Archbishop Dermot Farrell celebrated Mass for Saint Patrick’s Day 2021 in Saint Patrick’s Church, Ringsend.
During his homily, Archbishop Farrell spoke of the hardships Covid-19 has brought for people of faith. He said “This past year has been a tumultuous one for people of faith with all churches closed over many months for public worship. Our own Church, and other faith communities have been vocal and clear in emphasising the civic and moral duty to promote the common good by observing public health guidelines. Every reasonable and responsible person knows that keeping a safe distance from others is vital to the control of the virus. Whenever public worship was permitted, our parishes have been diligent in operating within guidelines, with great commitment by staff and volunteers to stewarding, sanitising and managing attendance.”
He spoke of the effect restrictions have had on funerals, prohibiting mourners from grieving the death of their loved ones with dignity. He said, “the restriction on attendance at funerals to 10 people is harsh and unfair. Close family members are frequently denied the right to be present in Church at the funeral of their loved ones: at times, people who have been with the deceased for years. This is tolerable only in the most extreme circumstances, and for the shortest possible period.
“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.”
In conclusion, Archbishop Farrell said, “Today we pray that we might be caught by Saint Patrick’s belief in the power of prayer, the convictions of his faith, and in the closeness of God, as well as the support and prayers of our sisters and brothers. As we turn towards God for protection, as Saint Patrick did, may the Lord bring us inner freedom, a dedication to the call of God, and a deep trust in the active presence of the Holy Spirit.
“Saint Patrick, Apostle of Ireland, pray for us. Pádraig Aspal, guí orainn. Beannachtaí na Féile oraibh go léir.”