Pray, fast and serve your neighbour at Lent for healing in Irish ChurchSaturday, March 10th, 2012
The Catholic bishops of Ireland have appealed to the faithful to fast, pray, meditate, and do works of mercy during Lent, “for the grace of healing and renewal for the Church in Ireland.”
In a message released after their Spring meeting earlier this week, the bishops laid out several concrete suggestions that they are proposing to the faithful. These include:
- Renewing the practise of blessing themselves when they pass a church, “in acknowledgement of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, and as part of personal preparation for this year’s 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland in June”;
- Renewing the practise of abstaining from meat on Fridays;
- Going to Confession during Holy Week and, receiving Holy Communion at least once a year, during the Easter season;
- Doing Eucharistic Adoration, during Lent and up to the Eucharistic Congress and provide “opportunities for children and young people to experience adoration of the Blessed Sacrament followed by Benediction”;
- Setting aside regular times of silence for prayer and reflection as individuals and families, and to study and reflect on the Gospel of St Mark;
- Making a penitential pilgrimage to Lough Derg during the coming year, as a response to the Pope’s call in his letter to the Catholics of Ireland in March 2010 for, “self-examination, inner purification and spiritual renewal.”
The bishops said that Lent is a special time, “to pray for an outpouring of God’s mercy and the Holy Spirit’s gifts of holiness and strength upon the Church in Ireland, as part of the spiritual preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress.”
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that the works of mercy can be either spiritual or corporal. Spiritual works of mercy are “charitable actions by which people come to the aid of their neighbour.
“Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently,” it says.
Corporal works of mercy reflect the last Judgement of Jesus, feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting those who are sick or in prison. Giving to the poor is also a corporal act of mercy.
The bishops appealed to the Irish people Bishops to remember Trócaire during Lent and help to bring hope and dignity to those who need it most. The theme of Trócaire’s 2012 Lenten Campaign is, Rebuilding Communities for lasting change, and it focuses on communities in northern Uganda that are trying to rebuild their lives after 20 years of war.
by Susan Gately