You are never alone, even in the isolation during the Coronavirus pandemic, the Primate of All Ireland told the country’s Catholics on St. Patrick’s Day.
“In Ireland we have a strong tradition that God is at our side in time of trouble,” Archbishop Eamon Martin, archbishop of Armagh said in his pastoral message on Tuesday, March 17.
“It remains important to keep reminding ourselves and others in the coming days that we are never completely isolated: Christ is beside us, before us, behind us, on our right and on our left, beneath us and above us,” the archbishop said, quoting from the Lorica of St. Patrick.
St. Patrick, a fifth century Welsh-born bishop is credited with the spread of Christianity across Ireland. He is now the patron saint of the island.
Believed to have been born around 389 AD, Patrick was abducted by Irish raiders as a teenager and taken to Ireland where he worked for six years as a slave. He escaped and in the following years studied the faith at monasteries in Europe.
Patrick was ordained as a deacon and then a bishop in continental Europe before returning to Ireland as a missionary. He used his knowledge of the Irish culture and Celtic symbols to spread the Christian faith, and was known for his prayer and fasting.
Ireland has seen more than 220 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus and two deaths from the virus. Public Masses have been canceled by the country’s bishops, although Archbishop Martin is offering Mass for St. Patrick’s Day, a solemnity in Ireland, to be live streamed online.
Worldwide, there are more than 185,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) last week.
The archbishop invited Catholics to pray the Lorica of St. Patrick, which the saint prayed for spiritual protection, for protection against the virus. He also exhorted the country’s Catholics to prayer and works of mercy.
“This is a time for an outpouring of the works of mercy towards the sick and vulnerable, and for a spirit of generosity and self-sacrifice, compassion and charity in Ireland, and across the world,” he said.
Archbishop Martin asked Catholics to pray “for the virtues of patience and perseverance” and not to succumb to despair.
“Do your best to spread calmness – not panic; serenity – not turbulence; solidarity – not selfishness,” he said.