The Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross has sent a message of thanks to people on what marks the first anniversary of the closure of churches for public worship.
The Right Reverend Dr Paul Colton shared a message this time last year asking people not to gather for public worship in response to the Covid-19 pandemic with church buildings closing for the first time, a decision which he said was taken in light of the unfolding situation at the time.
He acknowledged how “painful” and “cathartic” the current situation is but said he could not let the milestone pass without thanking the people of Cork, Cloyne and Ross.
“You, as part of the worldwide Church, here, in this most southern diocese of the Church of Ireland, in the midst of all the burdens and challenges, personal and communal, that this pandemic has caused, have shown resolve, determination, creativity, and adaptability.
“You have maintained your solidarity with those beyond our shores. You have dug deeply in uncertain and vulnerable economic and commercial times to continue to support the ministry, mission and work of the Church here and elsewhere,” he said.
He said that schools, parishes and homes have done more than the best they can and that they have gone the extra distance in adapting by learning new skills, harnessing social media and using online technologies.
He also mentioned those whose wedding day plans have been disrupted and especially those who have been unable to give their loved ones the funeral services they would have wished to give them.
“All our hearts have gone out to you. Our prayers and sympathy have been in solidarity with you in these far from normal times. What you have been through is most distressing.
“We do not know what the future will bring. We know that the way things are now is not normal, and let us not dignify it by calling it the new normal,” he said.