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Bishop calls for support for Day of Prayer and Fasting to end COVID-19

By Sarah Mac Donald - 11 May, 2020

Bishop Brendan Leahy

Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has appealed to people to support this Thursday’s Day of Prayer, Fasting and Charitable Works to end COVID-19.

The day is an initiative of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity and is open to everyone regardless of religion.

Pope Francis is one of the faith leaders across the world supporting the initiative which takes place on 14th May.

The Vatican has invited “believers of all religions and people of goodwill to spiritually unite themselves in a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity, to implore the divine to help humanity in overcoming the pandemic caused by Coronavirus.”

The day is part of the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity’s efforts to share the message of the Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together.

Pope Francis signed that document in Abu Dhabi in February 2019 with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

In a statement on 6th May, the Higher Committee of Human Fraternity said it reaffirmed the role of medicine and scientific research in fighting the pandemic, “but we should not forget to seek refuge in God, as we face this severe crisis”.

“May each of us, wherever we are, and according to the teachings of our own respective faith traditions and philosophies, seek divine help to rescue ourselves and the entire world from this adversity, to inspire scientists to find a cure for the virus and to save the whole world from the health, economic, and human repercussions of this serious pandemic,” the statement said.

At the conclusion of Mass on Sunday in St John’s Cathedral Limerick, Bishop Brendan Leahy echoed the Vatican’s invitation to people to participate in the Day of Fasting, Prayer and Charitable Works.

He explained to those participating in Sunday Mass via webcam that the initiative on Thursday was intended provide people with an opportunity to implore God to help humanity overcome the Coronavirus pandemic.

In his weekly statement, the Bishop of Limerick said, “The Coronavirus has taken lives. We need to pray for those who have died. It has also curtailed our freedom, some people’s freedom more than others, especially older people at a time of life when they deserve it more than any of us. We need to pray also for them.”

“It has taken away livelihoods. We need to pray for those who suddenly find themselves facing unemployment.”

But for all that, he said, the crisis had given us back things. “All of us recognise the virus has taken away things that maybe we are better off without. It has given us back things that we should never have given away. We need to pray that we’ll never forget what we’ve understood in this time.”

In many ways, Dr Leahy said, the Coronavirus crisis is reminding people of the need to pray.

“COVID-19 has shown us we don’t have as much control as we thought we had. We aren’t at all as self-sufficient as we appeared to be,” he said.

The Bishop noted that there are people, in the midst of this uncertainty and anxiety, who have found themselves feeling the need to find stillness, to meditate, to be more mindful.

“If we’re honest, we are all a little humbler because of this COVID-19 crisis.”

Concluding, he said, “let’s take it as a chance to accept that we are indeed poor and humble and needy”.

Live streaming of Masses and Services from churches in Ireland and the UK can be found here: http://churchservices.tv

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