The Archbishop of Dublin has praised families and young people for their “good neighbourliness” amid the Covid-19 pandemic, reminding the faithful that goodness will overcome evil.
In a message marking the beginning of Holy Week, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, who was due to celebrate his 75th Birthday on 8th April, revealed that he, like all those over the age of 70, was self-isolating following the Government’s advice for people aged 70 and over to stay indoors amid the pandemic.
He also revealed that over 200 priests in the Archdiocese of Dublin are over 70 and in isolation.
“This is placing a great strain on those who remain active in ministry. Priests also share in the fears and anxieties of the moment and deserve our support,” he said.
He explained that for him, “someone who is active by nature”, the period of isolation is “inconvenient”.
“It is however nothing compared with the hardship experienced by so many others in the current situation,” he said.
“I think of the seriously ill. I think of the bereaved who return into isolation after a burial. I think of families experiencing uncertainty about their financial situation. I think of families who have loved ones with special needs. I think of families with young children confined in tight space and concerned about the health of their children. I think of the fear and the anxiety the elderly and the lonely. We tend to forget that there are many elderly in our communities who may have no close relative. We have to seek out and reach out to such people.”
The archbishop revealed he has been checking in on people via telephone, to make sure they are okay.
“The remarkable thing is that so many of them reply that they are all right because neighbours and friends have been helpful and keep in touch,” he said. “Good neighbourliness is a trademark of Irish families and it is moving to see how they are responding in the current situation. Young people have been great.”
Archbishop Martin said such small gestures of practical kindness are just as important as the vital major decisions.
“We owe a great deal to those who bear the responsibility of leadership at this moment, especially in the front line. I think of the public health authorities, of doctors, nurses and carers and indeed our government leadership.”
Noting that “Holy Week is central to the life of the Church”, he said: “Christian hope reminds us that, even in moments of darkness, evil will be overcome by goodness and death is not the final word.”
Acknowledging that the most significant week in the year for Christians had to be celebrated behind closed doors, he concluded: “We can find in our hearts ways to celebrate the mystery of Christ’s death and Resurrection and draw from that mystery the strength to allow goodness to triumph in our lives.”
Picture: The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, pictured in a 2015 photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).