Bishop Salvatore R. Matano leads the Diocese of Rochester in praying the rosary via livestream March 25. (EMC photo by Jeff Witherow) Bishop Salvatore R. Matano leads the Diocese of Rochester in praying the rosary via livestream March 25. (EMC photo by Jeff Witherow)

Coronavirus made Lent real, intensifies need for prayer

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ:

As I write to you we continue to suffer the grave effects of the coronavirus disease, as daily we learn of the sickness and deaths created by COVID-19. I am united in prayer with all of you, especially the sick, the poor and all suffering personally from the devastating effects of this pandemic. Added to this suffering was the need to suspend public Masses.

As you know, I have emphasized continually the importance of attending weekly Mass and nurturing devotion to the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Eucharist. During this crisis, I have asked our priests to celebrate Holy Mass daily without the presence of the faithful in order to offer the Church’s most perfect prayer, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, for all entrusted to their pastoral care.

With diocesan staff, we have tried to keep our parishioners and parishes updated by issuing sacramental, pastoral and administrative protocols to be followed. You are able to consult our diocesan website at to keep informed. I ask for your prayers and understanding as we address this very difficult situation with ongoing directives coming to us from local, state and federal governments.

I again encourage all Catholics and all God’s people to continue to pray for our community, especially those who are ill, for the most vulnerable among us, for our medical community and our government and health leaders who are guiding us in this emergency. Please also remember those whose lives have been so seriously disrupted, especially anyone who has lost income from a loss of work during this difficult time. I pray for all our families where parents work many hours to provide for their families and who now are dealing with financial challenges as the workforce so significantly is affected by this crisis.

This was a very real Lent for all of us as we made many, many sacrifices uniting us to the cross of Christ. Holy Week was a time of personal prayer and contemplation with our churches unable to celebrate the Holy Week ceremonies. But these solemn ceremonies were livestreamed on the YouTube channel ( of the Catholic Courier. Highlights of past livestreams — including Holy Mass for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (March 22) and recitation of the Rosary for the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord (March 25) — may be accessed through the multimedia section of the Courier’s website ( photo-and-video).

Each day let us implore Our Savior, Jesus Christ, the Divine Physician, to grant us health and bring us to a resolution of this universal pandemic. May Mary, Our Mother, protect us and intercede for us as we pray her prayer of intercession, the Memorare.

Assuring you of my continued prayers and longing with you for the peace of the Risen Christ, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend
Salvatore R. Matano
Bishop of Rochester

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