Dear Editor, I was delighted to read in your issue of September 3 of the episcopal ordination of Fr Paul Dempsey. Although not from Newbridge, I attended a christening in his parish church a short while back and was inspired by the way in which Fr Dempsey delivered his homily on the importance of faith in the lives of young people and the pivotal role of parenting in nurturing this great gift of love, joy and hope.
It was inspiring to see a priest unashamedly expound the ‘joy of the Gospel’ to what was a largely indifferent congregation at the beginning of the christening. He seized the moment to evangelise and many would have left with something to ponder in their own faith journey.
In the article it was refreshing to see Bishop Dempsey re-emphasise the importance of the Second Vatican Council, which was not so much about modernising the Church but about unlocking the great transformative light of the Gospel and bringing that light into the world.
The unfortunate truth is that this light is not seen or felt by a vast majority in our society today as evidenced by the very low attendance at Mass and the epidemic of hopelessness, anxiety and depression amongst our young people.
The responsibility to evangelise not only lies with the parish priest but with the laity. All baptised Christians have a responsibility to be in ‘mission mode’. Our priests may need an injection of impetus from the pews to realise Bishop Dempsey’s vision for the Church.
Our Church is a living and breathing organism dependent on one another rather than a church building with four walls and a sacristy. Not so much a Church with a mission but a mission with a Church. With Bishop Dempsey’s episcopal ordination, I feel we are a step closer to true vision of Vatican II.
Dundalk, Co. Louth.
Artistic image of Christ is ‘profound’
Dear Editor, The AI-generated image of Christ on page 3 of The Irish Catholic [IC10/09/2020] was striking to say the least.
There are so many different artistic representations of Christ in the world today but this image I felt really captured something many others haven’t. In my opinion the warmth and holiness the image exudes is profound and a credit to the Dutch artist behind it, Bas Uterwijk.
Furthermore, the images of Christ in western Europe are generally of someone who is white which couldn’t be accurate considering He was born in the Middle East.
Cork City, Cork.
Covid-19 has brought ‘epidemic of loneliness’
Dear Editor, I was quite upset to read an article in your recent edition [IC10/09/2020] which revealed that nuns have been receiving an increased number of calls from distressed and lonely people. This is of no surprise to me, this epidemic of loneliness, but it’s still hard to read in black and white.
People have been suffering, many in silence, for six months, cocooning and doing what they can to protect each other from this terrible virus. However, something has to give, the way we are living now is unnatural and will lead to huge mental health problems in the future and I know many people are struggling to cope, that’s why we see these protests against the restrictions in Dublin. I don’t agree with racism or the like – it seems the protest was organised/attended by some less than savoury people – but I’d say the majority of protestors are just furious with how the Government have handled this, which I think is understandable.
I hope the new plans set out by State authorities to help us ‘live with the virus’ will be far better than how they have responded so far.
Many elderly people died as a result of their negligence, many more I fear may die due to fear of attending health services and mental health issues.
This cannot and should not happen, the people of Ireland deserve better than our inadequate Government.
Archdiocese’s redundancies ‘sad’ but Church will endure
Dear Editor, The article by Chai Brady entitled ‘Dublin Diocese sees mass exodus of staff due to pandemic’ [IC 10/09/2020] was eye opening. Although there was some criticism – by an unnamed source in the article familiar with the ongoing process in the archdiocese – of redundancies given to almost a dozen parish pastoral workers employed by them, it seems like there wasn’t much of a choice.
Without a doubt the loss of parish pastoral workers anywhere is dreadful for the Church, but as a Church we must cut our cloth by our measure. Across Ireland everyone is experiencing the financial devastation this pandemic has caused and the Archdiocese of Dublin is no exception.
In my humble opinion what the Faithful must do, both clergy and lay people, is to prepare for a smaller Church, a Church that does not shirk when it comes to preaching the Gospel and all Christ has to offer. It can’t bend to populist beliefs like so many other Christian Churches have despite depleting resources and a huge decrease in Mass attendance.
Although it is a sad time for our Church across the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and work towards and hope for better times. For thousands of years Christians have lived through persecution and been on the brink of elimination in many territories but we have always endured and will do so once more, of that I am sure.
Ringsend, Co. Dublin.
A year for God for girls
Dear Editor, There must be young people like me who want to learn more about Catholic spirituality, a lot of girls I meet would love to learn more about catholic spirituality and a lot of girls I meet are also searching for God.
Is there any possibly that a convent could put on a one-year course – a year for God – for women to come and search and spend the time searching for their vocation whilst helping the community?
Letterkenny, Co. Donegal.