Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
With the reopening of churches in the Diocese of Bridgeport this weekend, I find myself, for the first time, grateful that the great solemnity of Corpus Christi is transferred to Sunday. As you know, I prefer liturgical feasts to be celebrated on their proper days, and that the transferring of feasts seems silly in my mind. But not in this case. Today, I am thrilled that the resumption of public Mass coincides with this great solemn feast!
The COVID quarantine has deprived you of regular access to the sacraments. It has required flexibility, adaptability, and hurried change. For priests, it has been a strange 12 weeks. We offer Mass as usual, but are deprived of the ability to administer the sacraments to you directly. We have preached to empty chapels, knowing intellectually that you are there through the digital fields, but missing you in practice and in heart. Across the board, we Catholics have experienced a disruption of our regular spiritual practices and it has not been easy.
And so we begin today a slow, careful resumption of public Mass. We do so on the great solemnity of Corpus Christi, the feast of the Body and Blood of Jesus. This feast dedicated to the Eucharist reminds us that we believe in a God who desires to nourish His people day after day. In the Eucharist, we truly receive Jesus. He gives Himself to us in every Mass, and remains present for us in the Tabernacle. Even in quarantine, Jesus has been waiting for us in the chapel, and in every tabernacle throughout the world.
My prayer is that this time separated from the personal reception of the Eucharist will serve to increase our hunger, collectively, for the nourishment that God provides. I pray that this absence from in-person attendance at Mass will help us to see the Mass with new eyes and with a more open heart. I pray that our respect and reverence for the Eucharist may grow even more. I pray that our solidarity with those who are prevented from receiving the Eucharist for whatever reason may increase, as well, so that this daily bread given to us by a loving God may truly form us in His image and likeness. May our community image the Body of Christ on earth, just as we are fed by the Body of Christ, present for us in this most blessed Sacrament.