UPDATE (4/15/2020) -
In the first instance of reinstating the sacraments to the faithful in the U.S., the bishop of Las Cruces, New Mexico has lifted a diocesan ban on public Masses, stating in a letter to his priests that “depriving the faithful of the nourishment offered through the Eucharist” cannot “become the ‘status quo’ for the foreseeable future.”
Bishop Peter Baldacchino advised his priests in the April 15 letter obtained by the Catholic News Agency that they can resume offering the sacraments as long as they abide by state-order health directives.
Bishop Baldacchino stated: "While it is true that we need to take every reasonable precaution to reduce the spread of Coronavirus, it is equally true that we offer the greatest ‘essential service’ to our people."
Let us congratulate Bishop Baldacchino for this courageous step! And, let us also encourage his brother bishops to follow his example.
While abortion facilities and liquor stores remain open, churches have been closed...with the administration of the sacraments curtailed or suspended altogether.
Society has its priorities desperately wrong.
Of course, we wish that everyone remains safe, but the sacraments are not only the quintessential "essential services" but they are also gifts of inestimable value: They open up for us the gates of Heaven and bestow upon us graces that enable us to be loving disciples of Christ our Savior.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholics are being deprived of what is central to our Faith—the sacraments.
With this urgent appeal, we, the faithful, appeal to our bishops to provide creative safe access to the Holy Mass and the Anointing of the Sick and to some form of public celebration during this time of strife and pandemic.
Please SIGN now.
This appeal’s intent is to show the hunger of the Catholic faithful for the Sacraments and for spiritual support given the current crisis we face as Catholics and as a human beings during a global pandemic. We are confident that the Church can find creative ways to answer this call of the faithful who have a great desire to have our spiritual needs met.
As indicated in the text of the petition, we now urge the Bishops to find ways to fight to make the Sacraments available.
While not having access to the sacraments is always difficult, it is especially devastating not to have access to the Holy Mass and the Anointing of the Sick when a lethal pestilence is ravaging our world.
Catholics believe the sacrament can sometimes effect a physical healing, but that it always strengthens the sick and gives stamina and hope in the face of suffering and death. It enables the sick and dying to unite their sufferings with those of Christ, and to enter eternal life newly blessed by God.
We know many of our priests are eager to attend to those with COVID-19 and are willing to put their lives at risk.
We admire their willingness to suffer and possibly to experience martyrdom.
We treasure our priests beyond all telling, do not want to lose any of them, and without question support measures to keep them safe.
We urge bishops to assure that all priests who attend to those with COVID-19 have Personal Protective Equipment and follow all sanitizing procedures.
Most importantly, we promise to cover our courageous and holy priests in prayer.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
This petition is based upon the Open Letter to Bishops posted April 1, 2020 by the new initiative We Are An Easter People. Please visit their site to learn more about the broad Catholic support for this cause, and to see an important "Message to Our Bishops."