It is my duty as Rector of the parish to bring to your attention the catastrophe into which our society has been plunged by the current coronavirus attack. As I write, Ireland seems to have escaped relatively lightly in terms of human suffering compared with some other countries. However, every case is one too many, and some families in our parish have been affected, while many elderly and infirm parishioners and neighbours are living in fear of a virus which has proved fatal to so many like them. In many places even public worship has been stopped, and in past circumstances of disease and war, communal prayer has been the natural recourse of the faithful.
We have so far been able to maintain public worship, albeit with much reduced attendances, and we should be thankful to Almighty God for this blessing and witness to his healing and sustaining grace. One can come to church in assurance that precautions are in place, such as disinfectant gels and social distancing to render coming to church to pray for our community and the world, a safe activity for most of us. I thank our Churchwardens, and those who provide music, for their faithfulness and their thoroughness in their preparations.
Sadly, pastoral visiting of the sick and housebound has had to virtually stop due to HSE regulations, including regular monthly visits to nursing homes and private homes with the Eucharist. Some of our parishioners have offered their help to any who are isolated and alone. Thankfully most of our elderly and vulnerable parishioners are receiving care from their families and neighbours, but these offers have been noted and much appreciated, and may well be acted upon!
It is in times of sudden crisis like the present that we see God at work in the selflessness of so many people who put others first, and that community feeling which is so much a part of Irish nature. Even now, there are many things we can thank God for with sincere hearts and in Passiontide and Easter be drawn in a special way to see God present in our world, even where there is pain, fear and anxiety, as he was present at Calvary!
Yours in Christ