Bishop of Limerick's message calls on people to 'wrap themselves in Easter hope'

Bishop Brendan Leahy has urged people across the diocese to use this “extra special Easter” for Ireland to make sure it doesn’t slip by as simply a long weekend of amusement

Bishop Brendan Leahy has urged people across the diocese to use this “extra special Easter” for Ireland to make sure it doesn’t slip by as simply a long weekend of amusement

THE Bishop of Limerick has called on people to “wrap themselves in Easter hope” as thousands prepare to attend services this weekend.

Bishop Brendan Leahy has urged people across the diocese to use this “extra special Easter” for Ireland to make sure it doesn’t slip by as simply a long weekend of amusement with no deeper meaning.

Speaking ahead of Easter, which tens of thousands of Limerick people will mark by going to Good Friday services, Easter Sunday Mass and other festivities, he appealed to families to make this special weekend their beginning for the World Meeting of Family celebrations and visit of Pope Francis to Ireland later this year.

“Easter is one of the great celebrations annually of family. We gather at Easter in a way that otherwise really only happens every year at Christmas. We travel distance for it, dine together, set time aside to spend time with each other,” said Bishop Leahy.

“It can be a real opportunity for quality time together. That’s why I believe it’s important to build participation in Church ceremonies into it.

“For the family of the Church, this is such an important Easter because it can be the beginning for our build up to the Pope’s visit in five months’ time.

“Indeed, the Pope’s visit illustrates the importance of family here in Ireland as he would not be coming here were it not for the World Meeting of Families, an event he selected Ireland to host, which also says something about the importance of family to us.

“Easter is all about a new beginning. It’s the wonderful message of the Risen Lord, about renewal, about there always being an opportunity to start afresh. About always having hope. Pope Francis has a great phrase: ‘don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope’. That’s what Easter is about.

“I often think of Pope Francis’ Easter story, where he tells of being a young boy and the effect the Good Friday Ceremony had on him.

“He talks of being brought to the service by his grandmother and how the resurrection of Christ two days later instilled in him the great message of hope.

“I would hope that as we approach this Easter, we all take on board that message of hope. Certainly from a Church’s perspective, I would love to see parents accompany their families to the ceremonies to enjoy the joy of the Risen Lord and the hope of the Easter message,” he added.

Meanwhile, an Easter Sunday dawn Mass will take place in the jubilee garden, beside the church in Kilteely, at 7am.

Fr Joe Tynan, parish priest of Kilteely-Dromkeen, was inspired to organise the special Mass by the successful Darkness into Light walks for Pieta House.

“Dawn Masses have become more popular. There are people who won’t go to normal Masses that will go to a dawn Mass.

“The Darkness into Light walks are excellent events for Pieta House,” said Fr Tynan, who is donating all the money from the collections at the dawn Mass to the suicide and self harm crisis centre.

Fr Tynan has had a quiet word with the man upstairs to ensure it is a dry morning on Easter Sunday and he says the weather forecast is positive.

Fr Tyann will celebrate the Mass with the assistance of Fr Pat Burns, Fr Bernie Moloney, Fr Seamus Rochford among others.

There has been a big response locally with lots of volunteers offering their services.

One and all are welcome to the dawn Mass, said Fr Tynan.