Sat. Oct 24th, 2020

There are a few days between the time I write an article for “The Catholic Week” and the time when you receive it in the mail. This does not normally cause me concern, but these are not normal times.
The circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are evolving so quickly that it is impossible to know how the situation will change in the next few days. I am certain of this: sadly, in the next few days public Masses will still be suspended.
The announcement suspending public Masses, which I made on March 17, was one of the most painful things I have ever done. Never had it entered into my mind that as archbishop I would one day suspend Masses in our archdiocese. However, once civil authorities made clear the need to avoid crowds, it became apparent that gatherings for Mass were dangerous for the health of our parishioners and our community.
I wish to express my gratitude to you, the people of our Archdiocese, for your understanding and cooperation. There is a sadness in not being able to participate in Mass, receive the Eucharist, share in the life of our parishes. People miss the Eucharist.
What some people may not understand, however, is how much the priests miss the people.
Priests are experiencing a deep sadness in not being able to celebrate Mass with those entrusted to their care. I thank our priests for their dedicated priestly ministry in these most challenging times. Even though they cannot publicly celebrate Mass, they pray for their people, continue to hear confessions, be with the suffering, and visit the sick.
As I celebrate Mass in the chapel of the cathedral rectory, I pray for each of you, clergy, religious and laity. I ask God to protect you and your loved ones from all sickness and evil. I ask God to be near you and to give you the gifts of good health and strong faith. I ask God to drive this virus from us all.
As one commentator stated, the suspension of public Masses is not about the faith, it is about the Faithful. What he meant is that, even though we do not have public Masses, the faith will survive.
We need to focus on the welfare of the Faithful, our neighbors. We need to concentrate on what is best for the Common Good. We Catholics foster the Common Good. We help neighbor.
This is a foundational principle of our moral teachings. While we may long for the Eucharist and be saddened that we are temporarily deprived of this priceless gift from God, it is important that we not look upon on personal loss but upon our duty to protect our loved ones and our neighbors from the spread of this virus, even if that means suspending Masses.
In the meantime, each of us must strive to keep the faith strong in our homes. I share a word especially with fathers and husbands. Please be the spiritual head of our household. Guys, if someone was trying to break into your home, you would not turn to your wife and say: “Honey, go see what’s happening.” No, you would step up to the challenge.
Well, the devil is trying to break into your homes. The devil wants to use this time to distract us from the faith. He wants to bring evil, sin, discord into homes. Please don’t expect your wife to take care of this by herself. Please be the one to call the family together for prayer. Make holy the Lord’s Day by gathering the family together to watch and participate in Mass broadcast electronically and pray the prayer of spiritual Communion. As difficult as these times are, we can grow spiritually. God is powerful enough to bring good out of any evil. We can get through these times even stronger in the faith.
We will, with God’s help, get through these painful times. The day will come when we will once more enjoy being close to friends again, when we will eat in restaurants and toast good health, when we will travel near and far enjoying the trips, when we will go about the normal everyday events of life realizing how blessed we are.
The day will come when we will again share in the Eucharist. What a joyous day that will be! We will ring the church bells in exultation. Until then, may God bless each of you.
Let us keep each other in prayer.

By Editor

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