The spread of the Coronavirus Covid-19 north and south of the border has now resulted in additional restrictions being put in place over the coming days. This is a very trying time for people, particularly after so many have made such tremendous efforts to comply with regulations and to provide for the common good and the public health of all.
As Bishop of a diocese that is divided by the border, I am very aware of the fear, frustration and inconvenience that people are experiencing. I am especially conscious of the loss felt by so many on the southern side of the border at not being able to celebrate public Mass together. In fact, in some of our parishes Mass is available in one part while not in the other. The Eucharist is an essential part of the spiritual nourishment of Catholics and I look forward to the day when we can all celebrate it again.
The restrictions call us to personal responsibility; to comply with public health and hygiene requirements and to look out for the needs of others. So many are doing that on the frontline and in our schools and public services. In fighting this contagious virus, all of us need to do the same in whatever walk of life we are in.
As Christians we are all especially called to serve each other, to be Christ to each other in every situation. St Teresa of Ávila, whose feast we celebrate today, puts its well:
“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”
May the God of love bless you all and keep you close now, and in the days and weeks ahead.