May 22, 2020


Despite challenges, pandemic reminds us Eucharist is greatest gift

“The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’ ‘For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church’s entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread. Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men.’ Consequently the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love” (St. John Paul II, “Ecclesia de Eucharistia,” #1).

Hopefully, you are among the fortunate ones.

We sincerely pray that is the case.

And as we move forward, let us continue to place our trust in God.

While so many around the world are still facing uncertainty because of the challenges presented by the coronavirus, we pray that you:

• Are all healthy in your household, while we watch the death toll inch toward 100,000 in the U.S. and see it surpass 300,000 globally as a result of COVID-19. Here in Indiana, as of May 18, more than 1,600 deaths have been reported. We offer heartfelt prayers for families who have lost loved ones. May they be at rest in their eternal home.

• Are taking local and national health care mandates seriously. Although stay-at-home orders have been eased in many parts of the U.S.—including here in Indiana—vigilance must still be at the center of all we do. Wearing masks in public, staying 6 feet apart while in line at supermarkets and retail stores, visiting parks and other venues that are reopening, and maintaining all social distancing norms will help us as we try to continue working through this pandemic. Respecting the public safety of others is a guiding principle we must adhere to as we move forward.

• Are keeping faith at the center of your life. One blessing of the virus for many has been being able to spend more time at home with family—time that, God willing, has been used to pray together and nurture seeds of faith, especially for our children. Parents continue to be the first teachers of faith for their children, and it is never too late to impart life lessons to those under our care.

We cannot thank our priests in central and southern Indiana enough who have offered and will continue to offer Masses online for those unable to attend liturgies in person. Archbishop Charles C. Thompson and other Indiana bishops have extended the dispensation for the obligation to participate in Mass on Sundays to all the faithful until Aug. 15. There is sound reasoning behind this: the elderly and those who have underlying health conditions are more susceptible to illness during this challenging time. And as Father Patrick Beidelman, executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization, recently reminded us, they must continue to be part of our daily prayers.

We, like so many of you, are overjoyed that the public celebration of Sunday Mass, with proper social distancing, may resume beginning this weekend, on May 23-24, in many archdiocesan parishes. Some will be able to resume some activities before others. Please visit your parish website or call your parish office to learn more about the Mass schedule. We’ve been asked to attend only our home parishes for the next month to help our communities manage the complexities of keeping people safe.

While archdiocesan officials admit there will probably be adjustments as they learn more during the resumption of public worship in the coming weeks and even months, we thank God that people of faith can partake of the Eucharist in person again. As St. John Paul II said in his encyclical “Ecclesia de Eucharistia”—and as we have been able to better understand during the last two-plus months—there is no greater gift for us as Catholics. It is the source and summit of our faith.

That tenet leads to an important lesson for us from this challenging time: We are indeed the fortunate ones—able to again receive the precious body of our Lord Jesus Christ.

—Mike Krokos

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