March 22: Day of Worldwide Solidarity and Prayer

Now is the time for each one of us to respond to the worldwide coronavirus crisis by being in solidarity with others, especially with those who are most vulnerable and most at risk. It is the time to follow the directives provided by the World Health Organization and our respective governments.

It is a special time for prayer and for witnessing through practical solidarity and awareness, our responsibly to care for one another. This extraordinary time provides space for acts of generosity and expressions of gratitude especially to those who are in the front line caring for the sick and those engaged in research projects searching for remedies, and those at work in the public services. No matter who they are or where they are, they should know that they are in the thoughts and prayers of sisters worldwide.

We therefore invite all the member congregations of UISG to make next Sunday 22nd March a day of worldwide solidarity and prayer especially for all those directly affected. 

PRAYER: Lockdown

Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The skyis no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

Theysay that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

Is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing.

Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM