By Katie Ascough - 17 April, 2020
Bishop Denis Nulty, Bishop of Kildare & Leighlin, has released a statement regarding the COVID-19 related deaths of eight residents in the Maryborough Centre at Saint Fintan’s Hospital in Portlaoise.
The bishop says that this news has highlighted the need for “special care for those who are grouped together in similar centres or in homes for vulnerable or older people”. He offers prayers for those who have “passed away in such distressing circumstances”, for their families, friends, and those who worked to care for them.
He especially thanks all who work in any way in caring for those with COVID-19 or who are threatened with the virus, and specifically names “management, medical and nursing staff, carers, general workers in those centres and hospitals, suppliers and those who deliver those supplies to meet the many varied needs at this time of crisis”.
“The hearts and hands of the staff are the hearts and hands of family to many many patients at this time,” Bishop Nulty says. He notes the importance of patients having the “best possible treatment” and that staff have a “sufficient and proper supply” of personal protective equipment (PPE). “Every life matters. Every life counts. Every life is precious irrespective of age or potential productivity,” the bishop states.
Bishop Nulty also addresses the nightly news reports which offer “many statistics” that “may confuse us”. He says he is conscious that behind every statistic, the life of a person may be lost – and that that person is someone’s mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, son, daughter or friend.
He says he is reminded of the evocative poem ‘My Sister is Not a Statistic’, composed and recited by a listener in memory of her recently deceased sister on Joe Duffy’s Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1 earlier this week. The bishops remarks that neither she, the listener’s sister, nor anyone else who has died because of COVID-19 or who has tested positive for the virus is just that – a statistic.
“During this Easter week,” the bishops concludes, “we must all turn in confidence to the Risen Christ and pray that he will soon bring these threat-filled times to an end, knowing that he walks with all of us and always calms our fears.”