Three Easter Letters
At their recent Plenary, the Bishops of Australia had a full agenda which included the writing of three Easter letters.
First, there is the request that all Australian Catholics on May 24/25 entrust Australia during this COVID-19 pandemic to the Immaculate Heart of Mary under the title of Mary Help of Christians, the patron of our country. I therefore request all of us, in parishes, schools and families, to pray fervently this prayer of entrustment over those days. Thank you.
O Immaculate Mary, Help of Christians, Queen of Heaven and Earth, and tender Mother of humanity, at this time when a pandemic threatens all your children we entrust to you our nation, Australia, and all who live in this country. We commit to your intercession all the members of our community, beginning with the weakest ones, from the unborn to the sick, the disabled and the elderly. We commit to you our families, our young and old, and all who are vulnerable, those who are quarantined or anxious. We entrust to your Immaculate Heart those who have lost their livelihood or employment, our pastors and other essential service workers and our leaders at this time. We implore your intercession especially for the protection of doctors and nurses and those who minister to the contagious sick in this crisis.
Reign over us, Mother of God, and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign triumph in us and around us, as it has reigned and triumphed in you! St Joseph, Pray for us.
Secondly, I recently sent to the clergy of our diocese a letter from all the bishops to the priests of Australia. This commemorates the bicentenary of the arrival of the first official chaplains to Australia who lived here and meant our sacraments could finally be freely celebrated.
Thirdly, there is another letter of encouragement to all Australian Catholics during this pandemic. With churches only now slowly opening up, we want you to feel our closeness and thanks for your patience. ‘Meeting’ online is a good ‘Plan B’ but no substitute for face-to-face encounters at Mass and other gatherings. Please God, this will return sooner rather than later. I will wait until next week before I send this to you all. I want our greetings to coincide with the great solemnity of Pentecost.
These are simple but sincere gestures by all the bishops to reach out to you in these days of stress yet hope. I do trust you feel our closeness in Christ to you all.
Thanks to all our bishops for the letters and the commitment they represent. I feel sure that each person has learnt/experienced new things during this strange interlude. It has been a special grace to be able through technology to experience/ feel connected to mass through various parishes and numerous individual celebrants. There have obviously also been real challenges for each person as we live the isolation, whether as a retired couple(us) or families or singles….or even communities, as I expect even they felt the changes to ‘normal’ life. I personally miss time to myself- couples need time for separate activities- and the refreshment of social interaction-REAL contact! I have felt for our priests, wondering how each on has weathered this storm. For that reason I was happy to read some weeks ago comments/reflections from a few ACT priests on their Corona experience. It helps to hear a variety of comments and to know others have similar feelings. We know that priest are people too! Thanks.
God bless you all with deep and lasting peace.