Irish bishops celebrate Pentecost at home and abroad

21 May, 2024 | Bishops, Church, News, World

Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, led pilgrims from the Archdiocese of Armagh, and from the Diocese of Dromore, to the Marian Shrine in Lourdes, France, in the week preceding Pentecost Sunday.  These two groups met up with pilgrims from Ferns who were being led by Bishop Ger Nash.

Speaking in Lourdes, Archbishop Martin said, “As the Olympic torch passed through Lourdes on its way to Paris, we gathered at the grotto this Pentecost morning to celebrate Christ our Light! Pentecost: the birthday of the Church – from that moment on, the flame of faith was passed from person to person – from Jerusalem to Judea to Samaria to the ends of the Earth!”

As well as seeing the Olympic Flame pass through Lourdes, on its way to the Paris 2024 Olympics, pilgrims from Dioceses of Dromore and Ferns were also given the privilege of carrying the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Separately, a letter to parishes across his diocese, Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick spoke of the miracle of Pentecost.  Bishop Leahy said that the Holy Spirit brings about unity, not conflict, out of variety and diversity. “Pentecost is, therefore, a great celebration of unity in diversity.  Each of us is given a different gift but like various voices in a choir, together we form a harmony that sings God to the world. This should be a hallmark of our Christian community.”

Bishop Leahy said that the Catholic Church has been blessed in recent years with the arrival of our “new Irish”, in our parishes, religious orders and schools.  On a wider society level, almost one in five people living in Ireland were not born here and, for the most part, are ordinary human beings like the rest of us, he said, making a significant contribution in workplaces and communities.

“Of course, I recognise there are challenges. Local communities must be given the resources and infrastructures to ensure refugees and asylum seekers are welcomed and supported.  Issues around asylum seekers and direct provision need urgent attention.  But at a time when anti-immigration rhetoric is on the rise, we need be careful about how we see, judge and act regarding migrants.” Bishop Leahy said.

In his Pentecost reflection, Bishop Fintan Monahan of Killaloe posed the question: “When you think of the Holy Spirit, what thoughts or images come to mind?  What does the phrase ‘Holy Spirit’ remind you of?  It isn’t easy to imagine the Holy Spirit.  We can picture God the Father as creator, as the loving Father calling his family together, as the one who always hears our prayer.  Christ became human and lived among us.  We can read the accounts of his words and actions in the Gospels and see him depicted in religious art.  But the Holy Spirit is different.  We depend on the images that we find in the bible and our own experiences of his presence.”



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