March 27, 2020

A faith-filled response to the coronavirus 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Archbishop Charles C. ThompsonI’m sure you agree with me that this is a time unlike any other. A worldwide health crisis has forced us to do things—and not do things—that before now were unheard of. Just a month ago, most of us would never have imagined that no public celebrations of Mass would be allowed, that schools would be closed, or that all sports activities and entertainment programs would be canceled.  

This is a Lent unlike any other in our Church’s 2,000-year history. It’s a true desert experience where prayer, fasting and the sharing of all God’s gifts take on a new, and very powerful, meaning for us all. 

The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus has reminded us that we are utterly dependent on the grace of God for everything that is important to us. It has also shown us that we truly are sisters and brothers, one family under God, who need to work together to survive—and flourish—as individuals, families and communities. 

As difficult as it is not to celebrate Mass in our churches, we all remain spiritually united. For centuries when the faithful have been unable to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist, they have been encouraged to make an act of Spiritual Communion. We continue to draw strength from Word and Sacrament as a true source of grace in communion with our Lord. 

Lent is a time of preparation for the joy of Easter. We don’t know how long Lent will last this year. The emergency measures imposed on us to prevent, or at least slow, the spread of this deadly virus may well extend into the Easter season. But our faith assures us that our God is with us and that once this long Lent is over, we will once again know the joy of Christ’s resurrection.  

Let’s make this Lenten penance productive. Let’s use this time to grow in prayer—especially for all victims of the coronavirus and their caregivers, for all who are out of work because of travel restrictions and business closings, and for all those who are “at risk” and are experiencing deep-seated fear and anxiety.    

Let’s practice self-denial in a spirit of Christian charity as we give up our normal routines and accept temporary shortages of food and supplies. And let’s share generously with others from the store of spiritual and material gifts we have received from our good and gracious God. 

Finally, let’s turn to our Blessed Mother Mary, who intercedes for us, her children, and who never fails to provide comfort and assistance when we are in trouble. In the words of Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in his prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe: 

Pray for us, loving Mother 
And gain for our nation and world, 
And for all our families and loved ones, 
The protection of your holy angels, 
That we may be spared the worst of the illness.

May God bless you and keep you safe during this challenging time. May Christ be with us now as we place all our trust in Him. Thank you.

-Archbishop Charles C. Thompson

Local site Links: