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PEOPLE ARE FEELING WORRIED, ANXIOUS AND AFRAID.
ITS NOT A TIME TO BE NASTY.
SO, I WANT ALL BLOG READERS AND COMMENT MAKERS TO REFRAIN FROM NASTY LANGUAGE AND PERSONAL ATTACKS ON THOSE THEY DISAGREE WITH.
TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN I AM GOING TO MODERATE COMMENTS MORE CAREFULLY.
WE CAN STILL DEBATE ANY AND EVERY TOPIC BUT TRY AND DO IT IN MORE KIND LANGUAGE IN THESE DISTREESING TIMES.
Archbishop Eamon Martin was moved to tears by the response to bringing the Blessed Sacrament through Armagh amid the coronavirus lockdown
27 March, 2020 01:00
Armagh clergy, including Archbishop Eamon Martin, carried a Monstrance through the parish when public worship was suspended because of Covid-19
WITH the faithful no longer able to leave their homes to attend church because of the coronavirus restrictions, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin decided to bring the sacrament to the people in a deeply symbolic act of spiritual solidarity.
On Tuesday, the first day of the latest lockdown arrangements, Dr Martin used his officially sanctioned once-a-day opportunity to exercise to carry a Monstrance through an Armagh estate.
“It was a profoundly moving experience not only for the residents but also for the Archbishop himself.”I found myself in tears as I was doing it,” he said. “People were emotional, and I received an avalanche of texts afterwards thanking me for coming out.”Top of Form
Dr Martin’s walk is a particularly vivid example of how clergy from Churches of all traditions are rising to the challenge of maintaining connections with their flocks at a time when people are craving spiritual support and solace amid isolation, illness and anxiety.
Parishes and congregations all over Ireland have been quick to make imaginative use of digital means of communication, gathering church families together on YouTube, Facebook, Zoom and a multitude of other platforms as well as their own websites.
Dr Martin’s walk, however, spoke to something deep in the psyche of Catholic Ireland that pre-dates the digital.
Archbishop Eamon Martin used his official ‘exercise opportunity’ on Tuesday to bless the people of Armagh; the shape of the Monstrance is echoed in the Celtic cross behind him
“We have a very strong devotion to Christ’s presence in the Blessed Sacrament – the Real Presence of Christ – and to the idea that Jesus walks among his people in the presence of that Blessed Sacrament,” he explained.
In that sense, bearing the Monstrance – a sacred instrument which holds the consecrated host – as he walked through Armagh’s streets was a way of “bringing the sacrament to the people and letting them know that Jesus is still walking with them”.
The Armagh parish clergy started to bring the Monstrance to the city’s streets last week when Covid-19 restrictions had already banned public worship – a way, said Dr Martin, of “bringing the Lord to the people as they could no longer come to the church and gather”.
People came out of their houses as the Monstrance passed, with many kneeling in the street.
When the further tightening of movement was announced on Monday evening, the Archbishop had yet to visit the Windmill Lane area.
“I decided to use my one opportunity to walk on Tuesday, not just as a physical exercise but also as a spiritual exercise,” said Dr Martin.
“So I walked on my own with the Monstrance through the estate, practically in the middle of the road because there were so few cars.
“People could see me from their houses. They were coming to the window and blessing themselves. One man came to his door in a wheelchair, for example.”
The positive and heartfelt response he received confirmed that it was the correct thing to do at this time of crisis.
“We need to know that Jesus is accompanying people, he is walking with his people, he is out among them in their homes and places where they are isolated; Jesus comes and walks among you,” he said.
“One man called out of his window, ‘Thank you for visiting us’. People might be isolated, but they are not alone.”
Also this week, Archbishop Martin joined with other clergy to consecrate “the people of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for strength and protection from Covid-19”.
“It’s very much part of Catholic spiritual tradition to turn to Our Lady at times of difficulty,” he explained.
“Even so, I couldn’t believe it. I think every bishop went to their cathedral on Wednesday and simultaneously we joined in a prayer of consecration.
“There was a palpable sense of a spiritually linked cry to heaven for God’s strength and protection for all of the people of Ireland at this very difficult time.”
I am often embarrassed and made to cringe when I see clergy, of high and low station, coming out with childish and overly pious responses to very serious things.
Covid 19 is a great threat to everyone.
Those of us who believe and pray should strengthen our faith and increase our prayers.
But handing out indulgences and having street processions are not the core answer to C 19.
Our prayers MUST be accompanied by practical actions.
Pope Francis gave 30 respirators to Roman hospitals this week. With his money he could have done a lot more.
No Irish bishop has yet followed example.
GENTLEMEN – if you want us to regard your prayers and utterances as sincere – GET OUT YOUR CHEQUE BOOKS!
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