By ZENIT Staff

At the May 14, 2020, Mass for Carers at Newcastle Cathedral, Bishop Robert Byrne CO prayed for frontline workers and those who have suffered greatly as a result of the virus. He will also remember those who have died.

He reflected on how “the pandemic has made us uncertain of the future, frustrated and even downright frightened and confused” and how “it is not just a challenge to be faced, but also a call to have a faith that trusts in the Lord.”

“Our prayer this evening is not merely that we be spared the pain of this disease. We also pray that we will have the faith to come through this period, maybe battered and scarred – but with a renewed sense of God in the midst of the storms that have come down upon us. Let ask for wisdom and strength for all in leadership and in the medical services, that they can have strength to continue their dedicated service. But we also ask for the grace to face these storms, trusting that God is not curled up in a corner, asleep and unconcerned about us.”

Bishop Byrne concluded:

“Our children’s children will look carefully at what we did in dealing with the pandemic and how we reacted to its presence in our lives. We are a part of that history and therefore for the sake of those who come after us we must learn the lessons of the present crisis that will help those future generations.”

“I hope we can teach them that the God-given enduring virtues of faith, hope, and love are at the basis of dealing with any human crisis.”

“When the pandemic is over, we will all need to rethink and change our lives much as our parents and grandparents did after the wars.”

The Celebration of Mass concluded a Diocesan Day of Prayer for the sick and their families, NHS front-line, social care workers, and other key workers.

The day will be streamed online from St Mary’s Cathedral and begins with the Divine Office, will include ‘Visio Divina’, produced by Sr. Michael, Sister of Mercy, Sunderland – linked to Lectio Divina but instead of reading the Word of God, images are used – as well as prayers led by St. Cuthbert’s RC primary school North Shields and St. Matthew’s RC Primary School, Prudhoe.

Bishop’s Homily

The clergy and people of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle are pleased to host this national Mass this evening. In the last year, I have discovered that the people of the North have a big heart and we extend to all of you wherever you may be in our countries a very warm welcome. We gather today to pray for all those who are carers in the NHS and other frontline services. It also gives us the opportunity to thank you all for your hard work and dedication. We remember too all those who are suffering from Covid-19 and we pray for the eternal rest of those who have died from it. Today has been a special day of prayer in our diocese, culminating in this celebration of Holy Mass.

We are familiar with people saying to us that we live in strange times as indeed we do. The pandemic has made us uncertain of the future, frustrated and even downright frightened and confused. That is where the disciples are in today’s Gospel. My guess is that their main problem is not that the weather is stormy. As fishermen, they would have seen that often enough. Their problem is that Jesus their leader doesn’t seem to care that they are in a difficult situation. So, his actions are aimed, not just at settling the waves but at settling their fears. He is always concerned about and sensitive to people. But he chides them for having little faith in him. He wants to draw the disciples beyond trusting in themselves to depending on a greater wisdom and truth, to believing that God is in charge and not the forces of destruction. Jesus always pulls us out of our comfort zone where we think we could be our own Saviour. That is why the Gospel passage finishes with the apostle asking who this man is. And Jesus does not answer. He simply asks them to be with him and to come to their own conclusions.

This pandemic – and everything that happens in our own life – is not just a challenge to be faced but also a call to have a faith that trusts in the Lord. Our prayer this evening is not merely that we be spared the pain of this disease. We also pray that we will have the faith to come through this period, maybe battered and scarred – but with a renewed sense of God in the midst of the storms that have come down upon us. Let ask for wisdom and strength for all in leadership and in the medical services, that they can have strength to continue their dedicated service. But we also ask for the grace to face these storms, trusting that God is not curled up in a corner, asleep and unconcerned about us.

When history is written this year of 2020 will be a year to be remembered and commented upon. In a hundred and more years’ time, our children’s children will look carefully at what we did in dealing with the pandemic and how we reacted to its presence in our lives. We are a part of that history and therefore for the sake of those who come after us we must learn the lessons of the present crisis that will help those future generations. I hope we can teach them that the god-given enduring virtues of faith, hope, and love are at the basis of dealing with any human crisis. When the pandemic is over, we will all need to rethink and change our lives much as our parents and grandparents did after the wars. Let us do so with faith and hope and love – for these are ultimately founded on the Lord.

So thank you to all who care for us, please get well soon to those who are afflicted and eternal rest to those who have gone before us.

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