March 23, 2020
Dear Parishioners and Friends:
As we are witnessing the temporary slowdown (and even shutdown) of various aspects of our globe, country, state and lives, Pope Francis and our own local shepherd, Bishop Brennan, remind us to unite our minds and hearts in prayer. As such, I would like to offer a few ideas for our prayer during this fourth week of Lent. As well, this week we celebrate the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on 25 March which marks nine months from the celebration of His birth at Christmas. The great Mystery of the Lord’s Incarnation offers us a rich opportunity to reflect on the dignity of our humanity as we call to mind that Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father, shared our condition in assuming the frailty of our flesh, being born of the Virgin Mary as we say in our Creed. We profess that Jesus Christ was 100% God and, at the same time 100% man (human), like us in all ways but sin.
As the global pandemic weighs heavily upon us, let’s take comfort in knowing the Lord feels the panic, uncertainty and suffering that are so much a part of our human condition at this time because He chose to share our human nature and was born of the Virgin. We know, too, He is God and so we turn to Him in loving confidence as individuals, a parish family, a nation and a worldwide community, and pray this viral scourge to be defeated! Our faith reminds us that the Lord works through and in each of us and so, this week, I want to focus on those on the frontline of the battle: our healthcare workers. Be they scientists, doctors, nurses, researchers, pharmacologists, hospital administrators, support staff and team members, let’s pray for all of them! While I think it’s a great idea to acknowledge and thank those among us, even here in our parish and community of Morgantown, who work in the medical field, let’s be mindful of all medical personnel across our country and around the globe. May God protect them in their courageous fight against this viral threat to so many! They are working tirelessly in promoting the health and welfare of all of us.
May I ask that you join me in praying one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be each day this week for all healthcare workers? I invite you to not only pray for healthcare workers but to heed their message of self-isolation, social distancing and other best practices promoted by the CDC. All of us can and should be doing our part to squash community spread here in Morgantown. These are times to be heroic and selfless by looking out for others, especially the most vulnerable around us. I am hearing of lots of ordinary people throughout the US who are stepping up to join the fight against Coronavirus and making masks and other protective attire needed by those in the healthcare industry at this crisis moment. I am not sure if our local hospitals and medical personnel have sufficient supplies but perhaps someone among our numbers can make suggestions for us to help. The private business sector of our country is doing its part by “switching gears” from ordinary operations to manufacturing those things that can aid our healthcare workers. Offers are being made to assist with making hand sanitizers, ventilators and other such needed equipment. I am so inspired by their generosity, ingenuity and responsible collaboration in our hour of need! Let’s pray for them too and thank God for their abilities and willingness to partner with the healthcare industry of our country.
Interestingly enough, this subject matter of healthcare workers came to me on Saturday as we were preparing for Laetare/Rose Sunday marked by the color rose. The Rose Mass, a special celebration on many diocesan calendars, is a Mass asking for God’s blessings upon the gifts and talents of all those in the field of the healthcare industry. As I understand it, the origin of the Rose Mass dates back to Laetare Sunday/ Rose Sunday (the Fourth Sunday of Lent) in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. The liturgical color rose signifies joy but the Rose Mass, for all healthcare workers, signifies life as well. What an appropriate time for us as a parish family to unite our voices in prayer and ask God’s abundant blessings and protection for all those who are fighting for our lives during this global pandemic!
I have one other housekeeping detail to share with all of you today. So many in our parish have volunteered to assist with feeding those in our community who may be without food due to the sudden economic downturn and loss of employment. To date, I am not aware of any particular need of an individual or family of our parishioners at this time, but I thanked them for their kind offer to help. If any of you are in need of food, please let us know by contacting Sharon in the Office. Please note her hours are varied and reduced so if you call (the Parish Office at 304-296-5353), I would ask that you leave us a detailed message. You may email the parish office at email@example.com or me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will see to it the food request is delivered to our parish groups and individuals who have volunteered to help.
May God keep us safe and bless those on the frontlines who labor in love promoting the welfare of human life in the face of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. Stay well, stay in and stay firm in faith and in doing good works.
Yours in Christ,