In an extended pastoral message for today’s feast day of St Boniface (5th June), patron of the Diocese of Plymouth, Bishop Mark O’Toole, expressed his hope that the Government “will see sense soon” and permit the opening of, at least some, churches for personal prayer.
Reflecting on the life of St Boniface, who was born and grew up in Devon, and who became the “Apostle of Germany”, Bishop O’Toole urged people to learn important lessons from the life of the great saint, “during this terrible pandemic.”
Having described the many hardships and struggles of the saint, the bishop asked people never to “underestimate the power of our witness in the faithful offering of our lives”.
Recognising that St Boniface was an innovative communicator to the people of his day, Bishop O’Toole stressed the importance of the “new forms of communications” today.
“Engagement with the different platforms has been vital as a means of communicating with one another, and of praying and worshipping, using these different tools” he said, in this time of pandemic.
The bishop indicated that, “the spread of the Gospel, the communication of the faith, has meant having an eye for those who are on the margins.”
He pointed to the examples of “love, self-sacrifice, goodness and generosity” that we have seen “during this terrible time” as “possibilities to point people to the love and sacrifice of God Himself, shown in His Son”.
Picture: Archive photo, dated 12th April 2020, shows a woman praying at the closed doors of Westminster Cathedral ahead of Easter morning mass. (Jonathan Brady/PA).