By Cian Molloy - 05 April, 2020
Ireland’s Church leaders are calling on the faithful of all denominations to join in prayer from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.
The initiative is in response to the absence of normal Palm Sunday liturgies because of the ban on public communal worship during this stage of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Catholic primate of all-Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has invited all who can, to join him in prayer over the internet.
“I will lead, from my home webcam, a gentle reading and prayerful meditation on the Passion narrative in Matthew’s Gospel,” he said. “All are welcome.”
You can join Archbishop Martin later today via this link: https://www.armagharchdiocese.org/live-feed/.
The archbishop’s initiative is in line with a joint statement issued by the heads of Ireland’s four main Christian denominations last week, where they said: “As Christians, we believe that prayer sustains our life as followers of Christ. In the midst of this global pandemic, we turn to Jesus in our time of need.
“As Church leaders, we join together in calling all our people to pray. As we begin the journey through Holy Week towards Good Friday and Easter, we invite all Christians from across the whole Church to join in prayer on Palm Sunday – remembering that we should only gather to pray within our own households, in line with government advice.
“God loves the world and everyone in it. We will pray for those who are sick, and those feeling fearful; we will pray for those who have been bereaved and those who are isolated and alone. We will pray for our healthcare professionals, delivery drivers, essential workers and all who continue to work on the frontline. We will pray for, and with those in our communities, who are fearful about their employment and for those reaching out to provide food and shelter. We will pray for our families and friends, neighbours and civic, business and political leaders for the inevitable challenges that will arise in the coming days. We also remember those across our world who are similarly suffering. We pray for those working hard to produce new treatments and vaccines.
“Though we cannot meet as the gathered Church, we will end the hour united in prayer, asking for the Lord’s healing touch on our land and all its people.”
Meanwhile, Thérèse Ferry, a catechetic advisor in the Derry Diocese, is recommending that young children be given the opportunity to make ‘palms’ from paper or cardboard, so that families mark the start of Holy Week with some special decorations.