- Written by Patricia Loughran
It feels very strange to be writing a homily which will never be heard by anyone. ‘Unprecedented’ is the word these days to describe the situation we are currently living through. People in previous centuries, of course, lived through much more serious times than the we are doing, but we all have to live through our own times, and these are ours.
And so the big question is what do we make of them? The spirituality of Ignatius Loyola is summed up in the phrase Finding God in All Things. So, if this is right, where is God in the current crisis? There will be those who will do what they always do and see this virus as some kind of punishment from God. Have nothing to do with this kind of rubbish. It’s utter nonsense. God is not like that and never has been. You could say that mother-nature is somehow fighting back, urging us to look again at what we are doing to ourselves and the environment. The virus started, after all, through a lack of proper care in the way we treat animals. And so, as so often happens, we are the cause of our own misfortune. But mother-nature herself is only a metaphor, not God.
- Written by Richard Rohr
Love Alone Overcomes Fear
Thursday, March 19, 2020
It is shocking to think how much the world has changed in such a brief time. Each of us has had our lives and communities disrupted. Of course, I am here in this with you. I feel that I’m in no position to tell you how to feel or how to think, but there are a few things that come to mind I will share.
- Written by Alex Walker
Letter on public acts of worship in Catholic Churches in England and Wales in light of COVID19
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, so many aspects of our lives must change. This includes the ways in which we publicly express our faith. It is very clear that, following official advice and in order to keep each other safe, save lives and support the NHS, at this time we must not gather for public acts of worship in our churches. This will begin from Friday evening, 20th March 2020, until further notice. Our churches will remain open. They are not closing. They will be a focal point of prayer, where you will find solace and strength. In visiting our churches at this time, we will observe with great care the practices of hygiene and the guidance on social distancing. However, the celebration of Mass, Sunday by Sunday and day by day, will take place without a public congregation. Knowing that the Mass is being celebrated; joining in spiritually in that celebration; watching the live-streaming of the Mass; following its prayers at home; making an act of spiritual communion: this is how we share in the Sacrifice of Christ in these days. These are the ways in which we will sanctify Sunday, and indeed every day. We want everyone to understand that in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. This is, without doubt, the teaching of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181). This pandemic is the 'serious reason' why this obligation does not apply at this time. You will find more details about the pathway of prayer and sacramental life we are now to take in the accompanying document and on the Bishops’ Conference website (www.cbcew.org.uk). Your own bishop and parish priest will provide further support, encouragement and information about our way of prayer together in the coming weeks. The second vital aspect of these challenging times is our care for each other. There are so many ways in which we are to do this: being attentive to the needs of our neighbour, especially the elderly and vulnerable; contributing to our local food banks; volunteering for charitable initiatives and organisations; simply keeping in touch by all the means open to us. During these disturbing and threatening times, the rhythm of the prayer of the Church will continue. Please play your part in it. The effort of daily kindness and mutual support for all will continue and increase. Please play your part in this too. For your commitment to this, we thank you. "The Lord is my shepherd, There is nothing I shall want." May God bless us all.
Vincent Cardinal Nichols President, Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP Vice-President
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