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Limerick Bishop Urges Holy Communion for Peace Amidst War |

Limerick Bishop Urges Holy Communion for Peace Amidst War

Rome, Italy — Pope Benedict XV, (born Giacomo della Chiesa, 1854) Pope during World War I, 1914 to 1922. — Image by © CORBIS

In a heartfelt appeal echoing across the Diocese of Limerick, Bishop Edward Thomas has implored clergy, parents, and educators to heed the call of Pope Benedict XV for a solemn communion of children on the approaching anniversary of the Great War. The pontiff’s decree, issued in the midst of the turmoil gripping Europe, seeks divine intervention for peace amidst the ravages of conflict.

The letter penned by Bishop Thomas, dated 19th July 1916, underscores the profound spiritual significance of the Pope’s directive. With the second anniversary of the war’s outbreak looming, the Bishop underscores the urgency of the faithful’s response to this sacred summons. “It is imperative,” he writes, “to bring to the notice of the clergy, parents, and schoolteachers, the blessed command of the Pope, to secure for it a thorough and heartfelt compliance on the part of our people.”

Central to the Pope’s plea is the solemn reception of Holy Communion by children, boys and girls alike, on Sunday, the 30th of July. Bishop Thomas invokes the teachings of Christ, invoking the divine injunction, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me,” expressing hope that their prayers may intercede for those afflicted by the horrors of war, and usher in the spirit of peace to a world torn asunder by conflict.

The Bishop’s missive, to be disseminated across all churches within the diocese, both secular and regular, calls for unity in observance. “This letter will be read at every Mass,” he proclaims, “and provision be made for the Confessions of the children during the week following.” It is a clarion call to communal prayer, a collective entreaty for divine intervention in a world gripped by violence and suffering.

The significance of Bishop Thomas’s appeal reverberates not only within the confines of the Diocese of Limerick but resonates across the war-torn landscapes of Europe. In the midst of unprecedented upheaval and strife, the church stands as a beacon of hope, offering solace and sanctuary amidst the chaos of conflict.

The call to Holy Communion for peace carries profound implications, transcending the temporal confines of the battlefield to encompass the collective aspirations of humanity for reconciliation and harmony. In the sacred ritual of communion, believers find communion not only with the divine but also with one another, forging bonds of empathy and compassion that transcend the divisions of nationality and creed.

As the faithful prepare to answer the Pope’s summons, anticipation mounts for a moment of solemn reflection and supplication. In the innocence of children partaking in the sacrament, there lies a potent symbol of hope, a testament to the enduring power of faith to transcend the darkest of times.

Against the backdrop of the Great War, with its unrelenting toll of human suffering and devastation, the gesture of Holy Communion assumes added significance. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, a defiant affirmation of the belief that amidst the carnage of conflict, the light of peace can still shine through.

In the days leading up to the solemn observance, churches across the Diocese of Limerick will be abuzz with preparations. Clergy will stand ready to administer the sacrament, while parents and educators will impart the significance of the occasion to the youngest members of their flock. It is a collective endeavour, a shared act of faith that transcends individual differences and unites believers in a common cause.

Amidst the tumult of war, the church emerges as a bastion of hope and resilience, offering succour to the weary and solace to the afflicted. In the simple yet profound act of Holy Communion, believers find refuge from the storm, drawing strength from the timeless rituals of their faith.

As the appointed day draws near, the faithful of Limerick and beyond stand poised to answer the Pope’s call. In the solemn hush of the church, amidst the flickering candlelight and the strains of sacred music, they will offer up their prayers for peace, trusting in the promise of divine grace to guide them through the darkest of days.

In the timeless rhythms of the liturgy, amidst the timeless stones of Limerick’s churches, the timeless quest for peace finds expression. And in the solemn communion of children, there lies a glimmer of hope, a testament to the enduring power of faith to transcend the horrors of war and usher in a brighter tomorrow.

Freeman’s Journal – Thursday 20 July 1916

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