Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Nov 17, 2020 / 20:00 pm
Bishops on Tuesday discussed pastoral strategies and the movement of the Holy Spirit during the coronavirus pandemic, noting the great desire for the sacraments on the part of many Catholics. Bishops lauded sacrifices made by priests and laity in service to the Church during the coronavirus pandemic.
The conversation took place during the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ virtual fall general assembly Nov. 17. It was led by Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development. After Coakley spoke, bishops were invited to share their experiences in five-minute segments.
Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, praised the “great sacrifice” that has been made by his diocese’s priests, lay chaplains, and deacons to provide spiritual care during the pandemic, as well as the impressive volunteer effort by the laity to ensure that Mass can be safely celebrated.
Flores recalled telling Catholics they needed to disinfect churches after each Mass in order to have Mass at all. He said their response was the “most edifying” experience of the pandemic.
“The folks of the parish who volunteer--the youth groups, the apostolic movements, the different groups that are part of the life of the Church--it meant so much for them to have the Mass, and to have even a few moments of Eucharistic Adoration, even to this very day, after every single Eucharistic celebration, every funeral, every baptism, people step forward,” he said.
“This is a very powerful sign to us,” said Flores. “We are rightly focusing on a Eucharistic renewal as we move forth from this.”
The Brownsville bishop said that he thought the people who took the time to do things like disinfect their churches could be instructive for the bishops. Those people, said Flores, took on a difficult task, and accepted the added risk of exposing themselves to the virus “to make it possible for the life of the Church go on.”
“I’m just so grateful,” he said. “In the midst of Eucharistic absence, we could say, many people have stepped forward to make sure that we could experience, once again, the Eucharistic presence.”