During the last couple days, the news has been buzzing with new guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) about recommended policies for avoiding the spread of the coronavirus. It’s exciting for all of us to hear that some of the restrictions are loosening, and in the coming weeks might vanish altogether. For now, we need to remain attentive to the policies which have been in place. Our diocesan COVID-19 Working Group, which has been carefully monitoring the local public health situation for over a year, is carefully studying new recommendations and waiting for further guidance from the governor’s office. They have promised to provide updates before the end of the month, and I’ll be eager to share them with you.
As we see the threat of infection with COVID-19 waning in our local communities, we know that many places in the world are not so fortunate. I’ve been in touch recently with my STL classmate, Fr. Kiran Medipalli, who serves as Director of the Social Service Society in the Catholic Diocese of Khammam, India. In a brief but poignant message, he told me, “The virus is very aggressive, so many people, priests and nuns are dying. Pray for us.” I’m sending him a donation to support the charitable work of the Social Service Society in combating this disease. If you’d like to contribute also, please contact Mary Foley in the parish office.
We owe a debt of gratitude to doctors, nurses, paramedics, and all those who, in any capacity, have helped to reduce the number of infections in our local neighborhoods. Above all, I give credit to our Blessed Mother. Since last March, when we entered a time of strict quarantine, we’ve been praying to her specifically at nearly every Mass, at the conclusion of the Prayers of the Faithful. We’ve begged and pleaded that she would intercede to bring an end to this time of widespread suffering. I am completely confident that our prayers have been answered!
Therefore, with grateful hearts, we’ll begin phasing out the use of this prayer at our Masses here at Sacred Heart. Recognizing that a global pandemic is underway, I encourage you to continue to use it personally. You can find the text below.
So, instead of concluding our Prayers of the Faithful with this prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe, we’ll invoke the Holy Spirit. As we recover from the devastation caused by this pandemic, we know that the faith experience of many has been challenged. Many have drifted away from active worship at a time when we desperately need God’s guidance and nourishment. Bishop Knestout has asked us, across the diocese, to offer this prayer which calls on the Holy Spirit to renew our eagerness to meet Him in His sacraments. The text of this prayer is included below, too.
Let’s continue to pray for one another, for our parish, and for our world.