By Sarah Mac Donald - 25 March, 2020
Catholics and Anglicans across Limerick will come together at 11am today to pray the Our Father as urged by Pope Francis in response to the Covid19 pandemic.
The Pontiff announced the call to prayer – “All together at the same time” – on Tuesday inviting Christians of all denominations to participate.
“Let us stay united. I invite all Christians to direct their voices together toward Heaven, reciting the Our Father tomorrow, 25 March, at noon,” the Pope tweeted.
Bishop Leahy and his Church of Ireland counterpart, Bishop Kenneth Kearon will participate in the ecumenical prayer live on webcam from the Redemptorist Church, Mount Saint Alphonsus, in Limerick city at 11am.
Bishops Leahy and Kearon will be on their own in the church and the moment of prayer will be carried live on the Redemptorist Church webcam https://www.redemptoristslimerick.ie/web-cam/
Speaking about the initiative Bishop Leahy said, “Pope Francis’ call for us all to come together as Christians across the globe to say the Lord’s Prayer tomorrow reflects the unprecedented crisis we are faced with from the Coronavirus and the need to invoke prayer.”
He said the beauty of the initiative was its simplicity.
“Wherever we are, either individually or as a family at home, we can take a moment at 11 o’clock on Wednesday to say this Our Father prayer either aloud or in the silence of our heart.”
Dr Leahy added, “It will be great to think we’re part of a worldwide chorus of prayer, at that moment reaching God together. And it will remind us we all have one Father and we are all children of the one God, so sisters and brothers to one another. It will be a time to decide again to redouble our efforts to do all we can to follow guidelines and stop the coronavirus growing.”
At 12 noon, Bishop Leahy will then join with catholic bishops and priests all over Ireland in consecrating the people of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for strength and protection from the Coronavirus, Covid19.
Bishop Leahy will also lead midday prayers from the Redemptorist Church as a special Novena which began on St Patrick’s Day concludes.
People are invited to join from their home via webcam, and to participate in this Act of Consecration during these unprecedented and worrying days for all.
On Sunday, Bishop Leahy told people they must prepare themselves for the most difficult experiences over the coming weeks and months, including death, as the Coronavirus takes hold.
In a statement after Sunday Mass, which was streamed live from St John’s Cathedral in Limerick City, Bishop Leahy stressed that Ireland is entering a period of weeks when people will experience “shock, suspense, fear and dismay, and, sadly for some, bereavement”.
Loved ones, he said, will be struck down by the virus and some will die.
Social distancing and staying at home, he acknowledged would not be easy “as we are a social people but that it is a sacrifice for however long it lasts that we have to make and we must stay the course”, he appealed.
“None of this is easy. It doesn’t come naturally to us to isolate, to restrict our movements like this. Thank God, we are a social people, we love company. So, this requires sacrifice. But this is what loving my neighbour as myself means today. In a word, love right now is… ‘not growing the virus’.”
As ever, there is light in the darkness, he added.
“It’s a time for us to appreciate, with a new gratitude, the family. We all belong in some way to a family. It’s a time to make the effort in creative ways to be a family and I’m hearing wonderfully encouraging anecdotes of people, in this moment, realising the importance and magic of family,” he said.
Live streaming of Masses and Services from churches in Ireland and the UK can be found here: http://churchservices.tv