My Dear Parishioners,
As of the publishing of this column, I am scheduled to participate in an upcoming “webinar” sponsored by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia about assisting parishes in learning how to respond to the needs of the faithful during the time of this coronavirus. In a letter to priests, we were told that the period immediately following the lifting of the COVID19 restrictions requires us to be ready to assist people to reintegrate into an active, in person engagement with parish life. We will learn about the Archdiocesan plan for this period. The goal is that each parish will then make choices about what is best for them. Hopefully I will be able to share some insights and ideas in next week’s column.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is joining other dioceses in especially recognizing pregnant and parenting moms in need of help and support who attend Mass in our parishes and live in our neighborhoods. The good news is that help and support is often readily available from many compassionate and dedicated people and organizations. The 25th anniversary of Evangelium Vitae gives us a wonderful opportunity to assess, expand these resources and to communicate these resources to those in desperate need of them. To this end, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has initiated a nationwide effort called Walking with Moms in Need: A Year of Service, taking place from March 25, 2020 through March 25, 2021. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, through the Office for Life and Family and Catholic Social Services, has enthusiastically joined this effort. For more information, please visit http://phillycatholiclife.org/walking-with-moms-in-need/.
If any parishioner is interested in becoming a parish leader for this effort to act as the main point person and coordinator of this Year of Service, please contact me.
The US Bishops have published the following prayer to assist the faithful during the crisis.
Covid-19: A Prayer of Solidarity
For all who have contracted coronavirus, We pray for care and healing.
For those who are particularly vulnerable, We pray for safety and protection.
For all who experience fear or anxiety, We pray for peace of mind and spirit.
For affected families who are facing difficult decisions between food on the table or public safety, We pray for policies that recognize their plight.
For those who do not have adequate health insurance, We pray that no family will face financial burdens alone.
For those who are afraid to access care due to immigration status, We pray for recognition of the God-given dignity of all.
For our brothers and sisters around the world, We pray for shared solidarity.
For public officials and decisionmakers, We pray for wisdom and guidance.
Father, during this time may your Church be a sign of hope, comfort and love to all.
Grant peace. Grant comfort. Grant healing. Be with us, Lord.
God Bless You,