With You in this Time
Words fail us at this unprecedented moment in our lives.
We find ourselves encouraged to stay at home, to distance ourselves from others and to go without even the most precious of gifts; the public practice of our faith and celebration of Mass.
In this time of uncertainty and perhaps for you of loneliness and of fear, we wanted to write to you to assure you that we are with you in spirit. We are praying for each and every one of you, for your families and for your friends.
The Church that we belong too, is by its very nature, universal, that in fact is what that word Catholic means; universal. And in moments like this, that universality comes to the fore. We realise that we are united, all over the world and not just at a local level, with our brothers and sisters in faith, in a bond that extends far beyond physically being present to one another.
We are together in prayer, united in faith, bound together in Jesus.
As Sisters, at the service of the missionary Church, we have been receiving messages of support and solidarity from all over the world. Very often these messages are coming from communities that have suffered great natural disasters in the past and who have been swept up in the ensuing spread of illness, infection, poverty and political instability. At this time their thoughts and prayers go to us, as once ours went to them even if they themselves are affected by the Coronavirus.
This, for us, is one of the most beautiful elements of belonging to the family of faith that is the Church.
Fr. Alexander Kakolo Beya from Haiti, wrote urging us to have “much courage in the Lord!” and assuring us that he is praying for us and our benefactors; you, at this time.
The children in Khammam, India who are part of our distance adoption programme, sent their messages of solidarity and affection (as you can see from the photographs). The same too is said of the children in Cape Verde who are praying for and thinking of you.
The Rosarian Missionaries in Sri Lanka, assure us that they remember us especially in the celebration of daily Mass. “I want to assure you that you are in our prayers. Even though the diocese has suspended public masses, we are able to celebrate Mass every day in our monastery. We continue to intercede, praying that things will soon return to normal.United in prayers” (Fr. Francis Jeyaseelan CR).
Sr. Annie, from the Auxilium Outreach project in Guwahati, India, and her community have a candle lit day and night in their chapel and are continuously praying especially for all of you, and everyone across the world suffering from Covid19. “This is the best thing we can do for you right now” she says. “In India the situation is bad as well. We don't know where we are heading too, especially because of our inadequate health system. But we trust in the loving mercy of God and this gives us hope and confidence. We know that nothing will happen to us without His knowledge. In life and in death, we belong to Him…”
Bishop Seyoum Fransua, from Ethiopia, is praying that our world community may join together in this time. “As we all understand, these days the spread of COVID-19 is challenging the whole world . Let us pray and hope together that the people around the world will master these challenges together. Assuring you of my prayers and asking for yours.”
From Uganda, Sr. Paula, from Bruno Vocational School writes: “All vocational schools, institutions, colleges, nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools and universities, orphanage schools and seminaries are all closed. People here in Uganda are taking advantage of the Coronavirus and trying to make a profit. Everything has become very expensive. Food and basic necessities have all gone up in price. Something that would have cost £10 a few weeks ago now costs £70. This is making life impossible for those who are poor and vulnerable. We are trusting in the mercy of God and praying very much also for you.”
As Sisters, we are blessed and privileged to have the Blessed Sacrament under our roof and so each day, as we come before the Lord in prolonged adoration and supplication, we carry you in our hearts. We know that this time of separation, from the people you love, and indeed too from the celebration of the Sacraments, from Mass and from quiet moments of personal prayer in our Churches, is a time of great suffering for you, as it is also for us.
We take comfort in knowing that the Lord Himself longs to draw us unto Him. We read in the Gospels that Jesus wept over Jerusalem and told us how much he longed to gather us under His wings, like a hen gathers her chicks. (Mt 23:37)
In the Gospel story, Jesus is just a few short days from His Passion and He stops to look over Jerusalem with love. He looks over our world of today with the same love. He looks with love at each one of us individually and wants to gather us closer to Him. As close as a hen gathering her baby chicks under her wing.
We urge you then, in this holy season and in this difficult period, to take time in prayer to allow Jesus to gather you under His protective wings. Turn to Him in moments of silent prayer and trust, for yourself, for those you hold dear and for our world that is suffering! And we invite you to do so, knowing that He wants what is best for you and for us, so much so that the very hairs on our heads are counted. As Jesus Himself said:
“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Luke 12:6-7).
We assure you of our closeness in this time.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can do something for you, even if you just want to call our Sisters for a chat (on one of the numbers below) or ask for prayers, as you self-isolate.
We remain yours in Christ,
Sisters of St. Peter Claver