Each month, Bishop Paul Colton writes a short one page letter as a foreword to the Cork, Cloyne and Ross Diocesan Magazine.
Here is his letter in the June edition of the magazine:
Another month has passed and with it have come more changes, challenges and tragedies. On behalf of us all I extend sympathy, not only to the loved ones of all those who have died of COVID-19, but also to everyone who has been bereaved during this pandemic. Not being able to give loved ones the funeral we would really want to give them is one of the most heart-breaking aspects of the current times.
Much in my prayers and yours, have been those who are ill with COVID-19 and all others whose other illnesses have been compounded by the strictures of these times. In a different way, Leaving Certificate students and their families have been much in my thoughts and prayers.
In one way or another everyone of us has been affected and, in addition to the immense tragedy of death and the vulnerability of illness, there have been the anxieties, fears and disappointments. The American pastor, Nadia Bolz-Weber, has referred to the ‘pandemic of disappointment’ in these times: postponed events and weddings, cancelled times of enjoyment and togetherness, and much more.
Alongside all of this, there is also good news: people who have recovered and are recovering from COVID-19; the work achieved by all in society collaborating in ‘flattening the curve’; the fortitude and self-sacrifice of frontline workers; the extraordinary generosity of volunteers; people going the extra mile to support and assist one another; and the so-many ways in which Christians have been discovering what it means to be the Church.
Since I last wrote the Government has published a ‘Roadmap’ and a ‘Protocol’ for reopening society and business. These are for us too in the Diocese. The Roadmap signals that places of worship can re-open from 20th July, subject to the public health situation between now and then. Re-opening isn’t as straightforward as it sounds because ‘the new normal’ will be different. It will include social distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene – in Church too!
I have already started engaging with the clergy of the Diocese and with the Diocesan Council as we figure out what will be possible in accordance with the public health realities that we face for now.
Of one thing I am sure – whatever we have to do, we will do together, under God.
You are all in my prayers.
✞ Paul Cork:
The full Diocesan Magazine for June is here: Diocesan Magazine ~ June 2020