(Source: CD/Vatican News/Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference)

The people of Ireland were Wednesday consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on this the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord for protection against the coronavirus.

The Primate of All Ireland, Archbishop Eamon Martin, at noon local time, joined with bishops and priests from all over the island for the moment of consecration.

People were invited to join in a moment of prayer with their families or as individuals. 

The consecration also coincided with Pope Francis’ invitation to people all over the world to pray the Lord’s Prayer at 12pm Rome time on Wednesday.

The country’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar on Tuesday announced new measures to deal with the Covid-19 outbreak.

The restrictions which include, going to work if it is essential, to shop for essential supplies, to care for the vulnerable, and exercise, will continue until 19 April.

There are 1,329 confirmed cases in the Republic of Ireland and seven people have died from the virus. In Northern Ireland, five people have died from the coronavirus and the number of cases now stands at 172.

Speaking about the Act of Consecration, Archbishop Martin said, “As a Church now, more than ever, we are committed to offering prayer, solidarity and compassion in our society.

“Social distancing cannot be allowed to create social isolation and, through prayer, as Pope Francis said on Sunday, we can overcome: ‘In these trying days, while humanity trembles due to the threat of the pandemic, I would like to propose to all Christians that together we lift our voices towards Heaven.’”

The Archbishop praised Pope Francis’ strong pastoral leadership “at this horrendous time especially when we consider the impact that the rapid devastation COVID-19 has wrought across Italy.”

Novena’s full coverage of the coronavirus crisis:

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PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.