Responding to the Corona Virus Pandemic
During this time of uncertainty, let us not turn against one another, but in the spirit of love that we demonstrated so well to the Bushfire crisis, looking after one another, reaching out in charity, mercy, hope and compassion instead of running in fear, grasping in anxiety, hiding in suspicion, consuming out of self-interest and feeding into hyped emotions and worries. Jesus Christ calls us out of ourselves, out of our self-interests, worries and greed to be Christ to one another, the source of love(charity); "truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." Matthew 25:40
Already we have seen the light in the darkness with leadership in Woolworths delivering free toilet rolls to the elderly via Meals on Wheels and opening up their store an hour early exclusively for them, looking after the most vunerable.
Pope Francis' Response
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis invites us to unite ourselves as one body in Christ in the spiritual communion of the Eucharist, as governments across the world encourage citizens to stay at home to fight the spread of the Corona virus - “In this situation of pandemic, in which we find ourselves living more or less isolated, we are invited to rediscover and deepen the value of the communion that unites all the members of the Church.”
Though mass is still available, it is less accessible with the closing of churches such as St Francis in the city with our government asking gatherings of up to 500 people to cease as a preventative measure.
Luckily, we are a small congregation! Though social activities have been cancelled, our usual Saturday and Sundays masses will continue until any further updates.
St Marys West Melbourne in the city have opened its doors more regularly, holding further weekday masses so that communion, adoration and confession is still accessible but with more frequent times allowing smaller portions of congregations to come at various times.
We must remember amongst all this uncertainty that one thing can be certain - Christ is still alive!!
Mass at Home For those wanting to watch mass online, you can access it here: http://www.catholictv.org/masses/catholictv-mass (this page includes links to live mass, readings and prayers)
Pope Francis' daily mass is available here: www.vaticannews.va
Spiritual Communion Prayer My Jesus, I believe that You are in the Blessed Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I long for You in my soul. Since I cannot now receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. As though You have already come, I embrace You and unite myself entirely to You; never permit me to be separated from You.
Young Adults Six30 Holy Hour at St Patrick's Cathedral is still being run by young adult volunteers with Preists availble for confession. Furthermore, our monthly meetings will still go ahead as planned.
"Faced with the difficulties that, in greater or lesser degree, can arise in these moments with the growing pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, let us renew our confidence in Our Lord and resolve to confront this situation “with the strength of faith, the certitude of hope and the fervor of charity” (Francis, March 8, 2020). The situation varies in the different regions of the world, but the Communion of Saints leads us to make our own what affects the others, because “if one member suffers, all suffer with him” (1 Cor 12:26). In the face of any emergency, we unite ourselves in prayer to those who are going through critical moments, as now is the case with those gravely ill with the coronavirus, the people who have been forced to migrate to survive (the Syrian exodus during these days), families who have experienced a tragedy, etc.
COVID-19 has in some places produced an emergency situation that has altered the normal course of life and affected people’s spirits. It is good to recall that God gives us his grace also to sanctify these circumstances of uncertainty. Let us help one another to confront these rapidly changing situations, knowing that when we are obliged to reduce our external work we find an opportunity to “grow on the inside.”
In responding to the spreading pandemic, the civil authorities in each country are providing some norms for prevention and control. Faced with the effort and inconvenience that following these may entail, it is good to keep in mind Saint Josemaria’s advice: “Love and respect the norms of behavior required for living in harmony. Have no doubt, either, that your loyal submission to duty can be the means for others to discover Christian integrity, which is the fruit of divine love, and to find God” (Furrow 322). For the good of the faithful, and of society in general, the ecclesiastical authorities too are giving or could give indications regarding the celebration of the Sacraments and pastoral care. We will receive these with gratitude and trust in our mother the Church. In this regard too, it is good to be very prudent and to suspend, when necessary, the planned activities of formation, without taking unnecessary risks." - Monsignor Fernando Ocáriz
As part of our faith, the response to God's invitation to us, we place our trust and hope in Him. To doubt His fatherly care for us is a lack of faith. Jesus Christ has won for us already, “For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like His.” Romans 6:5. Let us respond to this crisis as Christians. In charity for our brothers and sisters and hope in the promises of Jesus Christ. "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21.
For now, let us think of creative ways in continuing our apostolic mission, such as the Church has shown via the internet. Let us also be aware of the dangers of the internet, if social media or constantly watching the news is over-hyping your fears and feeding false information or unneccessary negativity, then perhaps you should take time away from such noise and centre yourself with Christ again, asking for the virtues of patience, wisdom, charity, kindness and self-control.
Fr John in his homily on Sunday encouraged us with the words of a wise Rabbi, that "every hand that we don't shake must become a phone call tha we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help that other, should the need arise".
May the mercy and love of God shine through us all to be "sowers of peace and joy" for all.
Holy Mary, Mother of God. Pray for us.