WelCom April 2020:
New Zealand entered Alert Level 4 for Covid-19 on Thursday, 26 March 2020, in an effort to stop the spread of the virus. Cardinal John has been issuing regular updates to Wellington and Palmerston North dioceses about related Government instructions, church announcements, and Sacramental and pastoral restrictions. All Masses, liturgies and church gatherings have been suspended until further notice, churches are closed as public spaces, schools have closed down, everyone is required to remain at home, and we are all asked to ‘do our bit’ to adhere to the ‘no contact’ restrictions in place, to help stop the virus spreading.
In his letter to parishes and communities on the first day of the lockdown Cardinal John shares thoughts from Scripture and invites us to join him in daily prayer from our homes.
We are already filled with the Holy Spirit and we have the chance to show unusual kindness.
The Cardinal stresses that we are all facing an unprecedented situation. ‘In my lifetime I have never experienced anything like what New Zealand and the rest of the world are currently dealing with. I don’t think even a week ago any of us would have imagined we would be at Alert Level 4 for the Covid-19 virus. Alert Level 4 is serious, we are all called to do our bit to stay safe and to protect others.’
The Cardinal is urging Catholics to join him in prayer twice a day at mid-morning, 10.30am, and mid-afternoon, 3pm, while they are in lockdown at home.
‘I am not asking for any special prayer, but I will be pausing at those times to respond to the invitation of Jesus to “remain in my love”. This can be an act of solidarity for all of us as we reflect on the unbelievable fact that we are already filled with the Holy Spirit and we have the chance to show “unusual kindness”.’
Cardinal John acknowledged many people would be sad they cannot participate in Mass. However, he suggested, ‘this could be a time in our homes to reflect more deeply on the Sunday Scriptures, and the Gospel in particular, and perhaps to devise Liturgies for the household.
‘The Church has a great treasure in Lectio Divina – why no look up a website and learn to use this treasure to get closer to God and to one another?
‘I assure you all that you are in my prayers and thoughts during these days.’
Cardinal John’s letter is online at: www.wn.catholic.org.nz/adw_community/unusual-kindness/
To the pandemic caused by the virus, we want to respond with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness.Pope Francis
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