With so many people dying alone due to the coronavirus, they need our prayers. We can appeal to all the angels and saints — our family in heaven — to intercede and pray with us to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Especially relevant, we can pray to the angel who ministered to Jesus on Holy Thursday as he prayed for us in the Garden of Gethsemane.   

Just as the angel comforted Jesus, we can pray for him to comfort those dying alone. In the book, His Angels at Our Side: Understanding Their Power in Our Souls and the  World, Father John Horgan explained what is known about the angels with suggestions for how we can grow holy with them. There is a chapter on “Angels in the Life of Christ” where he pointed out that from the time of the annunciation when Angel Gabriel announced the incarnation of Jesus, to his Ascension into Heaven, angels accompanied Jesus throughout his earthly life. 

Included in the chapter on “Interacting with the Angels” is a  “Prayer to the Angel of Gethsemane.”

Father Hogan noted, “Our Lord Himself alludes to the great number of angels during His arrest when He tells Peter, ‘Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?’ (Matthew 26:53). One of those angels had appeared moments before that.”

He explained that while preparing for his passion, Jesus prayed to his heavenly Father to “let this cup pass from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39).

“The cup of suffering is not taken away from him, so he is obedient to the will of his Father to the point of death,” Father Hogan wrote. “An angel then appears to strengthen him during his time of unimaginable suffering (Luke 22:43). Popular devotion has identified that angel as a special comforter of the sick and those who care for them. Catholic nurses, particularly after the 1940s, often recited prayers to the angel of the Garden of Gethsemane so that they could be strong in tending to the patients entrusted to their care, particularly during the long and lonely hours of the night.” 

Praying to the Angel of Gethsemane can be a source of comfort and grace for those suffering and also those caring for them.  Through this devotion, we call down the grace of God through the intercession of the very angel that God chose to comfort Jesus on the night of his Passion. 

Prayer to the Angel of Gethsemane 

O Angel of Gethsemane, chosen by the Father 

to bring strength and consolation to Jesus during His agony,

I ask you to be with me now as I keep watch over my loved one who is sick and suffering.

Help me to offer my best care, love and protection to this child of God.

May my words and my touch be filled with gentleness, my presence bring comfort, and my prayers bring rest and healing sleep.

Do what I cannot do, O loving Angel, to bring healing and strength to soul and body, according to the Father’s will. Amen.

In the case of people dying alone, our own care for them is spiritual, through our prayers to bring them comfort.

 

Chaplet of Divine Mercy

In addition to asking for the intercession of angels and saints, we can pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet daily to spiritually place ourself at the side of sick patients who cannot take visitors.  Father Philip Kemmy, a priest in Ireland, has asked everyone to do this. After he read the headline, “Everyone Dies Alone” he was moved to ask Catholics to pray for those dying from the coronavirus.

He was inspired by a scene in the Diary of St. Faustina, where she was spiritually transported by the Lord in order to pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy at the bedside of a dying man she did not know. Father Kemmy expressed concern especially for those who “are perhaps not well prepared spiritually for their earthly end.”

“Praying the Chaplet for the dying, we will petition Jesus to enfold them in his Merciful Love in their final hours and grant them a strong experience of his consoling presence before they take their leave of this life,” he said. “This would be a great act of mercy and love for those who are victims of this virus and who are approaching their end.”

Father Kemmy is hoping that people will pass this idea onto others and trusts that it will bear enormous fruit for the souls for whom we pray.