Members of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference gathered in-person this week in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, for their Autumn 2021 General Meeting. During their meeting bishops reflected on the heartbreak suffered many thousands of families throughout Ireland who experienced the death of a loved one during the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, bishops acknowledged the additional distress caused by the restrictions which, over the past nineteen months, limited the number of people who could mourn together and offer the customary supports at this most sensitive time for families. Bishops commended parishes across Ireland who have been arranging liturgical ceremonies for grieving families, and thereby enabling us to gather as a community of faith to pray for the repose of the souls of our deceased.

To pastorally support everyone who has suffered in this way, and in the context of November being the traditional time that we remember our dead, the Bishops of Ireland will undertake a pilgrimage to the International Eucharistic and Marian Shrine in Knock, Co Mayo, in the Archdiocese of Tuam, on Sunday 14 November and concelebrate Mass at 3.00pm for all those who have died on the island, and for their families, during the pandemic. At the Mass bishops will offer prayers of thanksgiving for all those who so selflessly sacrificed so much during the pandemic. This Mass will be live-streamed on www.knockshrine.ie and broadcast on the RTÉ News Now digital television channel and online.

Bishops expressed their gratitude to the faithful for their prayers, sacrifice and perseverance during this difficult period for all of society. This commitment, along with the sterling efforts of our clergy, religious and frontline workers, has successfully served to protect human life and health.

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