The Bishop for Healthcare and Mental Health has invited Catholics across England and Wales to offer thanks and prayers for those “who are going the extra mile” to keep the country safe amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
With England in a second national lockdown and Europe struggling with a second wave of Covid-19 cases and deaths, Bishop Paul Mason has urged Catholics to give thanks, show support and pray for those who continue to work tirelessly to care for the elderly, sick and vulnerable.
“We are surrounded by people who are going the extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic to save and protect lives all over the country, and I’d like to invite Catholics across England and Wales to participate in Cardinal Nichols’ call to daily prayer at 6pm by offering thanks and prayers for these workers and their service.
“We particularly call to mind those who are continuing to work with dedication, sacrifice and commitment to keep us safe during the Covid-19 pandemic: Healthcare workers on the front line tirelessly ensuring that patients receive the best possible care for Covid-19 and other illnesses, and staff in care homes protecting the vulnerable elderly. As well as those on the front line, we must not lose sight of others who quietly continue to carry out essential work behind the scenes which keeps the whole system running,” the bishop said.
With England currently in its second national lockdown, which is set to last until 2nd December, Bishop Mason stressed that as well as protecting physical health, the mental health of the nation should be a priority right now.
“We give thanks also for the learnings of the first wave of Covid-19, including the increased availability of PPE which should lessen the risks to which those on the front line are exposed,” he said. “However, protecting physical health is just a first step, and we ought to strive to serve the mental health needs of these workers with similar devotion. The importance of self-care cannot be over-estimated, and I urge anyone who feels vulnerable or in need, to reach out to the many excellent services available.”
Bishop Mason pointed out that everyone can play a part in looking out for the mental health and wellbeing of those who usually care for us.
He quoted Pope Francis’ recently published encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, in which the Holy Father wrote: ‘Let us look to the example of the Good Samaritan. Jesus’ parable summons us to rediscover our vocation as citizens of our respective nations and of the entire world, builders of a new social bond. This summons is ever new, yet it is grounded in a fundamental law of our being: we are called to direct society to the pursuit of the common good (…). By his actions, the Good Samaritan showed that ‘the existence of each and every individual is deeply tied to that of others: life is not simply time that passes; life is a time for interactions’.’ (Fratelli Tutti, 66).
Highlighting the health and wellbeing challenges society is facing due to the pandemic, Bishop Mason urged people to turn the negatives into positives by using it as an opportunity to “grow in love and care” for our families, friends, neighbours and communities.
“Our collective health and wellbeing may never have been so challenged as now. It is at such times of crisis that we are especially called to be kind, to extend the hand of friendship, and to embrace life as a time for meaningful interactions with our fellow men and women,” he said.
“Prayerful solidarity with those who are working through this pandemic, especially in the healthcare and care sectors, can be turned into positive action when coupled with something as simple as a phone call or email to ask how someone is feeling or if they need anything.
“So, amid the challenges which a lockdown inevitably presents, let us also pray for the grace to see it as an opportunity to grow in love and care not just for ourselves and our families, but for all those around us, to whom we are inextricably linked through our shared pursuit of the common good,” the bishop added.
Picture: A healthcare worker in PPE. (Boyloso).