The main Churches have thanked front line workers for their “courage and compassion” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Leaders from the Church of Ireland, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian and Irish Council of Churches issued a joint statement on Friday after holding a weekly video call.
Church services remain suspended as coronavirus safety measures are due to continue for at least another three weeks.
Funeral services are permitted to take place, but only with small gatherings and those attending maintaining social distancing.
On Palm Sunday many churches also found new ways to reach members by streaming services live over the internet.
Following the latest ‘Clap for Carers’ on Thursday evening, the joint statement praised the community spirit of those staying at home to protect one another from “a terrible unseen enemy”.
“To be a community, in the real sense of the word, means that as individuals we acknowledge our interdependence and work together to achieve something for the greater good, which will benefit us all,” the statement read.
“In the last number of weeks we have witnessed the vast majority of people on this island working together in a way that has perhaps never been seen before, protecting one another from this terrible unseen enemy which is attacking our community. Deserted streets and roads are not signs of abandonment, but of love.
“We have the greatest admiration for our healthcare workers who are literally serving on the front line in caring for the sick and dying,” the statement read.
“We offer our deepest thanks, commending them for their work, courage and compassion as we continue to remember them in our prayers. We also remember the countless others who are serving the community in ways, which in other circumstances, we would consider everyday — those involved in providing and selling food and essential items, pharmacists, and everyone working with the public for our wellbeing.”
Church leaders said thanks was also due to individuals doing their part by staying home and abiding by the restrictions on normal life.
Promising that better days lie ahead, the statement called the weekly show of appreciation for carers as a “wonderfully uplifting and meaningful act” that was deeply appreciated by those on the front line.
The message concluded with the hope that once the pandemic had passed there would be a “renewed strength of community” and mutual appreciation across the island of Ireland.
“When you go back into your homes each Thursday evening, may we encourage you to join with us in offering a prayer of thanksgiving to God for all those whom we have acknowledged in our round of applause. Please pray that they may know God’s strength and courage, safety, and blessing in their work. Pray too for those for whom they are caring — the sick, vulnerable, dying and all in distress,” it added.