DANBURY- Pastors from all over the Diocese of Bridgeport are issuing pastoral letters to their faithful in this time of trial. One Pastor, Fr. Dunn of St. Gregory the Great Parish in Danbury, issued the following statement to his parishioners on the Parish Facebook page.
Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled!
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ. Immediately after the horrific and tragic events on 9/11, a man working in one of the towers that morning barely managed to escape with his life. Covered in debris and ashes, he hopped on a train and returned to his hometown of Weston CT, before New York City was shut down. He didn’t go straight to his house but to his church, St. Francis of Assisi, my last parish. There he wept and prayed, both thankful and devasted by the events. After he left the church, the evidence that he was there remained- that is ashen footprints down the center aisle to the foot of the cross.
So too with many others, the terrible events from 9/11, led to a return to God and His Church. Churches were filled with those wanting to pray and find peace. Sunday Mass attendance surged and Confessionals were busy. The events of 9/11 reminded us that God is capable of bringing good even out of the greatest evils- as he did through his own suffering and death on the cross. The sad thing is that the return to God and His Church didn’t last long, perhaps only a couple of weeks. The surge in faith ended. For most people life went back to normal- life went on as it did before 9/11.
With the danger of the coronavirus and the drastic changes in our lifestyle now, many are feeling anxious and afraid. Perhaps we know someone with the virus, are fearful for our elderly parents, are separated from loved ones, worried about the economy, or currently losing a good portion of our normal income. It is exactly at this time that Jesus tells us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled, have faith in God and in me.” This change in lifestyle that we are all experiencing at this time, although difficult, presents us with an opportunity to return to God- to pray and deepen our relationship with Him. Our God and His words can comfort and console us like nothing else in this world can. With God, we have nothing to fear, nothing to be afraid of. With Him at our side, not a hair on our heads will be harmed. Let us use this time to grow in our faith and love of God- for therein lies our peace and joy. St. Paul understood this well as he said, “Everything works out for the good, for those that love God.” This is the message that not only we can embrace at this time, but seek to encourage others and our children to do so as well.
This virus didn’t come from God, nor is he punishing our world, for God is not the author of anything bad or evil. However, he may very well be using this virus to capture the world’s attention- to let us know that we are not in charge, He is. He may want the world to know that He is the one God of us all, we are all his sons and daughters, that He deeply loves us all, and wishes for the world to return to Him. Let us use this time to join in prayer with all the faithful in our world. Let us pray for the conversion of the world and that the world may give God his proper place, the highest place, above anyone or anything else.
Please know that I as your Pastor, am continuing to think of and pray for you in this unusual and trying time. I and Fr. Ford are offering Mass daily for your protection, health, and peace. May the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary our Mother, be with you and protect you. May we place our trust in the great mercy and love of our God, a love that knows no bounds or limits.
God Loves you,
Rev. Michael L. Dunn