17 March 2020
Memorial of St. Patrick, bishop
As President of the Finger Lakes Guild and in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, I want you to know that the Guild is here to support our community however we are able. I know that this is a stressful time for everyone, especially for those directly affected, their loved ones, and the members of their medical teams. Please know that I, and my fellow Guild members, are praying for you!
As this pandemic evolves over the coming weeks and months I anticipate that questions will arise among faithful Catholics regarding any number of issues. While I hope and pray that the “worst case scenario” does not come to pass, important questions regarding Church teaching may certainly come up, including the moral acceptability of a vaccine (that will hopefully(!) be developed) against COVID-19, morally licit distribution of scarce resources in the midst of a crisis, and the like.
The Guild encourages anyone with questions about these or other important topics to contact us here, reach out to your parish priest, the Catholic Medical Association, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, Catholic Answers, or any other reputable source of on the Catholic Church’s teachings. Please remember that responsibly engaging in “social distancing” does not mean we are alone. We must support each other…and…we always have recourse in prayer to our Savior, His Blessed Mother, and all the saints and angels for help!
As this crisis continues to progress it was with a heavy heart that I read yesterday of our Dioceses’ decision to suspend public Masses until further notice. I know that this only adds to the burden we all already feel. The the most Blessed Sacrament in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is as close as we can come to Heaven this side of the veil and to have it unavailable at a time like this seems almost cruel.
Nevertheless, given the exponential rise of cases in our country, which is now beginning to affect our local community, I fully support Bishop Matano’s decision to suspend Masses and appreciate his leadership on this gravely important matter. I also appreciate his reminder that this is a temporary suspension of public Masses and that the faithful should take heart in knowing that our faithful and holy priests will continue to celebrate private Masses for their scheduled intentions and for the current pandemic.
Please also keep in mind that individual churches are allowed to remain open for private prayer and that St. John of Rochester continues (as of the time of this writing) to offer Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration in their chapel. You can check on the status of this wonderful offering via the live stream feed here. Please remember that even in the absence of Holy Mass we can still encounter our Lord and Savior anytime in prayer, and in a special way in the Most Blessed Sacrament, whether in the monstrance or the tabernacle.
In closing, again, please know that the members of the Finger Lakes Guild are here to support our community. We will continue to pray for you and we stand ready to care for any and all who fall ill in this time of crisis, whether of COVID-19 or any other ailment. We ask that you pray for us and that God’s most Holy Will be done.
St. Patrick, PRAY FOR US!
Our Blessed Mother, Comfort of the Afflicted, PRAY FOR US!
Thomas Carroll, MD, PhD
President, Finger Lakes Guild of Rochester