An ancient religious blessing of protection recorded by 300 Christian groups to protect frontline workers battling Covid-19 has been launched on social media.
The Irish Blessing – an initiative involving religious congregations from different denominations on the island of Ireland – is a recorded version of 'Be Thou My Vision'.
It is a collaborative effort between various Christian communities.
The ancient prayer of protection can be traced back to Christian Ireland over 1,000 years ago.
It is being shared on social media and on YouTube by the organisers.
The Irish Blessing initiative is part of an international Christian movement where churches come together to bless frontline workers dealing with the coronavirus.
It began in the United States a number of weeks ago.
For the Irish version of the project recordings of ‘Be Thou My Vision’ from congregations all over the country were edited together in to one six-minute video.
Organiser Philip McKinley, a Dublin-based Church of Ireland Ordinand, said the hymn and the production of the YouTube video from the contributions of the 300 congregations illustrates the rich tapestry of Christianity in Ireland.
The recordings include versions of ‘Be Thou My Vision’ from the monks of Glenstal Abbey and the Solid Rock Pentecostal Church in Dublin 8.
"It captures this snapshot of Irish Christianity in 2020. That ranges from orthodox churches to catholic churches to independent evangelical, charismatic, pentecostal churches, a lot of new migrant led churches. We have captured an enormous range," said Ordinand McKinley.
"We have taken what is a prayer of protection - the very famous hymn: 'Be Thou My Vision' and, we have got 300 churches together - from the north, south, east and west - representing every county on the island - and we have sung together collectively this ancient 1000-year-old hymn and prayer of protection for Ireland at this time," said Ordinand McKinley.
Another organiser Fr Martin Magill, the parish priest of St John the Evangelist Parish in Belfast said the project is timely.
"The words of the hymn ‘Be Thou My Vision’ can be traced back to a tradition of a prayer for protection known as ‘lorica’ (Latin for armour or breastplate.) Praying for protection and blessing is particularly apt during these times," said Fr Magill.
Rev Rob Jones - the Church of Ireland rector at the Holy Trinity in Rathmines in Dublin - said his church community is happy with the opportunity to thank frontline workers for what they do.
"Being a part of something with all those people across the island that brings unity and is really important. Also, having the opportunity to say thank you to frontline workers and having the opportunity to pray a blessing of thankfulness over all those diverse people who have done so much in this pandemic is very important to me as a church leader," said Rev Jones.
Organisers hope the initiative can raise money for local and national frontline charities.