We must think of ‘common good’, stick the course with restrictions and ask for help if under duress – Bishop Leahy
Bishop also reaches out families denied their special moment on weekend of traditional start of First Holy Communions
Sunday 26 April 2020: Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has urged the public to dig deeper and overcome growing restlessness with COVID-19 restrictions for individual gain and, moreover, for the common good.
In his weekly COVID-19 comment at the end of midday Mass today broadcast live from St. John’s Cathedral, Bishop Leahy said also that people under the threat of domestic violence and those who are trying to cope with addictions must be more open than ever to reach out to support groups and organisations for help.
And he had particular words of support for children and their families who are missing out on First Holy Communions, which would typically commence this weekend, and particularly sensitive cases associated with ill-health.
He said: “A certain restlessness is now inevitable. We see signs of the strain – people risking what they see as small compromises, home-drinking rising excessively, tensions over whether and how the restrictions might be eased. Tensions full-stop. Worse still, word of a growth in domestic violence.
“Now is a time to remember what is often called the common good. None of us lives for ourselves only. None of us dies for ourselves only. Each of us, in our life and in our death, has an impact on each other.
“We are created to be united and to be a gift for each other. What this means is that every gesture, every action, every omission impacts on the common good. When we keep this in mind, we realise we’ve got to keep making sacrifices in this Pandemic.”
Bishop Leahy used the example of sport, stating that no team or individual can reach their goal if they stop trying and warned of the very real impact of not doing this. “There’s a huge victory for us ahead but it is going to take sacrifice and it’s going to team teamwork. We are THE team. If we don’t truly commit throughout the ‘season’, we will lose. And we’re not here talking a sports championship, as important as that would be. We are talking life and death.”
The “common good”, he continued, is also about seeking help if we are in a situation where we feel we are floundering or, worse still, under attack. “An expert on radio this week, for example, warned of the perils of drinking excessively. Drinking excessively, even if one doesn’t have a drink problem, is a sign that the pressures are getting to you. It also threatens the immune system.
“It may be that it is a persistent problem and now is the time to tackle it; to chat to someone about it. There is help available for those with those challenges, for those suffering from serious anxiety, for those confronted with domestic abuse and other issues,” he said.
Bishop Leahy urged the public, in the common good also, to think of those in the developing world, with warnings in the week just gone about widespread famines of biblical proportions. “While our own needs are great here at home, we need to hear a piercing cry reaching us from starving sisters and brothers of ours in other lands,” he said.
Addressing families who would this weekend have been celebrating First Holy Communion, he said: “This being the last weekend in April, it would ordinarily be the first weekend of First Holy Communions. I know that there are young boys and girls, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters and, indeed, grandparents who are denied this special moment, a moment that so many have relayed to me in the past has taken them by surprise in terms of the depth of emotion and beauty they felt on the day but also the reconnection it gave them with their faith.
“Mostly, I have been taken by people’s assertion that it was actually the Mass itself and not the party afterwards that meant the most. So, this weekend, many are deprived of that special moment and I think of and pray for you all today that when we regroup in the time ahead for your First Holy Communion, it will be made even more special again.
“I think too of some who are in special and very sensitive circumstances because of ill health. Older citizens and, indeed, much younger ones, who for one reason or another fear they may not get to enjoy this great day. My most heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with you, in particular, that you will, indeed, join and rejoice in the joy of this beautiful moment in your young loved one’s life.”