stage drop our guard. And he paid tribute to priests and parish volunteers for their work.
“Of course, we’ve been here before. We know how resumption of public ceremonies works. We have experience and are confident that the good measures put in place last summer will continue again this time. But confidence crumbles and is worthless under complacency so we must at no stage let up. COVID complacency is the enemy and we must redouble our efforts, not least we have come so far already.
“I am extremely grateful to all the priests and parish volunteers for their commitment to ensuring safety and good orderly arrangements for attendance at religious ceremonies. We all need to be careful because the virus is still with us.”
Speaking on the COVID crisis in India, he said: “In this United World Week, while we look forward in hope to the coming weeks and months as more and more people get vaccinated, we need to keep in mind the tragic developments in India that is seeing so many being struck by the pandemic and so many dying. Let’s try to do whatever we can to help.”
Continuing, he said: “I would also invite people to take part in a ‘marathon’ of prayer that Pope Francis has launched for the month of May, a month we traditionally associate with Mary and prayer of the Rosary. The purpose of the marathon of prayer is to ask God for an end to the pandemic and that normal social and work activities can resume.
“One of the main Marian shrines of the world will lead this prayer each day. The Knock shrine will take this lead on May 10th with a focus in its prayer for people with disabilities. Many are generously doing virtual marathons for good causes these days. It would be great if many could join this spiritual marathon by committing themselves to saying all or some part of a Rosary each day.”