Today the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will join a group of over 100 national faith leaders — from Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions — who have called for a National Day of Mourning and Lament for those who have died from COVID-19. It has asked its more than 1,300 members to invite the more than 40,000 Catholic sisters they represent to participate. Together these faith traditions will name, honor and offer tributes to the lives, families and communities of those who have died.
“The lament will also acknowledge the hard truth this country has learned during this pandemic — that suffering has been unequal,” LCWR said in statement. “Elders, black and brown neighbors, native communities, refugees and immigrants have borne disproportionately the brunt of sickness and death.” The healing of the nation must also face the brokenness of its democracy and work to repair the injustices this pandemic has revealed.
As we exceed the number of 100,000 dead in this country, it is appropriate that we not let the moment pass without honoring those who have lost their lives and their families. We grieve for all those who have died and with those who mourn their loss. May our joined prayers comfort them in their sorrow.
This day we pray together:
“O God, your people throughout the world share in the grief of your daughters and sons whose loved ones died so unexpectedly. Receive the dead into your love; comfort the survivors with the power and protection of your peace. Show us how to reach out in generosity to the living, for together we are your people though we approach you from many paths and from many religious traditions.We give voice to this prayer acknowledging your faithfulness and goodness. Amen.”
Perform an action to mark a time of mourning: light a candle, plant a tree, lay a wreath, or any other appropriate action alone or with others. Pray for all those who are suffering the ultimate loss. Join with those who are praying for the present and future state of our country.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his faithful servants.
We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers from so many faith traditions as we not only honor those who have lost their lives in the pandemic, but also call for the country to examine the injustices and inequities so starkly shown to us through this crisis.
Sister Carol Zinn, SSJ, Executive Director of LCWR
I know without a doubt that our country and world will survive this pandemic. And just like our broken family, this broken world will be way more beautiful.
There’s promise and beauty in so many things if we are open to it. Even through the darkest moments, if we try and see the light, there is promise in this as well.
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.
You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.
Without a heart transformed by the grace of Christ, we just continue to manage external and internal darkness.
For there is nothing heavier than compassion. Not even one’s own pain weighs so heavy as the pain one feels with someone, for someone, a pain intensified by the imagination and prolonged by a hundred echoes.