In November We Remember

    Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
    ‘Remember In November’ – A Pastoral Letter for November 2020
    Bishop Francis Duffy, Bishop of Ardagh & Clonmacnois

    November is a time to remember and pray for family members, colleagues, neighbours and
    friends who have died since this time last year. Those who have gone before us, those who
    were so much present with us, so central to our lives, have left us with a deep sense of loss. We look for peace, for healing of heartache, and for hope.
    This year is particularly difficult for those who have been bereaved since March. Those
    profound feelings of loss have been heightened by not being able to be present at a time of
    death and by the absence of the familiar family and community supports.
    Familiar Faces
    The lockdown and restrictions have impacted on how we say goodbye to our loved ones.
    Some sadly died without familiar faces around them, some left this life with the caring
    presence of hospital and nursing home staff, we are grateful to them.
    Familiar faces, consoling words and reminiscence are all important in our grieving process.
    Many have not had the traditional practices that help us: wakes, gatherings at home, reception of remains at the church and a funeral Mass with an unrestricted attendance. These experiences have added to the sense of loss.
    We have been without the normal free flowing schedule of Masses and sacraments for over
    seven months now. Our priests and parishioners have made great efforts to keep our
    churches open and safe and welcoming, for this we are very thankful. Although we have
    moved online, and on television, for Mass, it is not the same. In his message for World
    Mission Day 2020, Pope Francis writes,
    ‘Being forced to observe social distancing and to stay at home invites us to rediscover
    that we need social relationships as well as our communal relationship with God.’
    We long so much to be back in church, with the support of a gathering, and the meaningful
    participation of being present with others, an expression of who we are and what we believe in.
    Uncertainty for young people and the economy
    Our remembrance this November takes place at a time of continuing uncertainty, isolation
    and economic hardship. We take reassurance from the good practices learned in all areas of
    life about how to keep ourselves and others safe. Every day we should reassure our young
    people of our love and support and help them to nurture their God-given gifts.
    We take reassurance from the determination of our political leaders to bring us through this
    pandemic as safely and as socially and economically resilient as possible. We take
    reassurance from our belief in a caring God who encourages us to make wise decisions for
    the common good and to look out for each other. Jesus’ call to ‘love your neighbour as
    yourself’ has taken on a new meaning in the current context of caring and of keeping safe.

    Hope based in Jesus ensures all will be well
    We have the reassurance of the Lord that all will be well and that He will strengthen our
    ability to lift ourselves and others with resolve and hope during this terrible time. Resolve to do our very best to ensure maximum safety. Hope based in Jesus’ promise to be with us
    always ‘until the end of time’ (Matt 28: 20). In his extraordinary Urbi et Orbi address of
    March 2020, Pope Francis said, ‘In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side’
    The risen Lord is with us.
    #Remember in November
    During the month of November parishes will continue with their remembrance practices in so far as the restrictions allow, November lists, remembrance trees, candles and other local
    On Sunday 1 November at 3.00pm a special Remembrance Service will take place in Saint
    Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, and will be broadcast by webcam on . I
    invite you to join us online as we remember, pray for those who have gone before us and for
    those who mourn. In a similar way on social media I encourage you to use the hastag
    #RememberInNovember along with your prayerful messages to commemorate the souls of
    our loved ones. May our departed rest in peace and may the Lord bring consolation to those
    who grieve.

    +Francis Duffy
    Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnois