Derry’s Diocesan Administrator Monsignor Eamon Martin is urging people to pray for the “gift of hope” this Easter.
Mons. Martin says that, at present, a “feeling of darkness, abandonment and emptiness is very real” for many people.
“It is consoling for them to know that Jesus also felt rejected, abandoned, almost swallowed up by evil before the victory of Easter destroyed death and restored life,” he said.
“This Easter, let us pray for the gift of hope, especially for those who are finding it difficult to cope with the financial crisis, families which are under pressure because of bereavement or a breakdown in relationships, and anyone who may be tempted to despair about the future.
“We pray that they may be strengthened by the special grace of this Easter season.”
Mons. Martin also urged people to “reflect again this Easter on the whole story of our salvation - the story of Messiah, the Lord of Lords, King of Kings, who conquered suffering, sin and death by rising from the dead. Christ is truly risen. Let us rejoice and be glad about that. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!”
He added: “Someone once asked me: when is the most appropriate time to listen to Handel’s ‘Messiah’? To ask that is like asking whether Christmas or Easter is the greatest Christian feast. You can’t have one without the other.
“Our Creed, our profession of faith, makes that clear: We believe in the only Son of God, who was born of the Virgin Mary (Christmas), who suffered under Pontius Pilate, who was crucified died and was buried (Holy Week), and who rose again on the third day (Easter).
“Christmas, Holy Week and Easter are all essential chapters in the story of our salvation.”