BRIDGEPORT—In a powerful video reflection about wearing masks, Bishop Caggaino urged all to wear the masks that protect others from COVID-19, but to peel off the masks that make us less compassionate, truthful and empathetic to those who are isolated and suffering.
The bishop began his video by removing the black cloth mask he was wearing and inviting people to consider how much our lives have changed since the onset of the pandemic in early March, when we had little knowledge of this “Invisible virus” that was making people sick and taking lives.
None of us expected how much life would change, the sacrifices many people would make, and even the extensive safety requirements necessary to continue public worship at Mass, he said.
“Nothing is a greater symbol of how our lives have change than this,” he said pointing to his mask from his Catholic Center office.
Wearing face masks is difficult and annoying, he said, but the reason we wear them in public places is not simply because the state mandates it, it but also because our Lord asks us to “in his words and ministry that have taught us that all human life is sacred.”
“We wear a mask to protect the elderly, the frail and those with pre-existing conditions. We wear them to save the lives of others and as an act of Christian love for our neighbors, known and unknown. We wear them in faith…”
At the same time, the bishop urged us to reflect on the other masks that we often wear, the ones that are not made of materials and filters and “are often invisible to the eye.”
“They are created by our fears and anxieties, and my sins and yours. They disfigure us and don’t allow us to show ourselves as children of God. They prevent us from using our talents for the benefits of others and from being faithful missionary disciples,” he said.
The bishop said we often mask our ears, eyes and hearts to others suffering by relegating them to the shadows, failing to hear their pleas, and hesitating to speak the truth because we may alienate or offend others.
“In a divided and hostile world no civility or mutual respect, it is important for us to peel the masks off our mouths—and always with respect for the other—speak the truth in love. That is what disciples are supposed to do.”
Bishop Caggiano said while it’s not the time to shed our medical masks, it is time to throw away our masks of indifference toward the sick and vulnerable, the homeless and unemployed, the refugees, and even for those in our own midst “who have everything they want but very little of what they need.”
“The Holy Spirit gives you the inner fire and courage to listen with the heart of Jesus,” he said, especially during this time of pandemic when we are often alone. The Lord asks us to be his hands and feet in the world and gives us his Sacred Heart to guide us.
“Don’t you think it’s time that for these masks we created that that we peel them off and throw them away?”