Rome Newsroom, Mar 17, 2021 / 13:00 pm
In a homily on St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin’s new archbishop called on authorities to prioritize the right to worship as COVID-19 measures are eased next month.
“As a matter of human dignity and fairness — but even more so as matter of wellbeing and the restoration of normality, I call on the public authorities to give assurance that the legitimate desire of people to gather responsibly and within reasonable guidelines to exercise their constitutional right to worship will be prioritised in the easing of restrictions,” Archbishop Dermot Farrell said March 17.
Ireland is under strict “Level 5” COVID-19 restrictions until April 5, 2021. Under government health measures, public worship has been suspended in the country since Oct. 7, 2020. Public religious services were also suspended in Ireland from March to June 2020.
In his homily for St. Patrick’s Day, Farrell noted that the past year “has been a tumultuous one for people of faith with all churches closed over many months for public worship.”
He emphasized that the Catholic Church in Ireland has taken public health guidelines seriously and followed them diligently whenever public Masses were permitted.
Despite having developed other creative ways to support people through online streaming and phone calls during this time, “for many people, being denied the opportunity to attend Mass and receive Holy Communion has been difficult: it has affected how they are nourished and sustained by their faith,” Farrell said.
“Let us not underestimate the consequences of this in people’s lives,” he stated, emphasizing that “our faith and its practice -- both private and communal -- makes a difference.”
According to the archbishop, this is what St. Patrick proclaimed in Ireland: “Chríost liom, Chríost romham—Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left.”