Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy
THE Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has urged the public to look on Easter as the ultimate message of hope as they try to stay the difficult covid course.
As we prepared to mark Easter Sunday, Bishop Leahy said the message of hope is perfectly timed this year with many feeling beaten down by covid. And while we appear to be swinging from despondency to hope, the latter is, at least, now most definitely with us, he said.
Bishop Leahy, who will celebrate Mass at St John's Cathedral this Sunday, said that while the faithful may be frustrated by not being to gather as normal for the second year running for this special time, it will not stop the “pilgrimage”.
“The big invitation that comes to us this week is to name the various faces of suffering in our lives. There’s no point in denying pain if it’s there. But, remembering Jesus wants to shoulder our Cross with us, we can hand over to him whatever it might be that is weighing us down.
“Then, and here’s the Easter part, make a decision to always try to poke the embers of hope in your life, any time you feel the fire of hope is going out. It’s so vital we all keep hoping against hope at this difficult covid time.”
Hope can be a challenge for many to achieve right now, he said.
“We seem to be on a pendulum swinging between despondency and hope. But it’s not just that Easter is powerful, its timing is powerful this year. We have all flagged from the weight of covid, but Easter, which is the greatest message of hope, dawns. Yes, just like the journey to Easter, we too have had our falls and we have had many moments of weariness along this covid journey. Nevertheless, with Easter just around the corner, we can also hope that we are rising, moving into a new time of hope.”
He added: “Easter is hope. And the great way to fan the flames of hope in our lives is to put aside, as much as we can, our own worries and go out to love one another. Every time we do an act of love for someone, we give them a reason to hope.”
Bishop Leahy is reminding the faithful that while they cannot celebrate together, there are still resources at hand to make this Easter special. “For Christians all over the world Holy Week and Easter are a special time. Even if covid restrictions mean we can’t join for ceremonies in churches, that doesn’t stop us going on a spiritual pilgrimage. Nothing can stop us from being creative ourselves at home or simply joining in the online events during the week. Don’t forget the church buildings are actually open so it’s possible to make a private and family mini-pilgrimage to your local church.”
Bishop Leahy pointed the public to Limerick Diocese’s range of resources on its Diocesan website, including a Three Bridges Prayer Walk, Parish Prayer Walks, Flag Templates for Children, A Liturgy of Solidarity, A liturgy of Forgiveness, Family Retreat, Letters to God.