Denver, Colo., Jun 6, 2020 / 16:06 pm
As restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus have forced churches to close or limit their activity in recent months, priests across the U.S. may be feeling "nonessential" as they struggle to support or even engage with their parish community, one psychologist said.
Dr. Christina Lynch, a supervising psychologist for Denver's St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, told CNA the quarantine measures around the country may be causing priests to feel unneeded and to struggle with their priestly identity. She said priests need encouragement to overcome these challenges.
"Shepherds have been removed from their flocks, and flocks and been removed from their shepherds. They're losing their sense of priestly identity and purpose. A newly ordained priest [told me], 'I am not a minister without a community, and it's been really hard,'" she said.
"This is the time God created [these priests] to be here, at this juncture in this country during the terrible time of pandemic and riots. There's a purpose and a mission for [priests who were] ordained for that, to bring the sacraments to the people of the Catholic Church, and they need to support each other in that."