By Cian Molloy - 19 April, 2020
Ireland’s church leaders have joined together in expressing thanks to the country’s frontline heroes, commending them for ‘their work, courage and compassion’ as the COVID-19 crisis continues.
It has become the custom of the heads of the Catholic, Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches to meet up virtually via a video conference each week. This week they were united in their praise for health workers and all those who are keeping other essential services, such as food supplies, going.
“We have the greatest admiration for our healthcare workers who are literally serving on the frontline in caring for the sick and dying. We offer our deepest thanks, commending them for their work, courage and compassion as we continue to remember them in our prayers,” says a joint statement issued by the Catholic primate Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, his Church of Ireland counterpart Archbishop-elect John McDowell, the president of the Methodist Church in Ireland Rev Sam McGuffin, and Presbyterian Church moderator Dr William Henry.
“We also remember the countless others who are serving the community in ways, which in other circumstances, we would consider everyday – those involved in providing and selling food and essential items, pharmacists, and everyone working with the public for our wellbeing,” say the four on behalf of their various congregations.
“We owe them a huge debt of thanks and gratitude – thanks, which in many ways is also due to everyone, as we play our part in following the challenging, but necessary, restrictions on normal life, as we have come to know it.
“These are difficult times, but if we all work together for the common good, better days lie ahead.”
Looking to the future, the Church leaders believe that when the pandemic abates there will be “a renewed and strengthened sense of community on this island and a new understanding and a deeper appreciation of one another”.
They say: “In the last number of weeks we have witnessed the vast majority of people on this island working together, in a way that has perhaps never been seen before, protecting one another from this terrible unseen enemy which is attacking our community.
“Deserted streets and roads are not signs of abandonment, but of love.”