The Primate of All-Ireland has called on parishioners to be vigilant for the vulnerable during extreme weather.
Archbishop Eamon Martin’s call comes as the UK and Ireland has been hit by a blast of Siberian weather dubbed the ‘Beast from the East’.
“The weather forecast for the coming days is expected to be exceptionally cold and to include a significant snowfall,” warned Archbishop Martin.
“This bad weather will affect and frighten many people across our country. Some will be afraid because they are alone, elderly, suffer from underlying medical conditions while others will be cold and hungry. They may too proud to admit their vulnerability.
“Parishes are at their strongest when they support their weakest,” the primate continued.
“In the words of Jesus, ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’ (Matt 25:40),” he added.
“Christ spoke of the parable of the Good Samaritan who cared for a stranger. It was enough that he was a person in need for the Samaritan to act – and to follow up afterwards to underpin that care.
“There is in each of us a Good Samaritan. The natural disposition of the human heart is to love.”
Archbishop Martin has called on the faithful and all people of goodwill to:
– Be alert – in person or by telephone – to the needs of vulnerable neighbours, old and young.
– Check if they have enough food, fuel supplies and adequate clothing.
– Assist in clearing pathways to homes, and offer transport for essential journeys.
– Use, as appropriate, the online reporting system provided by the Peter McVerry Trust to support rough sleepers on the streets of Ireland: www.homelessdublin.ie/report-rough-sleeper
– Donate warm clothes to charity shops.
– Support local farmers, as it is lambing season and the death rate for all livestock increases sharply in extreme weather.
Archbishop Martin has also encouraged Catholics to include the following in their prayers:
Prayer for shelter from the storm
God of heaven and earth,
God who carries our lives
and the lives of our whole community
in your hands,
be with us.
Send us your holy angels
to watch over and guard us.
May they spread their holy wings
to give us shelter against the storm.
We ask this through Christ,
Picture: People cross a road as snow falls in Dublin. (Brian Lawless/PA).