By Vatican News staff reporter
Place Sunday Mass at the heart of your post-pandemic lives: That’s the message from the Bishops of England and Wales following their Spring Plenary Assembly which took place last week.
In a reflection on post-pandemic recovery issued following the meeting, the Bishops encourage the faithful “back to the Church and to her Sacraments.”
In the letter entitled The Day of the Lord, the Bishops pay tribute to families, parish communities and those who have worked tirelessly in hospitals, care homes, schools and prisons over this last difficult year.
The Bishops also call attention to the leadership of priests and express their gratitude for the “immense efforts” of those who have provided food for those most in need.
“The generosity shown in the distribution of so very many meals, they underline, has given eloquent expression to the mercy, love and compassion which are at the very heart of God. Many have been touched by the joy of meeting Christ in the poor; and many of the poor by the joy of meeting Christ in selfless parishioners.”
While the Bishops praise the various methods of outreach during the pandemic, they pay particular attention to the post-pandemic world.
Highlighting the challenges they face in bringing “communities and the practice of the faith to a still greater expression and strength,” the Bishops identify a number of groups they are seeking to reach.
They include those who have lost the habit of coming to church, and the Bishops mention, what they call, the “Covid curious” who may have encountered the Catholic Church for the first time during the pandemic.
Another group they are keen to reach are those who may not want to re-establish a pattern of Catholic worship – who may have seen a gap widen between the spiritual dimension of their lives and any communal expression of that spiritual quest.
Treasures of the Church
The Bishops point out the “veritable treasures” of the Church as being the tools at their disposal to rise to these challenges and at the heart of those treasures is the Eucharist.
They add that “It is the Eucharist, the celebration of the Mass, that makes the Church; and it is the Church, in the gift of the Holy Spirit, which makes the Eucharist. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the lifeblood of the Church. It requires our active participation and, to be fully celebrated, our physical presence,” say the Bishops.
The reflection highlights the importance of Sunday Mass and the need for it to be placed at the centre of our post-pandemic lives.
The Bishops emphasize that Sunday needs to be nurtured as “a weekly gift from God to his people”, and something we cannot do without.
They conclude by inviting people to view Sunday as “the soul of the week, as giving light and meaning to all the responsibilities we live out each day; to see the Sunday Eucharist as food for the unique mission with which we have been endowed.”