Faith Matters

'Keep yourselves - and others - safe at church'

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin wears a face mask during holy communion at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

AS Churches across Ireland started the slow, cautious journey back to public worship this week, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin thanked God "for all those who brought Christianity to life over the past 15 weeks".

"The past three-and-a-half months of lockdown marked a time of great uncertainty and anxiety," he said on Monday in his homily at the first public Mass celebrated in St Patrick's Cathedral since lockdown.

"We had to make sacrifices for the Common Good and to protect life and health.

"Faith kept many of us going. In March we turned in faith to our patron Saint Patrick, and on the Feast of the Annunciation, we consecrated Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"Today I thank God that, through their intercession, the worst possibilities of the virus were kept from our shores."

The Archbishop urged that churchgoers "remain responsible in keeping the virus suppressed by practising safe physical distancing, good hygiene and by continuing to respect health guidelines on movement and gatherings".

"Today we are thankful, but the public health advisers remind us that the Covid-19 virus remains a threat in the present and in the future," he said.

"There may be more sacrifices to come. So let us continue to play our part in keeping ourselves and others as safe as possible as we go forward in prayer, in faith and in witness to life and to hope."

Parishioners wearing face masks bless themselves at the end of Mass at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said public Mass at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh on Monday for the first time since March, when Covid-19 lockdown measures forced places of worship to close their doors. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Fr Peter McAnenly, Administrator of the Cathedral parish in Armagh, gives holy communion to a parishioner from behind a screen. Churches have introduced a range of measures to allow public worship to safely resume as coronavirus lockdown measures are relaxed. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin said public Mass at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh on Monday for the first time since March, when Covid-19 lockdown measures forced places of worship to close their doors. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin blesses parishioners at the end of Mass at St Patrick's Catholic Cathedral in Armagh on Monday. Picture by Liam McBurney/PA Wire

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