This Holy Week and Easter the ceremonies will be celebrated, without a congregation, at the traditional times in the parishes throughout the diocese. Priests will be celebrating on behalf of all in the parish. I invite you to take a few moments at that time each day to unite with them in prayer. Although Holy Week is different this year, we can all still celebrate it fully in our hearts. God bless you all in all your needs. The Pandemic has brought dark times, but the light of Easter, Christ our Light, is our HOPE.
This Holy Week I ask you to pray to God especially for strength, courage and endurance for all amid Covid-19:
- for ourselves and our loved ones
- for those we know who are a great age or have already serious health issues
- for those who have died in recent days and their grieving loved ones
- and especially for doctors, nurses, and all frontline workers who are performing so heroically; many have their own worrying situations within their own families.
Ponder the courage, selflessness and steadfastness of Jesus
As Jesus showed courage, selflessness and steadfastness during his journey to Jerusalem, and in his suffering along the Way of the Cross to his Crucifixion, so may God help us do the same in the days and weeks ahead. Think of Jesus:
- “the Agony in the Garden”, his ultimate prayer to the Father was, “not my will but thine be done”
- as he carried his Cross think of his words to the women of Jerusalem, “weep not for me, but for yourselves and for your children”
- think of his meeting with Mary his mother, how heart-breaking for both of them
- on the Cross think of his kindness to the thief crucified with him, “this day you will be with me in paradise”
This Holy Week may God give to all of us the virtues of courage, selflessness and endurance whatever the pandemic may bring to our communities.
God’s mercy and forgiveness is available for all
In Holy Week we remember the Last Supper. “this is the cup of my blood . . . shed for YOU and for MANY so that sins might be forgiven”. Christ died for our sinfulness. God’s mercy and forgiveness are always there for us, we only must ask with sorrow in our hearts. This Holy Week it is not possible to make Confessions available in the diocese. Words spoken by Pope Francis at his daily Mass on Friday 20th March give reassurance to us all:
“I know that many of you go to confession before Easter… Many will say to me: ‘But Father…I can’t leave the house and I want to make my peace with the Lord. I want Him to embrace me… How can I do that unless I find a priest?’.
Do what the catechism says. It’s very clear. If you don’t find a priest to go to confession, speak to God. He’s your Father. Tell Him the truth: ‘Lord. I did this and this and this. Pardon me.’ Ask His forgiveness with all your heart with an act of contrition, and promise Him, ‘afterward I will go to confession.’
You will return to God’s grace immediately. You yourself can draw near, as the catechism teaches us, to God’s forgiveness, without having a priest at hand.”
Faithfully we distance ourselves from one another. Faithfully let us unite as one with Jesus in prayer as we remember and honour his Death and Resurrection.
Every Easter Sunday is special. This Easter Sunday light a candle at the family dinner table to symbolise your love and trust in Jesus Christ in all things. He is our strength through these difficult weeks of the Pandemic.
Let us pray for each other. Our Lady help of the sick, pray for us.
+ Ray Diocese of Kerry Holy Week 2020.