God is with us as we face into the unknown

The Bishop of Kilmore, Bishop Martin Hayes, brings you a special Easter message. It is the second successive year that public Easter ceremonies have been prohibited due to Coronavirus restrictions...

Earlier this year we planted some tulip bulbs around the grounds of the Conaty Pastoral Centre here in Cullies, Cavan. We wondered if we had planted them in time to flower later this year.

We are still going through a difficult time with the Coronavirus pandemic. We responded this time last year by staying with the public health guidelines. We came to appreciate, and we continue to be grateful for the efforts of all the healthcare and frontline personnel. We have had to encounter a second wave towards the end of 2020, and we are still struggling with a third wave (and a possible fourth) as positive cases remain stubbornly high.

Thanks to science, we have the vaccines and now we await their distribution. They offer us hope for the future though we are still facing into the unknown.

In the midst of this pandemic, we have come to realise that we are not in charge of our own destiny and we are not in control of the future. We have had to face our frailty and our mortality. In that regard, we remember all those who have died due to Coronavirus, family members, neighbours and friends. We have been grieving for them and all who have died in the past year. We have been unable to grieve fully for our Faithful Departed.

During Lent we are invited to accompany Jesus on his journey towards Holy Week and Easter. Lent once again has been most significant for us. Even, in doing our best to stay with the public health guidelines and with the promise of the vaccination roll-out, we are still facing uncertainty! We have never more needed Holy Week!

We would like to gather in our parish churches especially during Holy Week and to celebrate Easter, however, public health guidelines remain in place restricting public worship. Therefore, throughout Kilmore Diocese in all but two of our parishes (in NI) we will have to rely upon the use of webcam, radio links and social media to celebrate Holy Week and Easter again this year. These are technological developments that are indeed valued and do keep us in contact with our parish faith communities. Where such facilities are not in place, you are advised to tune into the Holy Week ceremonies at the Cathedral in Cavan https://www.churchservices.tv/cavancathedral

In being invited to accompany Jesus towards Holy Week, I have a real sense of Jesus being with us on our journey facing Covid-19, the pandemic. Jesus came among us to be with us and He, in staying on His journey in response to God our Father, is sustaining us in these times. We can face what is ahead with Jesus. He faced the reality of His suffering for our sake.

I believe that Jesus who faced the reality of his suffering and death, is with us on our journey facing into the unknown. We place all our hope in Jesus who faced his suffering and death and who rose from the dead. In his resurrection is our hope this Easter and into the future. In fact, the Risen Jesus is our future as it is Jesus who leads us into the unknown.

Finally, I wish you well in these most difficult of times. May the longer evenings, the signs of Spring growth – the tulips are beginning to appear in Cullies – lift your spirits. May the celebration of Holy Week and Easter offer us hope for better times in the year ahead.