Last week I was traveling in California meeting with several CRL members throughout the San Joaquin Valley. I also visited with Bishops of the Dioceses of Fresno and Stockton. With each passing day during my visit, new cases of the coronavirus were being reported around the country, including central California. Both urban and rural areas are being impacted by the spread of the virus. During my visits with the Bishops, I could see the weight of concern on their faces for all of their parishioners in their respective dioceses, especially the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
On my return home to Minnesota, I was struck by the domino effect of this virus. The airports were less than half full, the taxi cab driver who gave me a ride home told me I was his first customer-he had been waiting seven hours. He was concerned about his future and how he could pay his bills. Soon after I arrived home, the governor of our state announced an emergency order closing bars, restaurants, museums, libraries and other public places to help reduce the spread of the virus. Many full-time and part-time workers are impacted by the closings and these precautions are taking place all over our country.
Both our government leaders and our spiritual leaders need our prayers for wisdom and prudence during this time. This is not the first time our country has faced a severe crisis, think back to the 2008 economic crisis; but this crisis is different in that the enemy is invisible to the naked eye, a very contagious virus that can be deadly. We can all do our part to help reduce the spread of the virus by prayer and support to those around us, including monitoring what the CDC and your local health departments are recommending in terms of prevention and staying home.
Please pray for all those who are impacted by the coronavirus, especially those who are ill, those who have lost their jobs, and for all the healthcare providers serving those who are sick, and everyone who is on the frontlines of this pandemic. Below we are sharing a prayer by Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, for all Catholics to pray together during this time.
Click here to read Archbishop Gomez’s full statement.
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus.
– Jim Ennis is the Executive Director of Catholic Rural Life.