I am sure that most of us remember this day a year ago when we had our first lockdown and our churches had to be closed. We have been asked the government that today is marked as a National Day of Reflection to mark this anniversary. They suggested a minutes silence at midday and door step vigil of light at 8pm.
The Bishops of England and Wales have written suggesting that this also be a Day of Prayer when we ponder on all that has taken place. In prayer we bring this to our Heavenly Father.
“For all who live by faith in God, reflection and prayer always go hand in hand.
Prayer completes reflection. Reflection informs prayer. Prayer opens our life to its true
horizon. Without prayer we live in a foreshortened world and are more easily swamped
by its clamour and tragedy.”
Our church in Canterbury is open from 10:30am till after 12 noon Mass. We are opening for an extra period this evening from 6pm till 8pm.
Today let us pray for all those who have died because of Covid 19. We ask the Father to welcome them in their heavenly home.
Let us pray for all those who have suffered in this past year, whether through illness, stress, financial disaster or family tension. May they be given resilience courage and the capacity to forgive.
Let us also give thanks for the generosity, inventiveness, set sacrifice and determination shown by so many in this time of great difficulty. We thank God for their gifts and dedication, whether they are scientists, politicians, health workers, public servants of every kind, community leaders or steadfast family members and friends who continue to show such love and compassion.
Christian prayer is, of course, centred on Jesus Christ, the one who is “lifted up” before us “so that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3.13). Let us pray with Jesus, in him and through him, for he is the one who carries us, and our prayers, into the embracing presence of his Father. He is our comfort in sorrow, our strength in the face of need, our rejoicing in the gifts we celebrate and our hope in the face of the weighty darkness of death.
“May Tuesday 23rd March be a great day of prayer that this pandemic comes to an end and that the gift of God’s Holy Spirit will carry us all forward to a new and better life, both here and in the world to come.“
Cardinal Vincent Nichols and Archbishop Malcolm McMahon OP