It seemed like in an instant we went from our normal routines to distancing, masks and quarantines. What seemed initially like an event that would take a few weeks to pass has turned into many months. What’s even more frustrating with this seemingly-endless Lenten experience is simply not knowing when this new reality will end. I am praying and fasting for the healing we need throughout the world today, both spiritual and physical.
Our grieving process at funerals was not shared with friends or families. Diocesan celebrations of vocations could not include our laity. Weddings, vacations, and other important family events were cancelled. When denied the Eucharist while parishes were closed, we turned to Spiritual Communions. When denied our in-person liturgies, we turned to live-streamed Masses.
We made thousands of phones calls across the diocese and gathered 600 prayer requests, which we placed at the foot of our altar in the chapel here at the McRaith Catholic Center. We distributed nearly $200,000 in aid to people who became homeless because of their jobs ending. Our schools served over 63,000 meals to children under the age of 18 through our annual summer feeding program and staff worked weekends to serve meals to the underserved. We printed and mailed thousands of letters for parishes and also helped them set up online giving programs. We coordinated the effort to secure Paycheck Protection Program dollars for every parish, school, and church ministry. We sponsored video conference parish leadership meetings and prayer groups. Amazingly, some parishes have even shown financial growth during this time. Your gift last year to The Disciples Response Fund helped subsidize each of these efforts.
I have been inspired by the Church’s extraordinary response to this pandemic. Please pray that as leadership, we are guided by the power of the Holy Spirit in all our decisions and actions. My thoughts and prayers are with you and yours during my daily Mass intentions.
Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend William F. Medley
Bishop for the Diocese of Owensboro