Prayers at memorial Mass for COVID-19 victims
Friday, Nov. 27, 2020
During the Nov. 17 Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, Deacon Guillermo Mendez reads the names of OCVID-19 victims in the diocese.
SALT LAKE CITY — “The coronavirus pandemic has claimed so many lives, and brought tremendous pain and grief to their loved ones,” Bishop Oscar A. Solis said in his introductory remarks during the Nov. 17 Mass at the Cathedral of the Madeleine in commemoration of the victims of COVID-19. Concelebrating were Fr. Martin Diaz and Fr. Dominic Sternhagen, respectively the cathedral’s rector and parochial vicar. Assisting were Deacon Drew Petersen and Deacon Guillermo Mendez.
Because of the pandemic, social distancing regulations were enforced at the Mass, which was livestreamed on the cathedral’s YouTube channel.
In his homily, the bishop said the Mass was to remember and pray for those who have died from COVID-19 and their loved ones who were left behind.
“Remembrance is part of our human experience,” the bishop said, and pointed out that in November the Church celebrates the feasts of All Saints and All Souls.
The circumstances of the pandemic meant that many of the victims died without their family by their side, “deprived of the visit, affection and embrace of their loved ones and family members. Few had the benefits of the blessings of the Sacrament of Anointing and the Holy Eucharist. Due to fear of the infection and the spread of the disease, private burial rites were immediately held so families were not able to accompany them in the final moments and did not even have the time to grieve,” the bishop said, speaking in both English and Spanish.
The Kyrie was for the Requiem Mass. The music for the preparation of the gifts was from Psalm 138: “In the presence of the angels, I will sing your praise, my God.” The music for the communion procession was from Psalm 130: “”May light eternal shine upon them, O Lord, with your saints forever, for you are merciful.”
In addition to the death and suffering, the pandemic has meant the loss of jobs and plans and dreams, the bishop said. “It is not surprising that many people feel disheartened and disappointed; others, angry and in despair.”
In times of difficulty, it is easy to despair and doubt the goodness of God, but in all suffering and even death, there is hope, because the favors of the Lord are infinite, and his love and mercy are inexhaustible, the bishop said. “He is a faithful God who cares, who never abandons us, and continues to save us. He allows suffering and evil for one reason: to bring about an even greater good.”
These are difficult times, the bishop said. “As bishop and your shepherd, I am here to pray and personally share your grief together with the prayers, concern and support of our brothers and sisters of this diocese. God has not forgotten you, and you are not alone. We are one community of faith, one church, one family, and we are all together in this painful time.”
The Mass was being celebrated “to nourish our faith and to increase our hope,” Bishop Solis said. “Let us pray that the fruit of our unity, solidarity and enduring communion with God during this pandemic holds us together with our beloved dead in an eternal embrace, and may the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.”
Following the homily, Deacon Mendez asked that God grant eternal life to those who have died of COVID-19, and read the names of the pandemic victims in the diocese. The names were submitted by pastors throughout the diocese.