Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement on the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi message today. His full statement follows:
Along with my brother bishops of the United States, I am grateful for Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi message today. We join with him in asking God to bless the world and to deliver us from the coronavirus pandemic.
I think we all understand that we took part today in something historic, as the whole world was gathered together through communications media by the successor of St. Peter, united in one prayer before the living presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist.
It was a moving and emotional moment, and I urge my fellow Catholics, and every person of good will, to read and reread Pope Francis’ beautiful meditation. In his message, the Holy Father reminds us that this time of the coronavirus is a call to courage, a call to faith. And as he says, faith does not mean simply agreeing with a set of ideas. Faith means making a decision to entrust our lives to Jesus Christ and to follow his path, to embrace his cross.
The Holy Father tells us today that this pandemic is a time for conversion, a time for us to make choices about what truly matters in our lives, a time for us to change the priorities of our societies. It is a time to turn to God and to recognize that no matter how advanced our civilization and technology, we cannot save ourselves. We need God.
In this moment saints are being made, the Holy Father tells us, pointing to the quiet heroism of ordinary people carrying out their daily duties in extraordinary times, serving one another with kindness and patience. ‘How many people pray, offer and intercede for the good of all,’ our Holy Father observes. ‘Prayer and silent service: these are our winning weapons.’
So, let us continue to unite with Pope Francis in asking the Lord, through the intercession of Mary our Blessed Mother, to bless our world and to give us the courage to love and serve our brothers and sisters in this time of trial.
The full text of Pope Francis’ address during the extraordinary Urbi et Orbi blessing he delivered while praying for an end of the coronavirus can be read here.