Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has urged people across the diocese to use this “extra special Easter” for Ireland to make sure Easter doesn’t slip by as simply a long weekend of amusement with no deeper meaning.
Speaking ahead of the Easter weekend, which tens of thousands of Limerick people will mark by going to Good Friday services, Easter Sunday Mass and other festivities, Bishop Leahy appealed to families to make this special weekend their beginning for the World Meeting of Family celebrations and visit of Pope Francis to Ireland later this year.
“Easter is one of the great celebrations annually of family. We gather at Easter in a way that otherwise really only happens every year at Christmas. We travel distance for it, dine together, set time aside to spend time with each other. It can be a real opportunity for quality time together. That’s why I believe it’s important to build participation in Church ceremonies into it”
“For the family of the Church, this is such an important Easter because it can be the beginning for our build up to the Pope’s visit in five months’ time. Indeed, the Pope’s visit illustrates the importance of family here in Ireland as he would not be coming here were it not for the World Meeting of Families, an event he selected Ireland to host, which also says something about the importance of family to us.”
He continued: “Easter is all about a new beginning. It’s the wonderful message of the Risen Lord, about renewal, about there always being an opportunity to start afresh. About always having hope. Pope Francis has a great phrase: ‘don’t let yourselves be robbed of hope’. That’s what Easter is about.
“I often think of Pope Francis’ Easter story, where he tells of being a young boy and the effect the Good Friday Ceremony had on him. He talks of being brought to the service by his grandmother and how the resurrection of Christ two days later instilled in him the great message of hope.
“I would hope that as we approach this Easter, we all take on board that message of hope. Certainly from a Church’s perspective, I would love to see parents accompany their families to the ceremonies to enjoy the joy of the Risen Lord and the hope of the Easter message.” Bishop Leahy concluded.
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