Monday 14th June 2021

Home » Frontpage » Currently Reading:

In The Midst Of A Pandemic . . . The Priesthood Is A Beacon Of Light

April 21, 2020 Frontpage No Comments

By FR. RICHARD D. BRETON, JR.

For centuries nautical explorers traveled the Earth seeking new lands and civilizations. For weeks and months, they sailed following their maps by day and the stars by night. Often they would find themselves in the midst of horrific storms tossing them about. Seeking land for shelter required them to find a beacon of light to show them the way. The lighthouse beacon was their solace in the darkness and their guide by day.
For three weeks now we have all been living our own journey of exploration. This one, however, has no maps or guides to follow. This journey comes in the midst of a global pandemic. This is our exploration of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
Who would have thought as we began our Lenten journey that it would become a journey like no other? The true penitential feel of this journey would take hold of us all. Social distancing would change life as we know it: Keep six feet away from others, stay safe by staying home, wear a mask and gloves — all to protect us and stop the spread of this deadly virus.
Soon our lives would be affected in more substantial ways, as the number of infected people rose and the death toll climbed. Soon hospitals and nursing homes would be forced to close their doors. Family and friends would not be allowed to visit their sick loved ones. These new restrictions would heighten our fears and anxieties and lead many to depression.
The journey only became worse when the unexpected happened. Then came the announcement that publicly celebrated Masses were suspended until further notice. What? No Mass? No Communion? What are we going to do? The journey was getting even more difficult! How would the darkness of this pandemic be transformed into a beacon of light?
Soon many parishes developed ways to communicate with the faithful through Internet platforms such as Zoom, YouTube, and Facebook Live. Masses began to be streamed online for the faithful to participate, even if only “virtually.” Priests found innovative ways to hear Confessions. By wearing masks and following social distancing, penitents had their sins forgiven.
What about the sick? How are they being cared for? This question became real to me during Holy Week. Having been trained as a hospital chaplain, I knew the complexities this pandemic poses for our healthcare facilities. There are Catholic patients who need to receive the Sacrament of the Sick and families who need comforting in this most trying time.
It was Wednesday night of Holy Week and I had just finished my dinner and settled into what I thought would be a quiet night. The Lord had other plans! At seven o’clock the phone rang. A family needed their priest. Their 94-year-old mother was in the emergency room dying. I hurried to get ready and grabbed my little kit with everything I needed to anoint the sick, and raced to the emergency room.
Upon arrival I was not allowed in. “Sorry, Father, but we’re locked down because there are patients with COVID-19. We can’t let you in.” Experience of hospital ministry prepared me for this situation, but how was I to administer the Sacrament to this dying lady? I urged the hospital staff to make an exception, but to no avail. Soon my only hope was to contact the hospital administrator. Having informed the administrator of my experience as a hospital chaplain, I was able to convince her to allow me access.
On entering the hospital, I donned the requisite surgical gown, two face masks, and surgical gloves. As it turned out, the dying woman had COVID-19. As I was walking to the door of her room, I thought, “This is for the glory of God so that His daughter may be ready to meet Him.” I entered the room. A weak, burdened woman lay in bed wearing an oxygen mask, struggling to breathe. I leaned over and called her name. She opened her eyes. I told her who I was, wearing my stole over the gown to signal to her why I was there. She closed her eyes as I administered the Anointing of the Sick and bestowed the Apostolic Pardon. I blessed her and assured her that she was ready to meet the Lord.
On leaving the room, I found the emergency staff outside the door, huddled together and crying. “Why the tears?” I asked. One of them replied that they were so moved that I risked my life to minister to the dying woman. I reminded them that my priesthood is not my own: I share in the priesthood of Jesus Christ, and that is was He who ministered to her. I am but His instrument.
I left the hospital and found the patient’s family huddled in the parking lot. Even they were not allowed inside. I assured them their mom had received the sacraments. They told me that while I was inside the hospital they prayed to the Blessed Virgin under her title “Health of the Sick,” asking her to wrap me in her mantle of love as I ministered to their earthly mother.
On Holy Thursday morning, the day we celebrate the gift of the Priesthood, I received a call from the family informing me that their mom had been tested again for the COVID-19 virus, but this time there was no sign of it. The power of prayer and the hand of God had prevailed. At 5:30 on Easter morning, as the Dawn from on High appeared in His glorious Resurrection, the Lord called His 94-year-old disciple to Eternal Life!
In the midst of this darkness, may we experience within ourselves a renewal of love for and devotion to Jesus Christ the eternal High Priest, who through His humble priestly servants has made visible to us the true beacon of light, the light of Christ, Lumen Christi. Deo gratias! Thanks be to God!
(Fr. Richard D. Breton, Jr., is a priest of the Diocese of Norwich, Conn. He is currently the parochial vicar of St. Andrew Parish in Colchester and St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Lebanon. He received his BA in Religious Studies and his MA in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Conn.)

Share Button

2019 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Twitter Feed

Load More...

