English Bishop: ‘We'll Remember this Lent for Many Years’

While many have been left asking “why God in his providence has allowed this pandemic to occur,” Bishop Egan said it is clear that “He has given us victory through the death and resurrection of His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and poured into human history the power of the Holy Spirit to guide all things in the right direction.”

Bishop Philip Egan.
Bishop Philip Egan. (photo: Diocese of Portsmouth. )

PORTSMOUTH, England — The bishop of Portsmouth, England, has encouraged his flock to remain steadfast in prayer during the COVID-19 outbreak, telling Catholics they will remember how they lived this Lent “for many years ahead.”

“As Catholics, we must tackle this crisis with spiritual as well as human resources,” said Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth in a letter to his diocese on Thursday, March 19, the feast of St. Joseph. 

“Let us work for an end to this scourge. Let us keep our churches open for prayer and offer daily Mass for the Church and the world. Let us proclaim God’s Word, administer the Sacraments and offer pastoral care to God’s people in their need,” he said.  

“Indeed, the ministry of prayer at this time is crucial.” Bishop Egan instructed his diocese to pray for a “speedy solution” to the virus, as well as for the sick, vulnerable, and workers in the UK’s National Health Service. 

While many have been left asking “why God in his providence has allowed this pandemic to occur,” Bishop Egan said it is clear that “He has given us victory through the death and resurrection of His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and poured into human history the power of the Holy Spirit to guide all things in the right direction.” 

Quoting St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the bishops said “We know that nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. ... These are the trials by which we triumph by the power of Him who loved us.”

Although Bishop Egan ordered the public celebration of liturgy to be suspended until the outbreak passes, he encouraged his priests to keep their parishes open and invite people, in small groups, to come pray. 

Bishop Egan offered preemptive thanks to his clergy for their generosity and cooperation during this time, and advised everyone to be “inspired by St. Camillus, St. Juliana Falconieri, Bl. Pier Giorgio and other saints from Church history - not least by the Lord Himself - who cared for the sick and infected, amidst great personal danger and difficulty.” 

Lent, said Bishop Egan, is “a time of penance, prayer and charity,” adding that “we will remember this Lent and Easter for many years ahead. So let us call on the efficacious prayers and help of St. Joseph. Just as he protected the Infant Jesus, Saviour of the World, and his spouse, the Blessed Virgin Mary, may he help us now, during this time of emergency.”

President Donald Trump during his speech at a "Thank You" Tour rally held at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

President Trump: ‘Faith in God’ Helps Unite Nation

In an apparent reference to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and months of demonstrations and civil unrest across several U.S. cities over racial justice issues, Trump said that faith was an important support for civil and national unity.

President Donald Trump during his speech at a "Thank You" Tour rally held at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa.

President Trump: ‘Faith in God’ Helps Unite Nation

In an apparent reference to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and months of demonstrations and civil unrest across several U.S. cities over racial justice issues, Trump said that faith was an important support for civil and national unity.