By Ann Marie Foley - 25 March, 2020
At noon on the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord, Archbishop Eamon Martin will join with bishops and priests all over the island of Ireland in the consecration of the people to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Mary for strength and protection from the coronavirus COVID-19.
People are invited to join in this moment of prayer with their families or as individuals. The consecration also coincides with an invitation to people all over the world to pray the Lord’s Prayer at Angeles time (10 a.m. Irish time) on Wednesday (25 March 2020).
“Social distancing cannot be allowed to create social isolation and, through prayer, as Pope Francis said on Sunday, we can overcome,” said Archbishop Eamon Martin.
He quoted Pope Francis, who said on that occasion: “In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven.”
Many people in Ireland have joined a novena since Saint Patrick’s Day in preparation for the consecration. People are invited to join their local priest or bishop from their home, via webcam, to prayerfully participate in this act of consecration.
“Pope Francis has shown strong pastoral leadership at this horrendous time especially when we consider the impact that the rapid devastation COVID-19 has wrought across Italy,” stated Archbishop Martin.
“As we consecrate Ireland and our people to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for protection against the coronavirus, Pope Francis has asked ‘all Christians of the various confessions, to invoke the Almighty, the omnipotent God, to recite at the same time the prayer that Jesus, our Lord, taught us’ – the Our Father,” he added.
Pope Francis will also deliver a special Urbi et Orbi apostolic blessing and address on Friday 27 March. This blessing usually only occurs on the Church’s major feast days – Christmas Day and on Easter Sunday.
Friday’s ceremonies will include readings, prayers, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, with the Pope presiding from the sagrato of St Peter’s Basilica, the area immediately in front of the church building. Catholics who obtain the Urbi et Orbi blessing via the media receive an indulgence, subject to certain conditions. (See cinews 23 March 2020).
Resources for and coverage of the Irish event include webcam at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh: http://armaghparish.net/cathedral-webcam/.
The Act on Consecration is on https://www.catholicbishops.ie/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ACT-OF-CONSECRATION-25.03.2020.docx.
Guide to webcams in churches and cathedrals is on: https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2020/03/16/broadcast-online-and-parish-radio-mass/.