By Cian Molloy - 15 March, 2020
This year’s St Patrick’s Day message from the primate of all-Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh, focuses
strongly on the Covid-19 epidemic and on prayers for God’s protection during the crisis.
In the video-recorded message, which you can view here, the Archbishop makes reference to the restrictions placed on the celebration of Mass in parishes across the county, saying that they are necessary “to ensure the safety of everyone, especially the most vulnerable”.
The restrictions on the celebration of Mass are unprecedented in Irish history – during Penal Times, when the Church was oppressed by English state authorities, Catholics could still attend Mass in their local convents.
However, Archbishop Martin says: “We are told this virus is highly infections and I think it is really important for us to do what we can to protect ourselves and others from it.”
The primate then reminds his people that we Irish have always turned to God for our protection in darkest times. “When we ask God for his protection, like St Patrick did, we are asking for serenity and peace of mind,” he says. “I ask you to pray for our health workers and medical scientists who are trying to find the best possible treatment and vaccine for this virus.
“Pray also for our government and health authorities that they can make wise judgements about how to limit the virus.”
After reciting a modified version of the St Patrick’s Breastplate prayer, the archbishop concludes his message with the traditional short Irish-language prayer ‘Dia idir sin agus an olc’, which he translates as ‘God between us and all harm’.