CHURCH REACHING OUT IN TIMES OF CORONAVIRUS, editorial Schoenstatt.org •
“This document is a gem. I’ve been reading it, fast, diagonally. With a little more calm, I read the prayers at the beginning. Then the advice for this rare Holy Week that we have to live. I have not reached the words of the Pope in the third part. The fact that a document like this is being published shows that we are living in difficult times, that they are not going to pass as quickly as we would like,” says Paz Leiva, from Madrid, upon receiving a “hidden jewel” offered on March 30 by the Vatican’s Dicastery of Communication in conjunction with the Librería Editora Vaticana (LEV). Now available in English! —
“A little help to be able to see the closeness and tenderness of God in this period of pain, suffering, loneliness and fear.” This is the presentation of “Strong in Tribulation” (DOWNLOAD HERE IN ENGLISH), the book conceived by the Department of Communication of the Holy See, which since 30 March has been available free of charge on the website of the Vatican Publishing House, in Italian and Spanish. French was added yesterday, English, and Portuguese, have been announced coming soon.
It can be downloaded several times, as it is being updated every couple of days. The publishing initiative aims to keep alive the sense of community so severely tested by the current health emergency.
“A true gift! This will help us assimilate, meditate and also support us during this period! Thank you, Father José María, for sending it to the Schoenstatt.org team! I am sorry that my Spanish does not allow me to translate it now”, says Melissa Rossati, from Caieras, Brazil. “It is truly a wonderful content”.
Juan Vicente Ramirez, from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, shared it immediately after receiving it: “The content is very rich, clear in language, easy to understand! I already shared it in my groups. They loved it. I have about 250 people to whom I share material every week”.
Diana Hernandez, from Bahia Blanca, Argentina: “A treasure. What a strange time! Not being able to go to Mass, but at the same time having adorations, praying lauds, rosaries and live Masses. I work, but I try to take advantage of all those moments that the Internet gives us. It is incredible how the Lord ‘manages’ to make us look at Him. In addition to writing to so many people: Hello! How are you? In spite of the fear, difficulties, or perhaps thanks to them, we will be richer in friendship, affection, patience, creativity?
“On the cover there is an image of the archangel Michael, who protects the Church against evil and sustains us in this difficult trial, so that this evil does not succeed in damaging our trust in the Father and the solidarity among us, but rather that it becomes an occasion to discern what is truly essential in our lives, and to share the love of God among all of us, especially with those who need it most today,” writes Dr. Andrea Tornielli, Italian journalist and editorial director of the Dicastery of Communication since December 2018.
In the first section, the book gathers prayers, rites, blessings and petitions for difficult moments, drawn from Christian tradition. For example, there are invocations for the sick, for liberation from evil, for trust in the action of the Holy Spirit. These prayers come from different churches around the world, but also from various historical periods.
The second part is based on the indications of the ecclesiastical authorities to continue living the sacraments at a time when celebrations “without the participation of the people” have become a constant. The meditations deal with the theme of spiritual communion and explain how to obtain forgiveness of sins, despite the impossibility of confession.
In the middle of the third section, finally, are the words of Francis about the pandemic. A collection that begins on March 9 and represents an accompaniment to review the pronouncements of Pope Francis, truly with his hand on the pulse of time and his ear on the heart of God. These are essentially the homilies of the morning Mass in the Casa Santa Marta, as well as the Angelus and the various extraordinary interventions that the Pope made and will make on this theme. It is worth noting that there is the complete liturgy, with all the prayers and litanies of the extraordinary moment of prayer in the atrium of St. Peter’s Basilica on March 27.
A dynamic instrument, as the digital age allows and requieres
“This book, which the Holy See’s Dicastery for Communication has wanted to prepare, making it available to all, has a fundamental characteristic: it is constantly updated, in the light of the Pope’s new interventions and the “rediscovery” of other treasures of our ecclesial tradition. The book will therefore be published as a PDF on the website of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, and will be available for free download. Please note that it will be updated several times a week, and that the new updated version with the addition of new texts will be available for download again”, reads the introduction written by Andrea Tornielli.
A dynamism that also applies to many priests, religious and lay people who are showing much inventiveness in the use of the media. With the closure of sacred places because of the risk of contagion, the screens that populate our lives have become the terminals of various prayer initiatives.
The Pope, from the beginning, chose to transmit the live Mass in Santa Marta to bring a word of hope to the people. With this appointment he wanted to make himself close, entering into everyone’s homes, smartphones and computers. It is surprising that an increasing number of people are waiting for him every morning at 7 am. “Faith,” writes Andrea Tornielli in the introduction, “does not cancel out pain, does not annul suffering, and does not automatically eliminate anguish. But it does help to have hope”.