How fitting that April was dominated by both COVID-19 and Easter. Both call us to reflect upon who we are and invite us to join with God on a journey to something greater. These invitations are being taken up by the AMPJP and by its members.
Much of my April was spent preparing some major documents for the AMPJP Council to consider at its May 2020 meeting: annual review of AMPJP Risk Register; AMPJP Strategic Direction 2020-2023; AMPJP Operational Plan 2020-2021; AMPJP Budget 2020-2021 and the Terms of Reference for the AMPJP’s new Committee for Religious Institute and Ministerial PJP School Authorities Australia. All of these documents call for deep reflect upon, and answer to, the questions: “who are we?” “what are we to do?” and “with whom and how do we work?”
Over the last week of April and the first week of May 2020, Canonical Stewards from AMPJP members are engaged in videoconference consultations with Bishops and Religious Institute leaders regarding proposals for a new body “Catholic Safeguarding Australia” and the National Response Protocol. These consultations address the three questions above in relation to those proposals. The ACBC ought be congratulated for engaging Religious Institute and Ministerial PJP leaders in consultations on these proposals in such an open, transparent and accountable process. I see this as a sign of us responding to God’s invitation to be, and do, Church differently. This invitation form God was echoed in so many submissions to the Plenary Council 2020.
You may have seen the graphic below which shows how COVID-19 presents us with opportunities to grow, support others, and become Christ-like in new and different ways. In a separate post you can read about the Ministerial PJP response to COVID-19.
Attributed to Dr. Monika Langeh and/or Ken Seidu, Godfrey Okumu from Nigeria and Dr. Anne Mwangi from Kenya
The image below is of a section of the Paschal Candle from my local church. It shows Mary gathered with the Apostles and women disciples.
“We fly to your protection, O Holy Mother of God”.
In the present tragic situation, when the whole world is prey to suffering and anxiety, we fly to you, Mother of God and our Mother, and seek refuge under your protection.
Virgin Mary, turn your merciful eyes towards us amid this coronavirus pandemic. Comfort those who are distraught and mourn their loved ones who have died, and at times are buried in a way that grieves them deeply. Be close to those who are concerned for their loved ones who are sick and who, in order to prevent the spread of the disease, cannot be close to them. Fill with hope those who are troubled by the uncertainty of the future and the consequences for the economy and employment.
Mother of God and our Mother, pray for us to God, the Father of mercies, that this great suffering may end and that hope and peace may dawn anew. Plead with your divine Son, as you did at Cana, so that the families of the sick and the victims be comforted, and their hearts be opened to confidence and trust.
Protect those doctors, nurses, health workers and volunteers who are on the frontline of this emergency, and are risking their lives to save others. Support their heroic effort and grant them strength, generosity and continued health.
Be close to those who assist the sick night and day, and to priests who, in their pastoral concern and fidelity to the Gospel, are trying to help and support everyone.
Blessed Virgin, illumine the minds of men and women engaged in scientific research, that they may find effective solutions to overcome this virus.
Support national leaders, that with wisdom, solicitude and generosity they may come to the aid of those lacking the basic necessities of life and may devise social and economic solutions inspired by farsightedness and solidarity.
Mary Most Holy, stir our consciences, so that the enormous funds invested in developing and stockpiling arms will instead be spent on promoting effective research on how to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Beloved Mother, help us realize that we are all members of one great family and to recognize the bond that unites us, so that, in a spirit of fraternity and solidarity, we can help to alleviate countless situations of poverty and need. Make us strong in faith, persevering in service, constant in prayer.
Mary, Consolation of the afflicted, embrace all your children in distress and pray that God will stretch out his all-powerful hand and free us from this terrible pandemic, so that life can serenely resume its normal course.
To you, who shine on our journey as a sign of salvation and hope, do we entrust ourselves, O Clement, O Loving, O Sweet Virgin Mary. Amen.
The public news section of the AMPJP website now has the following posts: