With the current spreading of COVID-19, it is important to do our best to be a non-anxious presence in our communities through prayer, scripture, and conversation. It is also important to do our part in keeping ourselves and those around us safe.
The Northwestern Ohio Synod Office encourages you to stay informed on what your local authorities are saying about gatherings, closures, and best safety practices. We invite you to reach out to your local health district, your school superintendent, and stay up-to-date with news from the office of Governor Mike Dewine.
Passing the Peace
Passing the Peace is an important way to remind ourselves and each other of the presence of Christ, but how do we do this without shaking hands? In the video below, Bishop Daniel Beaudoin teaches us how to say “Peace be with you” in American Sign Language. See “Worship in Times of Public Health Concern” for other suggestions.
A Prayer for Healing by Kerry Weber
Jesus Christ, you traveled through towns and villages “curing every disease and illness.” At your command, the sick were made well. Come to our aid now, in the midst of the global spread of the coronavirus, that we may experience your healing love.
Heal those who are sick with the virus. May they regain their strength and health through quality medical care. Heal us from our fear, which prevents nations from working together and neighbors from helping one another. Heal us from our pride, which can make us claim invulnerability to a disease that knows no borders.
Jesus Christ, healer of all, stay by our side in this time of uncertainty and sorrow.
Be with those who have died from the virus. May they be at rest with you in your eternal peace.
Be with the families of those who are sick or have died. As they worry and grieve, defend them from illness and despair. May they know your peace.Be with the doctors, nurses, researchers and all medical professionals who seek to heal and help those affected and who put themselves at risk in the process. May they know your protection and peace.
Be with the leaders of all nations. Give them the foresight to act with charity and true concern for the well-being of the people they are meant to serve. Give them the wisdom to invest in long-term solutions that will help prepare for or prevent future outbreaks. May they know your peace, as they work together to achieve it on earth.
Whether we are home or abroad, surrounded by many people suffering from this illness or only a few, Jesus Christ, stay with us as we endure and mourn, persist and prepare. In place of our anxiety, give us your peace.
Jesus Christ, heal us. Amen
America Magazine: The Jesuit Review (March 2, 2020)
COVID-19 and Our Communities
As people of faith, we strive to be guided by Jesus in all circumstances. Jesus spent his days protecting the vulnerable and caring for those in need. We encourage parish leadership to gather to discuss appropriate responses to COVID 19. As the situation evolves it is important for us to discern how we might best meet the needs of our communities. Consider:
- Who is most vulnerable in your community?
- How have responses to the virus created new needs?
- Who will feed those who are hungry if shelters, pantries, and schools close?
- What resources can our parish offer?
In some situations, the best way to care for others is to distance ourselves. In other circumstances, we may be called upon to come to the aid of those who are in need.
How to Talk With Our Children About COVID-19
In times of uncertainty it is easy to overlook our responsibility to thoughtfully guide children through this time. Our parishes and families can model healthy responses to COVID 19. We should not be afraid to discuss the coronavirus with children. When we are accessible to our children’s questions and fears, we teach them that we are worthy of their trust. It is important for us to be factual, but age appropriate. It is often best for us to filter news reports. As adults, we set the emotional tone, knowing that children are intuitive and can sense anxiety. We can reassure children in our communities that we are doing everything we can to keep them and their community safe. It is also important for us to fold these conversations into normal healthy routines. As Peter Steineke aptly said, “good structure corrals anxiety”.