21,000 sign petition protesting US Catholic bishops vote on Biden, abortion

More than 21,000 people have signed a letter calling for U.S. Catholic bishops to cancel a planned vote on whether President Biden should receive communion.  Biden, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and has long come under attack from some Catholics over that…Continue Reading

Bishop Gorman seeks candidates to fill two full time AP level teaching positions for the 2021-2022 school year in the subject areas of Calculus/Statistics and Physics

Bishop Thomas K. Gorman Regional Catholic School is a college preparatory school located in Tyler, Texas. It is an educational ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler led by Bishop Joseph Strickland. The sixth through twelfth grade school provides a…Continue Reading

Vatican observes ‘Earth Hour’

On Saturday, along with the Vatican, symbolic monuments of cities all across the globe turn off their lights, to demonstrate the serious global climate crisis. By Vatican News staff writer Vatican City State took part in the traditional international initiative Earth…Continue Reading

House passes bill setting up path to citizenship for millions of Dreamers

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday passed an immigration bill that would create a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The Misleading AP Attack on the Catholic Church for Accepting COVID Relief

In early 2020, a pandemic came to America. We started staying home, then we were ordered to stay home. The market tanked. The economy tanked. Unemployment soared. You remember all this, because you lived it. We all did. Congress created a…Continue Reading

Catholic bishop released five days after kidnapping in Nigeria

CNA Staff, Jan 1, 2021 / 10:42 pm MT (CNA).- A Catholic bishop in Nigeria, who was kidnapped on Sunday, has been released unharmed, according to the Archdiocese of Owerri. The diocese, which is in southeastern Nigeria, announced in a social…Continue Reading

More GOP senators vow to challenge Biden’s win

WASHINGTON – A last-ditch effort by President Donald Trump and his allies to overturn the election thrust Washington into chaos Saturday as a growing coalition of Republican senators announced plans to rebel against Senate leaders by seeking to block formal…Continue Reading

Underground Catholic bishop dies in China

CNA Staff, Dec 31, 2020 / 03:25 pm MT (CNA).- According to the Catholic outlet AsiaNews, headquartered in Rome, Bishop Andrea Han Jingtao, 99, a leader in the underground Catholic Church in China, died Dec. 30. Han Jingtao was the…Continue Reading

‘All-star,’ ‘brilliant jurist’: Pro-life leaders thrilled Trump nominated Barrett to Supreme Court

September 26, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett is “an absolute all-star” and “a judicial role model for the next generation,” pro-life leaders said today.  If confirmed, Barrett will replace pro-abortion Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died just…Continue Reading

Farewell, Uncle Di: Father Paul Mankowski, RIP

My editorial career has brought me into close contact with quite a few impressive thinkers. I have worked with famous authors, with noted theologians and philosophers, with canny political strategists, with at least a half-dozen Nobel Prize winners. Among them…Continue Reading

VIDEO: BLM mob threatens, chases Rand Paul down streets of DC

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky found himself the target of left-wing violence yet again Thursday night as protesters swarmed him as he was leaving the White House, chasing him and his wife…Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood acknowledges Margaret Sanger’s ‘racist legacy’, continues abortions

CNA Staff, Jul 21, 2020 / 11:05 am MT (CNA).- The New York affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion provider said Tuesday it will remove the name of its founder, Margaret Sanger, from its Manhattan building because of her support…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Catechism

Adopt A Center

Today . . .

Springfield’s Bishop Paprocki says area Catholics are obligated to start returning to Mass

All Roman Catholics across the Springfield diocese are obligated to attend Mass in person on Sundays and holy days of obligation starting this weekend, said Bishop Thomas John Paprocki. Paprocki’s decision comes as Illinois Friday moves into Phase 5, the final step of the Restore Illinois plan. More news:Illinois’ long-awaited reopening is Friday. Here’s what you need to know That means churches can celebrate Masses and other functions without any capacity restrictions. Since April 11, a par

I definitely felt the Spirit’ – Bishop Olmsted leads hundreds in Eucharistic Procession through Downtown Phoenix

PHOENIX — Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted led more than 400 Catholics in a eucharistic procession of adoration, prayer, hymn singing and silent reflection Sunday morning. The eucharistic procession on June 6, Corpus Christi Sunday, followed Bishop Olmsted’s recent Apostolic Exhortation “Veneremur Cernui – Down in Adoration Falling,” in which he called on parish pastors to lead such a procession annually to promote a deeper understanding and love of the Eucharist.

