In accordance with the public health restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, members of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference gathered this week for their Spring 2021 General Meeting via video-link, instead of the usual location at Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. This was the fourth plenary meeting of bishops hosted using this medium. The President of the Conference is Archbishop Eamon Martin of Armagh and the Vice-President is Archbishop Dermot Farrell of Dublin.
During their meeting bishops acknowledged the depth of pain experienced by people whose loved ones have died during this difficult time and offered their prayerful support to families who have suffered due to the restrictions placed on funeral rites and attendance.
Bishops prayed in thanksgiving for the successful visit last week of Pope Francis to Iraq, that it will help bring about peace and reconciliation in the region. Bishops also prayed for the repose of the souls of Father Ragheed Ghanni, and three deacons, who were ambushed and murdered after celebrating Mass in the Holy Spirit Church, Mosul, in northern Iraq on 3 June 2007. Father Ganni had ministered and lived in Ireland, in particular at the pilgrimage site of Lough Derg in the Diocese of Clogher, during his holidays as a student from the Pontifical, Irish College, Rome.
The main issues discussed by the bishops during their Spring General Meeting included:
- Walking Together – A Synodal Pathway leading to a National Synodal Assembly for the Catholic Church in Ireland
- Cardinal Tagle’s address to the Bishops’ Conference and the annual Trócaire lecture
- Trócaire’s Lenten Appeal on the impact of conflict on families in South Sudan
- Statement on Covid-19 restrictions in the Republic of Ireland
- Covid Vaccination Programme
- Saint Patrick’s Day and praying for those affected by Covid-19
- Welcoming Pope Francis’ year dedicated to the family
- Call for submissions for a new lectionary for Ireland
- Irish Bishops’ Drugs and Alcohol Initiative
- Prayers for peace following military coup in Myanmar
- In Memorium
You can read more about the Bishops’ Spring General Meeting here.