irish  graveyards

Easter Message from Bishop Larry

Our reception of ashes on Ash Wednesday was a response to a call to conversion. Before God we acknowledged that there were corners of our heart that needed healing, pockets of resistance to God’s grace in our lives. The Word of God announced that Lent was a unique season of God’s grace. Lenten penance, prayers and almsgiving were our response; we were part of a worldwide retreat or mission. Gospel passages, like that of the Samaritan Woman, revealed that God can lead us step by step to new life. It was with that hope we set out.

This Lent was to be like none other in our life experience. The fear of the virus Covid-19 has demanded a generous spirit from all in society; social distancing and staying at home were painful but necessary. We move into Holy Week hoping and praying for a change in daily news. As the Easter Triduum approaches, our prayer is one of gratitude for healthcare workers, and all who support and care for the vulnerable and aged. We pray for the dead and the bereaved and we ask God to care for us all.

The Easter Triduum celebrates and rejoices in the depth of God’s love for humankind. This love is expressed in the gift of his Son who gave his life for us. On Holy Thursday we are grateful for the wonderful gifts of Priesthood and Eucharist. The Cross is at the centre on Good Friday when we acknowledge the Cross of Christ as the source of all blessings and graces. The Paschal Candle on Saturday night invites us to walk in the light of Christ and be his voice and presence in the world. The Exultet – the song of Easter joy - calls on us to rejoice because God is ever faithful to his people.

This year, I think Holy Saturday best captures the mood and prayer of people at this time. An ancient homily found in the Office of Readings asks: “What is happening? On this day there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence and stillness, a great silence because our King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still because God slept in the flesh.”[1] We wait and pray like Mary and the women at the grave, never losing hope in God’s love. The Gospel reading at the Easter Vigil this year is from Matthew. Just like in his account of the Passion last Sunday, Matthew vividly places before us the power of God’s actions, of great earthquakes accompanying seismic moments in time. And through it all, the women are told not to be afraid; to seek the Risen Christ, the One they are looking for.

This Easter we are being challenged in many ways. But among the challenges there is one that as people of faith, people of hope and people of love, we cannot ignore. It is the challenge to find Christ in all that we do, in all the circumstances of life’s journey. Yes, Christ, Crucified and Risen, is with us.

Like the women on that first Easter morning, may we all in our time be ‘filled with awe and great joy’ (Mt 28:8) as we seek to bring the love and mercy of Christ to others, especially to those who most need it. Let us not be afraid to do so.

Christ, my hope, has risen: he goes before you into Galilee

That Christ is truly risen from the dead we know.

Victorious king, thy mercy show. (Sequence of Easter Sunday)

My prayer this Easter is that you will hold on to that hope as we celebrate the great deeds of God.

Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

Prayer to St. Roch to be Preserved from Contagious Diseases
Prayer to be Preserved from Contagious Diseases

O God, who through an Angel

promised St. Roch that those

who invoke His name or seek His

intercession will be preserved from all dangers and contagious diseases.

Grant that through His

intercession we may be preserved from this present danger.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

St. Roch pray for us. (3 times)

A Prayer for this Time of Challenge


God of Love, we the people of the Diocese of Clogher turn to you with prayerful hearts and with confidence in your loving presence among us now and in every moment of our lives. We stand before you as a people of hope, trusting in your care and protection. May we be comforted by your love in these anxious times.

Generous and Merciful God, fill us with compassion and concern for others, young and old; that we may look after each other in these challenging times, especially those among us who are vulnerable. May your example give us the courage we need to go to the margins, wherever they may be. Heal us of our fear.

Healing God, bring healing to those who are sick with the Coronavirus and be with their families and neighbours. We pray especially who those who are isolated, that they may know your love. Stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.

God of Strength, accompany all those who serve us with such love and generosity in the medical profession and in all our healthcare facilities.  We give thanks for their continued work in the service of people. We ask you to bless them, strengthen them and guide them with your abundant goodness.

God of Wisdom, we ask you to guide the leaders in healthcare and governance; that they may make the right decisions for the wellbeing of people.

O God of creation and God of life, we, your people here in Clogher, place ourselves and our world in your protection and love. May your peace be with us and enfold us today, tomorrow and during the time ahead.

We make our prayer through the intercession of Mary our Mother, and all the saints.

St Joseph, pray for us.

St Patrick, pray for us.

St Macartan, pray for us.

St Davnet, pray for us.

St Fanchea, pray for us.

May all the saints of God, pray for us, Amen!

+ Larry Duffy

Bishop of Clogher

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