Dear Brother Hibernians,
We are living through a particularly challenging time in our country and our Church as we face the reality of a global pandemic. It can certainly be easy to fall into despair or experience feelings of abandonment as the activities that typically fill our days come to a pause. Cut off from family and friends, the workplace, recreational opportunities and even from gathering as a People of God, we can feel isolated and alone.
However, I would encourage us all to hold onto several truths that will absolutely help us to come through this event stronger than ever.
1) God does not cause pandemics, death was not part of his original plan. However, in our fallen world, when he does allow some evil to befall us, he promises to bring out a greater good for those who are faithful. This is the whole message of the Holy Week into which we are entering. The greatest evil, the Crucifixion of Christ on the Cross, led to the greatest good—our redemption. This is made possible by the fidelity of Our Lord through his passion and death.
2) We’ve been through this before. During the Spanish Flu in 1918 the churches closed, public gatherings were banned, and far more people were dying. Yet, we came through it. As a church we have a 2000 year history of overcoming adversity, and that is a great comfort when we realize that this too shall pass.
3) Christ is present in us even when we are unable to gather for the sacraments. In fact, he dwells in our very souls. When you have that desire to connect with God, simply pray to the God who is present within. He will hear your prayer and will give you peace. Especially in this Holy Week, be sure to spend time with the Lord. Hear his voice as we read about his own passion and death—and how death was overcome. He and his Blessed Mother will guide you from anxiety to serenity of spirit.
As Catholics and as Irishmen, we see the resiliency of those who have gone before. Faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles, our forebears overcame every challenge. They are praying for us even now, as we pray for one another. Know of my steadfast prayers for each of our members and their families.
Sláinte and God bless you all,
Rev. Joseph Farrell
Virginia State Chaplain