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Bishop Leahy's Lenten message - giving can happen through many means and not just financial

Bishop Leahy’s Lenten message - giving can happen through many means and not just financial

Monday, 12 February 2024: Bishop of Limerick Brendan Leahy has said that almsgiving this Lent should not be just about financial generosity but giving more in areas like the time we spend with loved ones, welcoming refugees to our area and by simply being better at understanding.

In his Lenten Letter, this year on the theme of “giving”, read out at Masses across the Diocese over the weekend, Bishop Leahy said that when we think of Lenten giving, we might assume it’s about contributing financially to the poor and good causes, which is noble.

“That is indeed good to do. But almsgiving is about much more than that. It has to do with our day-to-day attitude to life,” he said. “Lent offers us a time to improve a little more in becoming people who throughout the day live with an attitude of cheerful giving.”

Bishop Leahy invoked the message of patron saint of the Diocese of Limerick St. Ita, who said, when asked by St. Brendan, the three things God especially loved were True faith in God with a pure heart, a simple life with a religious spirit, and open-handedness generous giving inspired by love.

While we might not have much finance to share today, there are many more ways of giving, he continued. “For instance, we can lend a listening ear to someone who wants to chat. We can exercise patience in situations that are testing us. We can give generously by doing our work well or carrying out our duties well as a mother or father, son or daughter, an employer, an employee,” he said.

“We can share our values by giving witness to them. We can offer a smile to welcome others. We can offer words of consolation or good advice. We can give by trying to understand others better and to forgive others if they have offended us.”

Bishop Leahy also said that welcoming refugees, including people of different religious culture is also a form of Lenten giving to be encouraged. “Hospitality is a praiseworthy expression of giving, especially when we welcome, protect, promote, and integrate those who are refugees and migrants, or those with religious convictions different to ours. Volunteering and giving support and encouragement to the social initiatives in our church or neighbourhood is a valuable way of giving.”

Ultimately, he said, prayer for other’s people’s intentions and peace in our world is a wonderful way of giving.

“So, yes, there are indeed countless ways of giving. Let’s see how this we can try, with God’s grace, to give more of ourselves in our relationship with God and in our relationships with others. And let’s give thanks for all who have helped us and for those who, in big and small ways, work on our behalf.”

Bishop Leahy this weekend also distributed a prayer card across the diocese entitled ‘Love is…saying you’re sorry’ to reflect on our lives with an examination of conscience. Also last week, Bishiop Leahy commenced the annual Confirmations. In all he will be attending some 70 ceremonies, confirming nearly 2000 children. “I look forward to meeting them and their families, with parents and grandparents so proud of their children on Confirmation Day,” he added.