You may be familiar with the Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, a pioneer in near-death studies, and author of the internationally best selling book, ‘On Death and Dying’ (1969). In this study she first discussed her theory of the five stages of grief. Delving deeper into these stages they reveal a journey that includes feelings of shock, anxiety, being overwhelmed, reaching out to others and telling one’s story.
When the everyday routine of our lives came to a shuddering halt on Thursday 12th March, the day Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced the closure of schools and the restrictions placed on gatherings of people. What we’ve collectively experienced is shock, a disbelief that our freedom is curtailed, our schools are closed, our places of worship are out of bounds and then the sudden scale of job losses! Coupled with television images from Italy, the St. Patrick’s Day address by An Taoiseach preparing us for the ‘calm before the storm’, and the rapid rise day on day in diagnosed cases of Covid-19. Yes, shock, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, just about sums it up!
And, yet, we find ourselves adjusting to a ‘new normal’. Phrases like: social distancing, wash your hands, cough etiquette have become the familiar lexicon of this strange and surreal time. However, in the midst of such trial and challenge, there is enormous kindness, thoughtfulness, and a determination to reach out in most innovative ways. Little did we think that webcam would become the primary means by which we would pray together.
It has been heartening to hear the feedback and appreciation expressed for this newly forged connection that draws us together in a spirit of communion and prayer. It is a prayer that also calls us to action, and I am delighted by the imaginative ways that our parish sponsored group, ‘NaasPoint’ are now actively reaching out to housebound and isolated parishioners. How a simple phone call can lift ones heart, or the practical assistance offered in doing a grocery shop or collecting a prescription. Well done to a great band of volunteers!
Naas Parish NaasPoint volunteers will now be available to work for those in isolation. Among the ways they might help are:
Telephone buddies: If anyone wants a daily phone call to just chat and to “check in,”.
Practical Help: Some older people or people in isolation may need practical help from grocery delivery to checking household matters (e.g. putting out bins). Contact NaasPoint to request assistance by calling the Parish Office on 045 879730 or Monday to Friday (089 216 3210).
On the material side of things, many people have phoned into the Parish Office enquiring about how to contribute to the Sunday Collection. I deeply appreciate your concern and your desire to support the parish. Like so many individuals, families and businesses, we’ve seen our parish income plummet to zero levels. If you wish to contribute you can do so online here or drop your donation into the Parish Office letterbox. At the end of the day it is our health, safety and well-being that is of utmost importance. God will always provide and there lies our hope and our trust.
To conclude, may I commend and pray God’s blessing upon all who work so selflessly with the sick and vulnerable at this time, I pray God’s blessing upon each one, may God keep you safe and well.
You may have noticed that some of the readings for Lent are beautiful. I will leave you with a quote from the Old Testament Prophet, Hosea. This reading was proclaimed on Saturday 21st March, it is for us a real source of hope and encouragement. Drawing as we ought to from God’s Holy Word. I hope you find consolation in these lines of scripture (Hosea 5:15)
The Lord says this:
They will search for me in their misery:
‘Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us;
he has struck us down, but he will bandage our wounds;
after a day or two he will bring us back to life,
on the third day he will raise us
and we shall live in his presence.
Let us set ourselves to know the Lord;
that he will come is as certain as the dawn,
he will come to us as showers come,
like spring rains watering the earth.’
Every blessing, keep safe and well – Fr. Liam