By Sr Bernadette M. Reis, fsp
In a formal proclamation issued on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump declared a National Emergency regarding the Covid-19 coronavirus. That same day, Archbishop José Gomez, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) responded with a reflection and prayer.
President Trump declared in the proclamation that he has taken “sweeping action to control the spread of the virus in the United States.” This includes denying entry to foreigners who may have been exposed to the virus in other parts of the world. He also described “preventive and proactive measures” meant to slow the virus from spreading as well as to treat those who have already contracted it. Health care facilities were also requested to “assess their preparedness” should there be a surge in those needing medical help.
Archbishop José Gomez, in his role as President of the USCCB, published a reflection and prayer. The coronavirus is forcing us to recognize “the fragility of our lives”, the reflection states. It also reminds us of our “common humanity — that the peoples of this world are our brothers and sisters, that we are all one family under God”.
God does not abandon us
The Archbishop went on to mind us that “God does not abandon us”, that He is with us even in this moment of “trial and testing”. He encourages the faithful to “anchor” their hearts in Jesus and to “intensify…prayer and sacrifices”. “Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives”, he writes.
Prayer for the sick
Specifically, he recommends that, in union with the Pope, that the faithful pray for those who are sick and those who have lost loved ones because of the virus. “May God console them and grant them peace”, he prays. Among others in need of prayer, the Archbishop mentions doctors, nurses, caregivers, public health official and civil authorities. “May God grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good” his reflection reads.
Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe
Archbishop Gomez’s reflection concludes with a prayer to the “Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas” invoked as the “health of the sick and cause of our joy”. In it, he asks for Mary to intercede with Jesus “as you did at the wedding at Cana”, so that “we may be spared the worst of this illness”; grace and deliverance for those already afflicted with the virus.