Dear Parishioners and Friends,
Well here we are in some of the most unprecedented and disturbing times. CoVid 19 has changed all our lives worldwide whether we actually have the illness or not. As you know, we have had to close the church for public worship. However, on the first day of this closure (St Patrick’s Day), we had over 1000 watch our Masses on Livestream (sldm.org/live). This is amazing and humbling in equal measure. Please pray for us that we be safe and healthy to serve you this way. I’ve just had a thought! Since this prudent and necessary restriction on worship started on St Patrick’s Day, perhaps we could invoke his intercession, “Holy St Patrick, help us drive out this virus as you drove out the snakes from Ireland!”
These measures upset our equilibrium and if prolonged, we could all get a bit stir crazy with the tedium of it. It is a time to get on with all those little odd jobs and projects that have been on the back burner of our mind or a constant reminder out of the corner of our eye. We are doing that in all our departments at the parish. Sometimes time and space is an invitation to do something afresh.
Some people have shared concerns with me that closing the church for gathering to worship was the wrong thing to do, that we should gather all the more to pray fervently to God. This may be the right thing to do in time of war for instance but we are facing an invisible, silent and stealthy opportunistic enemy, the CoVid 19 virus. Gathering is exactly the wrong thing to do. We are commanded to Love God and our neighbor. So, not gathering, is the way we love our neighbor at this time in order to control the spread of infection. It is also a clear indication that we are being good citizens of this great nation by following all the necessary guidelines as best we can.
Also, Catholics are not conspiracy theorists or scape-goaters. This is not the devil’s work, it is a simple but ugly biological reality. The confusion and fear this may create is where he can get in and cause trouble. Let’s be vigilant against his stirring up strife, especially let us not be prejudiced or uncharitable and claim this as God’s retribution for the existence and actions of groups or peoples in society / the world that we don’t like. We are the people of the New Testament and the New Covenant. We are not a people of retribution and revenge but of resurrection and fearless faith.
Above all in this time, pray for each other, keep safe and respect the guidelines from government and church and especially pray that front-line medics, nurses, caregivers and public health professionals at this time
May God bless you, your families, and the week ahead,
Fr Aidan Peter