Pastoral Letter Issued as Pandemic Anniversary Approaches
Bishops Invite Day of Prayer and Fasting on March 11
Posted March 2, 2021
In their latest pastoral letter entitled, "Jesus Wept", Archbishop Anne Germond and the bishops of the ecclesiatical province of Ontario invite Anglicans to observe a day of fasting and prayer to mark the one-year anniversary of the global coronavirus pandemic being declared by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020.
Two days later, it was announced that in-person worship would be suspended by all dioceses in Ontario as of March 15.
Inspired by the story of Jesus’s arrival at the grave of his friend Lazarus, the bishops have chosen John 11:35 as the scripture verse for this occasion: "Jesus wept." They invite people of faith to observe 3 minutes of silence at 11:35 am on March 11 and "call to mind the loss, the pain, the grief, the resilience, the compassion, and the extraordinary sacrifices that have been hallmarks of the past year."
Parishes may also choose to commemorate this anniversary as part of their Sunday worship services on March 14 or at another suitable time.
While the pastoral letter focuses on a call to prayer, it also invites Anglicans to look forward with faith. "As we move towards brighter horizons, the story of Jesus’ Resurrection beckons us with an urgent call to look around and notice the persons and communities who remain bound by the graveclothes of this pandemic through unemployment, poverty, abusive relationships, addiction, grief, and the long-term effects of COVID-19."
Mindful of this vocation, the letter concludes by urging parishes to be "caring communities and walk alongside those who are brokenhearted until they are able to walk in dignity again."