Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are all too aware of the great suffering of people in other countries under the scourge of Covid-19. Our hearts go out to all victims.
However, we need to remember too the suffering of the sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, family members and friends of victims who are caught in Australia, particularly those in our Diocese. Unable to leave our shores, many are grieving the deaths of parents to whom they could neither say goodbye nor get some sort of closure by attending their funerals.
Many are experiencing great anxiety too for family members who have contracted Covid, counting the days when the isolation period will be over.
Others wake up in the morning, wondering if they will get bad news over the coming day.
Then, for some, there is a sense of guilt that they are relatively safe in this country while loved ones are at great risk overseas.
There is the worry too about the loneliness and mental health of loved ones who are experiencing prolonged lockdowns.
I have met some too who have been separated from their spouses and children, having come to Australia to work but then not being able to return home since March last year.
Many in our Diocese are providing the only financial support their families currently have for food in their home countries where all income has been lost due to the collapse of their places of employment or their own sources of income and there is no government assistance.
Many too are feeling frustrated and hopeless as the virus surges in their home countries and nothing can be done but wait to see if loved ones are going to be touched.
These are our brothers and sisters. They are in our parishes, schools and local communities.
We think at present of those in our Diocese from India and the Philippines, where there are terrible surges. But there are others also suffering in our Diocese from African, Northern and Southern American, Slavic, European and other countries, worrying about loved ones overseas.
At this time, we need to pray in solidarity with all who are suffering directly or indirectly from Covid.
I appeal, therefore, to each one of you to join me in saying a daily Rosary during the whole month of May, praying for four intentions.
· The first is for the eradication of Covid itself and the discovery of secure medications to treat it.
· Second, let us pray for those who have died of Covid.
· Third, let us pray for those suffering from Covid currently and the safety of doctors, nurses and other medical staff caring for them. We think too of contact tracers, police, military, border and other personnel who are working for the safety of the community.
· Fourth, let us pray for the support and consolation of family members in our Diocese who are going through a terrible time grieving for loved ones who have died; suffering anxiety for loved ones who are Covid victims currently; worrying for the safety of loved ones who have not as yet caught the coronavirus; and struggling to provide income for parents and family members to eat and have basic necessities.
I realise that there will be those unaccustomed to praying the Rosary and who may prefer to dedicate a similar time period to pray in other ways.
However, I am suggesting that all consider at least praying the Rosary in this Month of Mary because, at least in my experience, it is a prayer which brings extraordinary blessings. The power of this prayer has been demonstrated on many occasions in history.
God bless each of you