By Lydia O’Kane
Preaching his homily during the first of a series of Masses for the sick on Thursday, the feast of St George, the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols thanked frontline healthcare workers for “their courage and generosity of heart which sustains their efforts. We salute their great commitment to their patients whom they serve so unselfishly.”
The Cardinal noted that “frontline workers, among the sick stand in a great and noble tradition. That tradition bears the hallmark of the Christian faith”, he said.
Applause and prayers
Since a lockdown came into effect in the UK to halt the spread of the coronavirus, people have been going to their front doors at 8pm on a Thursday evening to give a round of applause for those who care for the sick and the dying.
Cardinal Nichols said, “to this public applause we wish to add public prayer”. “We pray for all those who day by day come face to face with this virus, in our hospitals, in care homes, in house visits; in research laboratories and surgeries.”
The Cardinal also invited prayers “for those whose families include people with special and demanding needs, that within the confines of their homes this same courageous and generous spirit will be strengthened and sustained. We pray for those who are suffering with the effects of this dreadful virus, for those who have died and for their grieving families and friends.”
Courage and commitment
Underlining the commitment of those on the frontline, the Archbishop of Westminster said that they see at first hand “how devastating this virus is to human health and life. They see it every day. And every day they return to the front line.”
Noting the deprivations being placed on people at this difficult time, including not being able, as yet, to return to churches and sacraments, the Cardinal said, “we should be wary of any sense of self-pity as we play our part in these life-saving disciplines.
Quiet heroes amid epic struggle
As the world faces the challenges posed by the Covid-19 virus, Cardinal Nichols reminded the faithful that , “in all of this we are comforted by the unwavering presence of our Blessed Lord…Our prayer must be steadfast, for there is no doubt that the power of God is both needed and moving in this epic struggle.” “We renew that prayer for God’s strength and inspiration for these quiet heroes of today…”