Yesterday, Sunday 14 November, Archbishop Eamon Martin concelebrated the Mass of Remembrance for those who died during the pandemic in the Basilica of Our Lady of Knock, Co Mayo, in the Archdiocese of Tuam, with bishops and clergy from across Ireland.

During his homily, the Primate of All Ireland said, “We are gathering today to remember all those who died during the Covid-19 pandemic. What a cruel time it has been for the dying and the bereaved.

“Sadly, in many cases during the Covid pandemic, those precious, final moments saw increased heartbreak. At a time when physical closeness is so important, and our caring instinct is to hug someone, or hold their hand, it was distressing that often the final words of love and prayer had to be spoken over a telephone, or from behind windows and screens, or masks or visors.”

Drawing attention to the frontline workers fighting Covid, the Archbishop continued, “In a special way today in Knock we remember, with deep gratitude and prayer, the ‘heroes’ who kept our health, emergency, chaplaincy and other essential services going during the pandemic, often denying themselves in the cause of compassion, charity and love. And they are still doing it, today and every day. Even if the stories and statistics of Covid slip down the main news headlines, these heroes remain at their posts – dedicated, often exhausted, under huge pressures and staff shortages, but always deeply committed to their vocation of love and care and mercy.

“Let society never forget them, and always ensure that our carers and health workers are appreciated, fully resourced and rewarded for their goodness.”

In conclusion, Archbishop Martin said, “During these weeks of November many parishes around the country are gathering like this to express solidarity and hope in these difficult times. We have come today on pilgrimage to Knock, to pray with Jesus, Mary and Joseph for those who have died during Covid and for all who continue to grieve them. I thank the families who have travelled from around Ireland to be with us and to represent the recently bereaved. What draws us all is the powerful message of Christ who is the Resurrection and the Life.

“The Covid-19 virus may have struck at the very heart of our outreach and ministry to the sick, the dying and the bereaved; but, it could not, and did not, and will not destroy our hope and our conviction that God remains especially near to people who suffer, and God is close to those who are broken-hearted. Amen.”

To read this homily in full, click here.

ENDS