Dear Editor, It was wonderful to see your front page (IC 2/04/2020) in which prominent GAA figures advocated for the vulnerable during our current pandemic, particularly priests and religious. It is now more than ever that we need to make sure our priests and religious feel they are being looked out for by the parish community and further afield. It is difficult to be Catholic never mind a member of the clergy in our modern Ireland.
Not being able to go out and continue doing their pastoral ministry as they always have must be very dispiriting, I know many are trying to do this in a different way – some very successfully so – but the absence of face-to-face contact with those needing guidance and spiritual nourishment just can’t be the same.
In addition, the growing age demographic of Ireland’s religious means that huge numbers are having to cocoon due to the new Government regulations. This isolation is tough on everyone over 70. However, I absolutely welcome the call to pray for our priests and religious at this difficult time, and do all we can to rally around them including by offering practical supports (while adhering to Government guidelines of course).
We see nursing homes are being hit particularly badly by Covid-19: there seems to be several ‘clusters’ where the virus has spread. There are many religious orders that have a number of elderly people living together around Ireland, perhaps not even half as much as their used to be, but it must be a particularly frightening time for them.
Let us not forgot those who have given their lives completely to God, whose devotion is an example to us all in a time of growing secularisation on our island, whose witness is a breath of fresh air as people drift from our Church.
Theirs is a frontier that must not fall. We must stand with them.
Greystones, Co. Wicklow.
Keep churches open and keep praying
Dear Editor, I totally agree with John Williams (IC/26/03/2020) that in these unprecedented times as we are facing a worldwide pandemic which will take the lives of so many people, it is vitally important, more so than ever before, that every Church across Ireland is kept open for daily prayer.
Every Church here in my native is open for prayer every day and I visit one of them to pray and to spend time in the presence of God. A prayer is a prayer, no matter how short or how long and all prayers are answered. The most powerful weapon which can destroy this pandemic is the power of prayer so, to reiterate, it is vitally important that all Churches in Ireland are kept open every day. Pray for all priests, bishops, nuns, sacristans, Ministers of the Word (which I am very privileged to be) and all people who need our help.
Kilfera, Co. Kilkenny.
Image quality of online Mass must be improved
Dear Editor, During the coronavirus pandemic surely we should be able to view a well-produced Mass where the celebrants, readers, etc. can be clearly seen and heard
Use of subtitles and sign language would also be helpful.
Also, is there any reason why we cannot have some hymns and sacred music, even if it is supplied from a CD?
Maynooth is close to Dublin and RTÉ where there are excellent TV production facilities available.
The Church of Ireland service from Maynooth last Sunday was an excellent example of best practice indeed. Given the large numbers watching Mass online, providing such services is a good commercial proposition for RTÉ. Time for the hierarchy to up their game.
Liam de Paor,
Carrickane, Co. Cavan.
Let’s talk about dying and coronavirus
Dear Editor, I have not read or heard media coverage about when, whether, how to talk about dying in relation to Covid-19. Hospice websites have advice. An open discussion could be helpful.
Dalkey, Co. Dublin.
RTÉ must up their game with televised Masses
Dear Editor, In excess of 162,000 people tuned into Mass on RTÉ on Sunday, March 22 [IC 26/03/2020]. In these days of social isolation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Catholics are unable to attend church, but still wish to unite in prayer remotely.
My son and I were deeply disappointed last Sunday, March 29 when no Mass was broadcast on RTÉ television. It is obvious that there is a demand for this service, especially on a Sunday, based on the above figures.
I acknowledge that the RTÉ News Now channel broadcasts Mass and services during the weekdays at 10.30am, but not everybody has access to that channel, or know how to access it.
It is even more surprising then that Mass was not broadcast on Sunday. I would ask that Mass on Sunday be broadcast on RTÉ1 or RTÉ2.
This is a small comfort for the older age group who do not have access to computers, iPads or smartphones, and do not have access to Mass via these media.
Please be so good as to broadcast Sunday Mass during this troubled time and cater for the needs of those being ‘cocooned’ and people in hospital and nursing homes.
Arda Thir Oilean, Co. Galway.