Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick has highlighted the need to support people who have unexpectedly found themselves facing unforeseen challenges as a result of Covid-19. Speaking on Sunday 15 November to mark the World Day of Poor, Bishop Leahy said that the pandemic has caught our society unprepared and thrown us into a sustained period of uncertainty. People now need moral support more than ever.

Poverty, he said, has suddenly appeared in a variety of guises, from loss of life to those who have been bereaved, but also for those who have been robbed of the security of work, for those whose educational journey was severely disrupted or whose mental health deteriorated.

Referring to the financial difficulties now facing many people, Bishop Leahy said “There is undoubtedly a silent cry of people who have fallen unexpectedly on hard times. They may not be visibly poor, but they are beginning to feel the worry of just not being able to make ends meet – for themselves, their children.

“It may even be the first time in their lives that they have experienced this. The mortgage payment is still there. The food bills are constant, the electricity bills, TV licence. It could be putting real strain on their relationship and their children may, for the first time, be exposed to disagreement and we all know the worry that’s caused in children by parents quarrelling.”

In conclusion, Bishop Leahy urged those in difficulty to seek help and support. He said, “This may be a new experience for some people and they are suffering it in silence. It might have various forms – from financial pressure to mental health issues. But people may feel incapable of turning to ask for help.

“I would appeal to all of us to encourage each other – if we need help not to be afraid to say so. There’s no shame in suddenly falling on hard times, also financial hard times. Unfortunately, it’s all too common today. It’s so important that we seek the support of others as others want to support.”

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