Like you, I have just listened to the Prime Minister’s address to the nation. Clearly, we have reached a point where drastic measures are necessary. Certainly, they are necessary to ensure that the NHS is not overloaded. But they are necessary above all as an act of charity, of authentic Christian love, for others.
In observance, therefore, of Mr. Johnson’s instruction, St. Mary’s church and the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour will be closed until further notice. As the Prime Minister said in his address, while marriages and baptisms cannot take place, funerals are exempt from this closure. The funeral planned for this coming Friday in Largs will therefore go ahead, but no-one other than the immediate family must come to the church. I will ask the undertakers to police the entrance to the church to ensure that no-one other than family enters.
I urge everyone in both parishes to adhere to the Prime Minister’s instruction strictly and fully for the sake of the lives and livelihoods of others. Our way of life has revolved for so long around “doing your own thing” and considering oneself exempt from the rules that apply to everyone else, or thinking that rules are public enemy number one.
No! We need the rules to help direct us to live safe and proper lives. Your children deserve this of you, and you deserve it of yourself. Be subject to the laws and rules which our public authorities are issuing for our own good.
The Prime Minister spoke of essential services. Care of the dying is an essential service both for doctors and for priests. If anyone in the parish is in danger of death, I will pull rank on this point and make sure that I am at their bedside as soon as is within my power.
I realise that this most recent “upping of the ante” will be a source of great concern, frustration, anxiety and fear for some if not for many. All I can do is urge you to place your trust and hope in God. Deepen your rapport with him. Call on his help. Pour out your souls before him because it is he who is looking after you. Entrust your cares to him. Bring your children and grandchildren before him in prayer. Seek his mercy. Ask him to heal your bodies and souls. Surrender all you are and have to him. “Lord Jesus, I trust in You. I believe in You. You alone are my refuge, my rock, my stronghold, my love, my fortress, my salvation, my justice, my glory.”
I am a weak and poor man, but I assure you of my prayers and I will do my best to counsel and console anyone who seeks my help. The Lord has given me his power and authority to do that and I will not hold back.
Please tell those who have been coming to the church during the day to visit the Blessed Sacrament to stay at home. I will not open the church again until the authorities allow it.
I invoke upon you and all your loved ones, especially the children and the sick, the love and blessing of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
May the Star of the Sea and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour assist us with her unique maternal power of intercession. She will crush the serpent’s head!
Yours sincerely in Christ