Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Communities reunite as churches reopen for Mass

Fr Paddy Byrne

THE global pandemic has had a shattering effect on humanity. This deadly virus has made no exceptions. Its ugly presence has wounded princes, prime ministers, celebrities, parents, grandparents, siblings, husbands, wives, colleagues and especially the most vulnerable in our society ‒ the elderly and those whose health was already compromised.

Living in a time of pandemic has been difficult. Lockdown and necessary restrictions meant that the ordinary things we once took for granted now are precious moments filled with gratitude as we return to a ‘new normal’.

As Church and members of Christ’s body, we have felt the pain of a physical disconnection from our place of worship, but we have also discovered resilience, consolation and hope in the presence of Jesus, whose intimate affection for us thankfully does not require any social distance. His presence has been felt by the heroic staff in our health service, the gardaí, retail workers and staff at An Post to name but a few of the many agencies which have personified Christ, whose empathy in the Gospel tells ‘of course I want to heal you’.

Since the start of lockdown, I have celebrated 25 funerals. I pray for all families whose bereavement was so difficult because of the restrictions in place as a result of Covid-19. May their loved ones rest in peace. It has been so difficult not to be able to celebrate Mass publicly. While online engagement was a vehicle to communicate, nothing can compare to the personal encounter to which we now return after almost four months.

Read Fr Paddy’s column in full in this week’s Laois Nationalist 

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