Following the best guidance of the scientific community and the legitimate restrictions on public life placed by our state governments, our churches are closed and we do not have access to the sacraments at this time.
I am not going to take any unnecessary risks to this mandate by making exceptions. I have to be a good citizen, and I have to follow my conscience and not put anyone in danger.
Today, we are being invited to lean all the more into our faith to draw strength and peace from Christ our Savior. Jesus has never abandoned his Church, and he is not doing so now. God’s grace, certainly present in the sacraments, is not bound by them. God can — and does — come to us by grace when we are unable to receive him sacramentally.
Though for different reasons, this is not new to this area. When Catholicism first came to our diocese, many of our communities would have to wait weeks, if not months, for a priest to come to baptize, witness marriages, hear confessions, and say Mass.
Today, we are waiting for the day when we can return to our parishes and celebrate the sacraments, but we can take comfort in the knowledge that by staying home, we are fulfilling the second great commandment — to love our neighbor — by doing all we can to slow the spread of this disease and protect the most vulnerable among us.
In this Holy Week, we are reminded that every suffering and longing — including our longing for the sacraments — will be followed by the glory of Easter.
Please join me in praying for the Lord’s blessing and a quick end to this disease so that we can return to our churches.