‘Hang on to the positives to get through crisis’

REACHING out to share a message of hope during lockdown one local priest has positively said he believes that after the coronavirus crisis ends we will emerge as a “more wholesome society”. Irvinestown priest, Fr Kevin Duffy has taken to social media to share weekly reflections at a time when he is separated from his parishioners in a physical sense.
Fr Duffy acknowledges that for priests this is a challenging time but remarks that the parish is reaching out in a variety of ways. “I can only speak for my own parish here, but we are trying to reach out to people in the best ways possible to let them know that we are still here. Easter was different, it wasn’t cancelled and we had to get our mindset around that.
“When we are not meeting in the church there is a hunger in people of the Catholic tradition for the Eucharist. Webcam is one way to reach out but we also use our Facebook page and we would see a lot of people get in touch with us that way.” This week Fr Duffy shared a message of hope painting a picture of ‘the hand on the glass’ adding that contact with loved ones through a window was “heart-breaking stuff” but that “we need to hold on to the great difference we are making”.
Speaking about this message he said, “This is about us trying to unite and the image to accompany that was one of a hand on glass because when we see that so much on TV, say for example a mother and daughter holding their hands up to glass. I think a more wholesome society awaits us, when our hands unite glass can’t stop the transmission of love and togetherness.”
When coronavirus subsides Fr Duffy said he was hopeful that people would hold onto some of the basics in life like community togetherness. “While things are changing in one way or another, one thing that will remain with us will be that as a community we reach out to each other.” In Irvinestown the Catholic church is working alongside community organisations to reach out to those in need. “There is that great sense of reaching out to people from the community here. There is a great awareness of the need to socially distance and people are a credit in the way they are observing that.
The output of that is there is isolation for a lot of people. It’s great to be able to work with other ministers through the ARC to make sure everyone in the community is seen to and that people are not sitting in loneliness.” Working with St Vincent De Paul and the ARC Healthy Living Centre in Irvinestown Fr Duffy said there is “a joining up of dots to enable a cross community reach” in the town something which he says he is “honoured to be a part of”.
In the midst of ‘bad news’ Fr Duffy remarked, “There are some positives and we have to keep reaching out for the positives all the time. Hope is rooted in the message of Easter and as we journey into unprecedented times as Christian leaders we aim to bring hope.”

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