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Bishop of Derry carries out Easter Blessing at City Cemetery

12 April 2020
The Bishop of Derry Rev Donal McKeown carried out an Easter Blessing of graves at Derry’s City Cemetery at sunrise this morning, Easter Sunday.
 
Bishop McKeown visited the Cemetery at dawn to sprinkle graves using Easter Water that was blessed in St Eugene’s Cathedral during the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night. The visit was arranged in co-operation with Derry City and Strabane District Council.
 
Bishop McKeown said he hoped the Easter Blessing would bring some comfort to grieving families across the Derry Diocese who are unable to visit the graves of their loved ones.
 
He said he was very aware that the Government legislation that forced all cemeteries and burial grounds to close for visitors, was a difficult one for many people, but he urged the public to be mindful of their own health and welfare and to take heed of the Government advice to Stay at Home.
 
He urged people to have faith and to remember their loved ones through prayer and reflection and encouraged the public to care for one another during this difficult time.
 
Bishop McKeown said: “By visiting the City Cemetery this morning and blessing graves, I wanted to reach out to the whole community to give some comfort and hope at this dark time. This virus may have driven our congregation indoors, forced us to stay apart from our loved ones and prevented us from availing of the sacraments. Perhaps the saddest of all is how it has painfully restricted our capacity to draw close to families who are bereaved or grieving.
 
“However, it is important to note, that while we may have been distanced physically, we have the ability to be closer than ever spiritually. Despite these restrictions, the Church can offer the comfort of Christ’s presence through prayer. Thanks to modern technology we can celebrate Easter together at a distance, whether it is by telephone, email or social media. We can still celebrate the joy of the resurrection.”
 
Bishop McKeown encouraged communities to unite together in the fight against the disease and to remain hopeful for the future.
 
He said: “The events around COVID-19 have reshaped our world. It is more important than ever that we remain strong in our resolution to come through this dark moment. Every single person across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area and the wider Derry Diocese, has their part to play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus by acting responsibly and staying at home this Easter.”