By Cian Molloy - 30 March, 2020
We are learning many things about ourselves at present, says the Bishop of Ossory, Dermot Farrell, in a pastoral letter calling on the faithful of his diocese to join him in prayer and to share their prayer intentions with him by text or by email.
At present, as well as learning about the fragility of our lives and the depth of our own personal resolve, we are also learning about “our profound community spirit” and “how we need and depend on each other”, says the bishop in the message issued this weekend.
“We have come to realise that our true strength is our strength to carry the weak, and our true dignity is our capacity to value every person. Solidarity and global action are absolutely crucial to bringing this pandemic under control,” he said
Bishop Farrell paid tribute to all those serving on the ‘front line’ in this pandemic, saying “We appreciate, anew, the contribution of so many – nurses, doctors, paramedics, care staff, clergy, Gardaí, fire personnel and so many more.” And in doing so, he quoted from Spe Salve (‘In Hope We Are Saved’), Pope Benedict XVI’s second encyclical: “All serious and upright human conduct is hope in action”.
We are also learning about the fragile nature of our economy, the bishop said: “We are learning that our big world is, in fact, quite small, and that small actions, and simple things, are truly life-saving. Ultimately and importantly, we are learning – and learning in new ways – that our actions matter for each other. The safety of each one depends on the safety of all. Safety knows no favourites.”
In a reminder of the power of prayer, Bishop Farrell said: “My sisters and brothers, let us all pray anew in these difficult and frightening times. Real prayer comes from the heart; real prayer comes from real life. So let us pray as we can. Pray in your own words, pray in the words of others, pray in the words of the Mass, pray in silence.
“As our country and our world is convulsed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that our lives spill over into others, for better or for worse, and we remain, in these times, united by prayer. So often when we gather to pray together we do so for a specific purpose, intention, occasion or anniversary.”
Because public celebration of Masses is not possible at present, Bishop Farrell has called on members of his diocese to email or text prayer intentions to him and members of the Ossory Diocesan Adult Faith Development Group. The email address for prayer intentions is [email protected] and the text number is 085 8313100.
“These [prayer intentions], then, will be remembered when we come together to celebrate Mass on the radio each Sunday morning,” said the bishop. “A real coming together of our prayer. We pray because we place our deepest hope in a goodness and in a power that transcends our own capabilities. Prayer is hope in action.”