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'There's light at end of the tunnel', say church leaders

 

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Archishop Eamon Martin

Archishop Eamon Martin

Archishop Eamon Martin

Church leaders have urged the public to hold on to the positives of 2020 despite the pain of the pandemic.

In his New Year's message, the leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, said the memory he will cherish of 2020 is how the power of love and care was able to overcome isolation, loneliness, suffering, despair and negativity.

"I will treasure a 2020 vision of goodness, kindness, generosity and courage shown by neighbours, volunteers, doctors, nurses, chaplains and other carers; by teachers, shop workers, clergy and so many others who devoted themselves to keeping our essential services going," said the archbishop.

He said the "amazing works of mercy were concrete expressions of the compassion, love and hope of Christ ringing out in our communities and world".

Dr Martin also expressed the hope that people will find faith, hope and love to meet what is likely to be another difficult year in tackling the coronavirus.

In a joint message, representatives of the Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic and the Irish Council of Churches said many people were hoping for a brighter and safer future in 2021.

Grief

The pandemic of 2020 had brought grief, anxiety and uncertainty as well as economic loss and disruption of livelihoods.

"Many aspects of life that we had taken for granted, like visiting loved ones in nursing homes, or popping in to see a friend, suddenly changed," they said.

They also paid tribute to the actions of frontline workers who, they said, had "sacrificially gone about their business".

They praised, too, those who delivered groceries for neighbours self-isolating or had sewn scrubs or kept in touch with others by phone.

Bishop Brendan Leahy of Limerick noted that many humorous WhatsApp messages had been circulating in recent days, celebrating the end of a year that has been "one of the worst in living memory for most of us".

While there was still so much work to do in overcoming Covid, there was "light at the end of the tunnel", with the vaccine being rolled out, he stressed.


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