The Covid-19 pandemic gives us the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with Christ and with one another, Ireland’s newest bishop has said.
Bishop Paul Dempsey, 49, was ordained the Bishop of Achonry in the Cathedral of the Annunciation and Saint Nathy, Ballaghaderreen, Co Roscommon, on Sunday 30th August, after his original ordination ceremony, planned in April, was postponed due to the pandemic.
Following his consecration Bishop Dempsey addressed the congregation and those watching online, acknowledging how different the world has become in the short time since his appointment in January.
“The world has changed radically,” he said. “None of us could have imagined how the pandemic could change our lives in such a profound way. Many lives have become fragmented, uncertain, somewhat fearful. It’s all a bit wearisome.
“However, I wonder does the present moment pose an opportunity for the Church? Perhaps in this moment of uncertainty we have the chance to look to something or someone greater than ourselves, someone who is there for us no matter what, someone who says to us in the midst of trials and tribulations; ‘Do not be afraid!’
“Perhaps this crisis nudges us to reflect upon our relationship with Christ and with one another.”
Bishop Dempsey had chosen as his motto ‘Duc in Altum’, meaning ‘Put out into the deep’. “It is taken from Luke 5:4. In that passage, Peter and the disciples were wearisome, fed up, tired… perhaps a bit like ourselves at this time! But it is in that very moment Jesus appears to them on the shore. He sees things differently! He sees an opportunity. He invites them, challenges them to ‘Put out into the deep water…’,” said the bishop.
“Jesus was inviting them to go farther out into unchartered waters,” Bishop Dempsey explained. “Perhaps that is what we all need to do now.”
Picture: The new Bishop of Achonry, Paul Dempsey. (John McElroy).