The Bishop of Portsmouth has hailed “heroic” NHS frontline staff, volunteers, carers and chaplains and expressed his hopes that “things won’t return to normal” following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bishop Philip Egan said rather than allowing life to return to how it was prior to the pandemic, people should instead have “more time for each other” and “a greater sense of service focussed on the things that really matter”.
Speaking recently on BBC’s Thought for the Day, Bishop Egan called to mind NHS frontline staff, who “are giving everything to serve us”.
“Their heroism reminds me of another hero, a young aristocrat, a university student born in Turn in 1901,” he said. “Charismatic with film star looks, Pier Giorgio Frassati loved skiing, horse riding and above all climbing mountains.
“The life and soul of his friends, Pier Giorgio was a man of deep faith who spent his evenings visiting the sick and homeless during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Later, serving in the slums he caught polio and after a short agonising illness died aged just 24. At the funeral, to his family’s amazement, thousands of urban poor filled the streets to honour him.”
Bishop Egan revealed that he had recently spoken to a nurse at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth, who told him that the current situation is “manic”, but added that staff were “in good spirits”.
“The staff working in our hospitals and care homes are heroes,” the bishop said. “Heroes too are the many helpers who have volunteered. Our chaplains are heroes, comforting the dying in their PPE suits. The pandemic is inspiring great courage and selflessness in so many people with a new sense of community.
“When we get through this emergency I hope things won’t return to normal,” he added, noting that the pandemic is causing many people to review their lives and to weigh up what’s most important.
He said during Holy Week “Christians remember how Jesus Christ laid down his life in service and how in history many others, like the inspiring patron saint of youth, Pier Giorgio Frassati, have done the same in imitation”.
“When we’re through I hope life will be different, I hope we’ll have more time for each other. I hope we’ll have a greater sense of service focussed on the things that really matter,” he added.
Picture: A normally crowded Piccadilly Circus is seen deserted during lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Philip Egan, said he hopes “life will be different” following the pandemic, with people having “more time for each other” and “a greater sense of service focussed on the things that really matter”. (SOPA Images/SIPA USA/PA).