FEAST OF THE CONVERSION OF SAINT PAUL, APOSTLE
Here is the prayer that the Archbishop of Washington, DC, Cardinal Wilton Gregory, shared at the COVID-19 Memorial Service at the Washington Mall Reflection Pool, January 18, 2021:
At this twilight hour, our beloved nation reverently pauses in supplication to remember and to pray for the many thousands of people who have died from the coronavirus during this past year. We turn to the Lord of all to receive these our sisters and brothers into Eternal Peace and to comfort all of those who grieve the loss of a loved one. This virus, more than taking the lives of too many of our citizens, as well as people around the globe, has left in its wake a sobering awareness that we are all united in the sorrow that we recognize today. We pray for those who have died and the families and loved ones that they left behind- we do so not as strangers or disinterested persons, but as fellow citizens who share some limited portion of their grief and sorrow. We pray for the countless families and relatives who had to surrender their loved ones without the comfort and the consolation of a familiar funeral ritual according to their religious traditions or selection. That privation only added to the sadness engendered by the death of a friend, a relative, or a colleague. May our prayer this evening serve as a small expression of our national desire to comfort and strengthen those who have endured the loss of a loved one to this pandemic and may it be a resounding gesture of gratitude for all those who have cared for the victims of this virus and their loved ones. Our sorrow unites us to one another as a single people with compassionate hearts. May our prayer strengthen our awareness of our common humanity and our national unity at a time when harmony is a balm that seeks to comfort and strengthen us as a single people facing a common threat that is no respecter of age, race, culture, or gender. Let us with one heart commend those who have died from this virus and all of their loved ones to the Providential care of the One who is the ultimate source of peace, unity, and concord. Amen.
Father Bill +