AS WE embark on a very different type of Lent, the Bishop of Clogher has urged the people of the diocese to continue to pray, reflect and continue to support those less fortunate during this holy season.
In a lengthy pastoral letter issued in advance of Ash Wednesday, Bishop Larry Duffy spoke of the hardships parishioners have endured this past year, when people have suffered loneliness and were unable to congregate as a church community.
“Last year our Lenten journey was changed rather quickly,” said Bishop Duffy. “The continuing restrictions and our obligation to protect the health and life of others demand of us that Lent 2021 will be quite similar.
“This year, the ancient and popular custom of receiving ashes, expressing a willingness to do penance, will not be possible.”
Instead, Bishop Duffy is encouraging people to practice penance, pray, give alms, and fast.
“Covid-19 has caused many in our world to plead for the bare necessities of life,” he said. “Trocaire, the Society of St Vincent de Paul and many other charities help us respond to the cries of those in need in our world. These cries are even greater now.
“Fasting from alcohol, TV, and the consumption of certain foods are traditional favourite forms of penance for Lent. Maybe we can do something this year, such as supporting our frontline workers or encouraging compliance with public health regulations in an effort to protect others. These actions could be undertaken as a form of fasting this year.
“Whatever you undertake, know that God’s grace and blessing is showered upon you.”
To help parishioners, Bishop Duffy said the diocese was making a number of resources available online at www.clogherdiocese.ie, as well as is social media pages. He urged people to continue to celebrate Mass online, as part of the ‘digital Church’, and said there would also be an online Diocesan Way of the Cross on the evening of Friday, March 26, led by people from all seven pastoral areas of the diocese and with meditations specially written for these times.
Posted: 9:02 am February 20, 2021