By Ann Marie Foley - 02 April, 2020
An Easter like no other is how the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, has described these days of COVID-19.
“The hour has changed. The mornings and the evenings are lengthening. We move from month to month. And yet the coronavirus COVID-19 is ahead of us wherever we turn our gaze. It is as if we are involved in a race against time within time itself,” he stated in his Easter message.
He wished everyone a Happy Easter with hopefulness, and stated that there is a reason that the Church calls Good Friday “good”.
“It is because, through the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, new life and fresh energy came into the world and comes into the world repeatedly every year of our remembering both Good Friday and Easter Day,” he said.
He said that clergy and the people together have kept alive the flame of faith in ways that have not been needed before.
“The digital has made possible access to the real presence of Jesus Christ in our hearts and minds, in our families and in our loved ones at home and abroad from whom we are separated, precisely because we are self-isolating as part of the national effort of good compliance and good citizenship,” he said.
He advised people to stay in, stay safe, and stay with God. He quoted St John 20:19: “The risen Christ came and stood among his disciples and said, ‘Peace be with you.'”
“Let us share safely the peace of Christ with those who suffer from the coronavirus, with their loved ones, with those who are front line carers, with those who continue to provide us with essential services and with scientists and researchers,” he concluded.
Separately this week, Church of Ireland’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, has opened a digital Book of Condolences to help people bereaved as a result of COVID-19.
The Dean of Saint Patrick’s, the Very Revd Dr William Morton, stated that the ancient walls of St Patrick’s Cathedral are steeped in the prayers and praises of all the generations of people who have worshipped for more than 800 years, and God has poured out his love, mercy and grace on them.
“In times of crisis and human need we have always afforded the opportunity, to worshipper and visitor alike, of praying for all who need God’s help, and, in the case of bereavement, of offering solidarity with them, by signing a Book of Condolences,” he said.
He explained that the cathedral has had to close to worshippers and tourists. “That does not mean that we fail to respond to those who suffer as a result of COVID-19. We continue to remember them in our prayers here, and, in addition, we are providing a virtual Book of Condolences which you may sign online if you have been bereaved by the death of a loved one as a result of the virus,” he said.
The digital Book of Condolences allows for messages to be shared or kept private, and can be signed by people from all backgrounds and nationalities.
The Church of Ireland also has an eBulletin that is published weekly to help to highlight broadcast and online worship services and reflections and other ways in which the Church of Ireland is seeking to respond to COVID-19. This already has more than 2,000 subscribers.
For the eBulletin see: www.ireland.anglican.org.
For the digital Book of Condolences see: www.stpatrickscathedral.ie/book–of–condolences.