Archbishop Cordileone: We need ‘major effort’ to ‘re-catechize’ Catholics on the Eucharist

The Archbishop of San Francisco said this week there must be a “major effort” to “re-catechize” Catholics on the Eucharist and worthiness to receive Communion. In an interview which aired on Thursday on EWTN Pro-Life Weekly, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said that the matter of “Eucharistic coherence” applies to all Catholics, not just Catholic public officials. The bishops are scheduled to discuss the topic at their upcoming spring meeting from June 16-18, and…Continue Reading

Cardinal Marx offers resignation to Pope Francis

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the 67-year-old archbishop of Munich and Freising, has offered his resignation to Pope Francis. The influential cardinal is a member of the pope’s Council of Cardinals, the coordinator of the Vatican Council for the Economy, and until last year the chairman of the German bishops’ conference. The archdiocese of Munich and Freising published the cardinal’s letter to the pope and personal declaration on June 4 in German, English, and Italian. In his May 21 letter to the pope,…Continue Reading

Biden eliminates Hyde amendment from 2022 budget request

President Joe Biden on Friday did not include a 45 year-old pro-life policy in his final budget request to Congress for the 2022 fiscal year, thus allowing for funding of abortions. The Hyde Amendment, enacted into law since 1976, bars federal funding of most elective abortions in Medicaid. It is not permanent law, and is attached as a rider to budget bills specifying that the health care funding therein cannot be used for elective abortions…Continue Reading

Pride Month Shows… Christians Must Opt Out Of Mainstream Culture In America

By JONATHON VAN MAREN (LifeSiteNews) — Nothing highlights the extent to which the Overton Window has shifted away from Judeo-Christian values to those of the sexual revolution like children’s entertainment during “Pride Month.” Those of you who follow the culture updates posted in this space will be aware that the queering of children’s entertainment has…Continue Reading

The End Of Ethics

By DONALD DeMARCO There are two solutions on the horizon to our present national crisis. The first is a purely political one, which seeks to impose a way of life on people in the form of a set of arbitrary rules. We see this today with the widespread imposition of political correctness. The second is…Continue Reading

What Is America’s Cause In The World?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN “Take away this pudding; it has no theme,” is a comment attributed to Winston Churchill, when a disappointing dessert was put in front of him.Writers have used Churchill’s remark to describe a foreign policy that lacks coherence or centrality of purpose.For most of our lifetimes, this has not been true of…Continue Reading

Christianity, The Soul Of The World

By FR. DENIS WILDE, OSA One of the most concise yet revealing statements identifying Christianity in the ancient pagan Roman world is from the Letter to Diognetus: “A Christian is to the world what the soul is to the body.” All of these four nouns themselves prompt a certain definition, to be sure, but the…Continue Reading

The Holy Eucharist, The Passion, And The Priesthood

By JAMES MONTI On May 29 I had the privilege of attending in New York the Ordination of ten men to the priesthood at St. Patrick’s Cathedral — six men for the Archdiocese of New York and four for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.Even with all the dire news of current evils besetting our…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Your Boat Will Not Sink

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Twelfth Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Job 38:1, 8-112 Cor. 5:14-17Mark 4:35-41 In the Gospel reading today we see the apostles panicking because the wind was so strong and the sea so stirred up that their boat was being swamped by the waves. Throughout this whole ordeal Jesus was sleeping in the stern. Upon…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Q. When was the Catholic Church born? Was it when Jesus proclaimed, “The kingdom of God is at hand,” when the side of Jesus was pierced and blood and water flowed, or at Pentecost? — J.B., Washington State.A. According to Pope Pius XII, all three of those events signaled the birth of the Church. Writing in his 1943 encyclical on…Continue Reading

Turning Holy Mother Church Into A Repressive State

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK A most un-Catholic spirit is abroad in Rome, seeking to devour legitimate Catholic freedoms. It reveals itself as a repressive regime which values obedience to arbitrary human preference among legitimate options over the free, unchecked movement of the Holy Spirit among the People of God. This approach threatens to choke out the freshness and life…Continue Reading

The Usual Suspects

By FR. JAMES ALTMAN Dear family, in our English lexicon is found the phrase: “The Usual Suspects.” Most often it seems to be a phrase that evokes scorn or, at the very least, significant dismay. “The Usual Suspects” typically is understood in the same vein as “the same cast of characters.” In simple terms, it means that the same set…Continue Reading

The Kingdom Of God Within

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Eleventh Sunday In Ordinary Time (YR B) Readings: Ezek. 17:22-242 Cor. 5:6-10Mark 4:26-32 In the readings today we have two complementary perspectives regarding the Kingdom of God on Earth. One is more objective and focuses on the Church while the other is subjective and focuses on each person. Regarding the Church, God tells the Prophet Ezekiel…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Cardinal Von Galen, “The Lion Of Munster”

By DEB PIROCH As efforts to combat unorthodoxy in Germany continue, we would do well to remember another German of the era of the Second World War, one who remains an eternal witness for us today. Just over a year ago, Germany’s Constitution Court determined physician assisted suicide is constitutional. Until recently, any form of euthanasia has been highly taboo,…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Andrew Bobola

By DEB PIROCH “Andrew,” the name of Christ’s first apostle, is a name taken from the Greek, meaning “strong and manly.” Two of the Gospel writers say Andrew was brother to Peter, both fishermen famously called to follow Christ and become “fishers of men.” Tradition says the first St. Andrew even traveled as a missionary to some of the Slavic…Continue Reading

Advertisement(2)