Statement From Bishop Peter
Regarding the Corona Virus
19th March 2020
19th March 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Not for the first time in the history of the Church, or the history of the Church in our country she finds herself in uncharted waters; experience tells that is not always a bad thing. The storm, or perhaps the doldrums we find ourselves in now is the suspension of Masses and public worship due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.
The greater consequences of the virus are a matter of deep concern for us due to serious illness and the fatalities that we know will ensue here and around the world. We cannot but be anxious for ourselves as well as for our families, friends and others. The practical information, advice and restrictions from our governments, local authorities and the Bishops of England and Wales is readily available and we are all to follow that. Concern for each person and the common good must always be paramount.
As Catholics we feel and experience pain as do all other people, yet our faith helps us to grasp more deeply the mystery of suffering and to bear all that troubles the human spirit with greater courage. From Christ’s words we now that sickness has a meaning and value in the whole of God’s plan of salvation. We also know that Christ, who during his life often was to be found with and among the sick loves us in our illness. Christ also teaches that his disciples and followers who visit the sick are to be concerned for the whole person, offering both physical relief and spiritual comfort.
In a few weeks’ time we will be celebrating the Paschal Mystery – Christ’s triumph through his suffering over death as the Lord of life and the source of everlasting hope. The spread of the Covid-19 virus is a moment for us all to offer special prayers of intercession for the healing of those infected, for the protection of the elderly and infirm who are at greatest risk, for the prevention of the disease’s spread, and for the courage and strength of care providers who minister to the sick, their families and those most in need. Those who are able, without disregarding their own health have the opportunity to serve Christ especially in the vulnerable and those who are fearful by having a watchful eye and a listening ear for those in imposed self-isolation and not allowing that to be also be a sentence of solitary confinement. Though the faithful find themselves deprived of active participation in the Mass, be assured that the Mass and the power of its sacrifice continue to be celebrated in the Diocese for the intentions of all; and we look forward to the day when we are able to gather together again in thanksgiving. Knowing the presence of Christ to be with us the storm will be quelled, the waters calmed and we will come to the place where he desires us to be. (Matthew 8:23-27)
In keeping with Our Lord’s teaching, and as part of the sacred tradition for Lent, it is appropriate whenever possible that our prayer be strengthened by fasting, by other expressions of Christian charity or works of spiritual and corporal mercy.
We entrust the Diocese and especially those affected, as well as their loved ones and their carers, to the powerful and maternal intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, S. David, S. Winefride and the Martyrs of Wales all of whom knew the cost of suffering and pain in their own lives and the lives of those around them.
Please be assured of my continued prayers for you all,
The Rt Rev’d Peter M. Brignall
Bishop of Wrexham