Yes . . . We will gather for worship!
As the world around us continually changes and adapts to COVID-19, I am reminded that it is a good time to be the church in the world. If there is ever a time that we need to be gathered as the body of Christ, it is now. In the midst of fear, anxiety, and concern of the unknown, we live in faith finding strength together in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. St. Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, “Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (4:6) Our request . . . that all things be entrusted to God’s continual care including the health and well being of each and every one of us.
As we consider the health and well being of all those around us, and our call to gather as a people of faith please know that we have taken several steps to insure your safety and well being while we gather to worship. These measures include:
- The Worship Space has been thoroughly disinfected and will be repeatedly cleaned each week.
- Designated seating areas have been created to maintain the suggested six foot radius between families.
- The Sharing of the Peace will not be exchanged publicly among those in attendance.
- Offering Plates will be located at the entrance to the Nave to receive your gifts.
- The Distribution of Communion will be modified to minimize significant hand to hand contact, and hand sanitizer is available before receiving the bread and wine.
- There will be no fellowship hour following worship.
Together, we have been working hard to create a safe and inviting environment to gather for worship. However, if you are uncomfortable attending, or if you feel ill in any way, shape, or form, please say home! Fortunately, our worship service is broadcast live on 93.3 FM where you can listen in and offer your thanks and praise to God from the comforts of home. God’s blessing as we gather for worship, and stay safe, healthy, and well!
A prayer for healing:
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care. Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another. Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.
Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us. Amen
Written by Kerry Weber
America Magazine: The Jesuit Review (March 2, 2020)