Archbishop Malcolm invites us to pray together with him through these times:
God Our Father,
each person is precious to You.
You are the Giver of life.
Have mercy on us and protect us at this time, as the coronavirus threatens health and life.
You are an ever-present Helper in time of trouble.
Watch over those who are suffering, give strength to those who are aiding the sick and give courage
to all in this time of anxiety.
We ask this of you in the name of your Son.
Palm Sunday gives us that scene of a crowd shouting with joy waving branches at the arrival of the Saviour. It is a painful picture for us to sit with as we enter into this Holy Week. So many things that we see in that scene are not part of our lives at the moment. We cannot gather in a crowd. Quite the opposite, we have to be wary of others, making sure to stay a safe distance. And joy can be a bit swamped by fear, uncertainty and sadness.
This is going to be a very different and very strange Holy Week. Perhaps feeling like one long Good Friday. Never-the-less it is one in which we can still touch or connect with those things that are eternal. The hope and promise of the Saviour does not go away. Through our confinement, in moments of prayer and stillness, amidst the confusion and uncertainty, we let go of it all and trust in the Lord.
As we struggle to adapt to the restrictions of our new reality, we are all searching for ways to connect. I seem to spend most of my days on the phone, on emails or in video conferences. I find it all so much more draining than being in the same room as someone face to face. I get to each evening and I’m falling asleep at around 7pm! (I must be getting old!) In this struggle to connect a number of places have been able to Livestream Mass and other things. This gives the digitally able an opportunity to connect in some way. There’s a great choice out there and there is going to be a lot to learn from the experience that we are living through. You may have already found your digital favourite place to go, but if you haven’t, can I suggest joining the Archbishop in the Cathedral for the Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday/Easter Sunday). In being united with him at this time we are connecting with all the people across the diocese and of course further afield.
I’m going to try to livestream something this week. I’m working on being able to share Stations of the Cross with you on Good Friday morning at 11am. Through a bit of technical wizardry, I’m going to try and do it so that it is not just me talking at a camera but with the participation of a couple of others. So tune in here on Friday morning to see if I get it sorted!! In the meantime, please know that while we are no longer able to be together I am going to be praying with you and for you through this most peculiar of Holy Weeks.
Prayer to the God of Life in a Time of Illness
Almighty Father, look upon us and all of humanity, in this time of illness, as we are affected by this new epidemic of the coronavirus. We confide to you all those who suffer from illness, those who are dying, and the hearts of so many who are stricken with worry and concern for their loved ones, their friends, and for their own wellbeing. Give us the grace of serenity in the face of fear and suffering, so that we can remember you regularly in times of anxiety. You are the God of life and are our hope. Your Son suffered physically and died, and is raised from the dead in the Resurrection. Trusting in you, then, we pray especially for the vulnerable, and those who are ill: protect them and heal them of their illness. We pray also for the dying that their time of passage to you in death may be blessed and that they may find peace with you through union with Jesus Christ.
We pray also for the medical community, that they be supported and strengthened in this time of trial, and service, and that you come to their aid and grant them wisdom and strength. May they learn from this epidemic and grow in knowledge of how to cure and treat disease, for the greater good of all.
May we not suffer from this or other new diseases. Free the hearts of your children from anxiety, so that we can serve you in this life with gratitude for your many great gifts, and entrust ourselves to you serenely for the life to come. We make this humble prayer to your goodness as Father, invoking the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of all our patron saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bishop Hugh Gilbert OSB
Parish of St John Vianney, Penmann Crescent, Halewood, Liverpool, L26 0UG
0151 486 3992
Links You May Find Useful
Click here to visit the website for the Archdiocese of Liverpool: Archdiocese of Liverpool
The site is a great source of information and well worth browsing.
Visit www.synod2020.co.uk for all the latest news.
Click here to visit the website for the Catholic Church in England and Wales: Catholic Church in England and Wales