Cardinal Burke thanks God for COVID-19 recovery during first public Mass

Cardinal Raymond Burke Mass Cardinal Raymond Burke celebrates his first public Mass Dec. 11 since his hospitalization with COVID-19. | Screenshot.

Cardinal Raymond Burke thanked God and Our Lady of Guadalupe for his recovery from COVID-19 during his first public Mass since his hospitalization with the virus.

“My heart is filled with deepest gratitude to almighty God who from August 10th last has brought me through a great suffering, which seemingly would've ended in death,” the cardinal said during the Dec. 11 Mass.

“I also thank Our Lady of Guadalupe, the virgin mother of God, and St. Joseph, her true and most chaste spouse, and the company of saints who interceded so powerfully for me during my time of trial.”

The 73-year-old cardinal was hospitalized with COVID-19 in August and was placed on a ventilator.

“When I regained consciousness after spending nine critical days on a ventilator, I was filled with the knowledge that Our Lady of Guadalupe had been constantly holding me in her arms and keeping me, one in heart, with the glorious pierced heart of her divine Son, the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.”

The cardinal also expressed his gratitude for the rector and staff at St. Mary’s Oratory-Wausau, where he spent three months in rehabilitation following his hospitalization.

“May God abundantly reward all who have assisted me, and continue to assist me, so that I may fully return to the active service of our Lord and of his mystical body, the Church,” the cardinal said.

Burke celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wisconsin. In a message ahead of the Mass, the cardinal said his health has improved, but the Mass would not signal a return to his usual pastoral activities and his rehabilitation will continue for the foreseeable future.

But he did speak briefly in his Dec. 11 homily about a renewed vigor to serve the Church through the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“I want to help pilgrims to the shrine to have the fullest encounter possible with our Lord— an encounter which will sustain them as they return to their homes, work and other activities,” Burke said. “In a special way, I will dedicate myself to the realization of the retreat house to be built alongside the church, so that pilgrims may regularly spend several days with our Lord here, especially at the most important or critical times in their lives.”

“Clearly, if our Lord has kept me in life, he desires me to be ever more faithful, generous, and pure in working with him for the salvation of souls,” the cardinal said.

Following the Mass, Burke reportedly went to the crypt of the shrine to greet Catholics who attended the Mass.

Burke is prefect emeritus of the Apostolic Signatura and archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He previously led the Diocese of La Crosse, his hometown diocese.

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