Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh has called for a Family Rosary Crusade against Covid-19 throughout Ireland during the month of October.

The archbishop made the appeal on Sunday 20 September during his homily for the Mass of Consecration of Bishop Martin Hayes as the new Bishop of Kilmore.

Archbishop Martin said, “These past six months have reminded us of the importance of the “domestic Church” – the Church of the sitting room and kitchen!  It has highlighted the vocation of parents as the primary teachers of faith and prayer in the home and family.  That is why I am calling for a “Family Rosary Crusade against Covid” during the month of October.  I would be grateful for your support in encouraging families here, and throughout Ireland, to pray the Rosary each day during October – or even one decade of the Rosary – for themselves, their loved ones and for all those whose health or livelihood is being seriously impacted by the coronavirus crisis.”

Archbishop Martin went on to acknowledge the role of lay people. He said, “As bishops we need to find new ways of harnessing the tremendous gifts and charisms of our lay faithful. I think today of a young nurse who told me during the lockdown how the Covid-19 crisis has opened her eyes to see her nursing work in a new way – as as her vocation from God. Like thousands of other health workers and carers – many of whom are committed members of our parishes – she has been witnessing powerfully to the tenderness and compassion of God. Others, including many of our young people, have been willing volunteers during the pandemic, reaching out to the lonely and housebound. These are today’s labourers in the vineyard of the Lord. It is our task, as spiritual and pastoral leaders, to help more people to hear and answer the Lord’s invitation: “You go into my vineyard too”!

“In these days of Covid19 many people are struggling with uncertainty and worries about elderly and vulnerable members of their families.  They are concerned about their own health, jobs, and livelihoods, about education and future plans.  One exasperated businessman asked me during the week: “What are we going to do?  What is this all about”?  People are yearning for the consolation and hope that comes from an encounter with the Lord.  They long to know in their hearts, as your own motto puts it, that “the steadfast love of the Lord endures forever”.

Archbishop Martin went on to say, “We bishops are called to be like a loving Father, helping our people and priests to discover their personal vocation from God and be able to contribute their gifts to the growth of the Church.  These days of restrictions and lockdowns are challenging us to find new ways of reaching out.  Viewer statistics from our Church webcams suggest that many thousands of Irish people remain hungry for spiritual nourishment and for the comfort and consolation of God’s Word, even if they may not be regularly attending Mass or the sacraments.”

Rosary resources for the month of October will be made available on the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference website – www.catholicbishops.ie.

ENDS