A Time of Hope

Paz y bien. I pray my message finds you well during these challenging times. We are preparing to solemnly celebrate Holy Week and Easter at home; our temples remain closed by a pandemic virus that is ravaging too much of our world. Many of us live in fear as we watch the corona virus spread rapidly. Usually when we experience fear, need solace, comfort… we turn to the Eucharist, the Mass, but unfortunately these are temporarily unattainable and many of us may be feeling a sense of loss, a void.

Yet, we’ve never seen and experienced a more alive and hopeful Church. I’ve never seen more Mass celebration, prayers, rosaries, novenas, singing, and more. We have turned to Christ, the way we always do in times of crisis. In a heartbeat, we have transformed our homes into a domestic church, in addition to being a school, the area for entertainment and joy, sharing and caring with each other as we attempt to curtail the spread of this virus.  Our Church is alive because Christ is alive. And it is Christ who gives us life in this world and beyond.

As we prepare for Holy Week, the Holy Father, Pope Francis said in his Urbi et orbi message of March 27, 2020, “We have an anchor: by his cross we have been saved. We have a hope: by his cross we have been healed and embraced so that nothing and no one can separate us from his redeeming love. In the midst of isolation when we are suffering from a lack of tenderness and chances to meet up, and we experience the loss of so many things, let us once again listen to the proclamation that saves us: he is risen and is living by our side.”

Each day we hear news of our brothers and sisters losing their jobs or working reduced hours as parishes, dioceses, organizations, and all forms of businesses are closed to stop the spread of COVID-19. We must remain hopeful, however, and remember the Lord and his people are here to lift you during these dark times.
    And it is filled with hope and in great prayer that NCCHM, its Board of Directors and Membership, continue with plans to celebrate the 2020 Annual Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 3-6, 2020. As of yet, we haven’t canceled the annual meeting and continue to pray and hope that NCCHM will convene Hispanic ministry leaders, clergy, religious, in Pastoral de Conjunto to reflect on the ministry priorities created in this new post-pandemic world, the 28 pastoral priorities of the V Encuentro Nacional del Ministerio Hispano, and to plan the National Congress in Hispanic Ministry, Raices y Alas 2021.

Our church, our people, need us and the leadership we can provide in the aftermath of this virus; we will be here to serve as missionary disciples in the many ways that God is calling us. It is more important than ever to provide leadership and continue to form Hispanic/Latino leaders for the church in this new era.

NCCHM will keep you updated as we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on future ministries and gatherings. Please continue to pray for those who are sick with the virus, those who have lost lives and for their families, the hospital and medical staff in the front lines of this crisis, and for the continued needs of the poor and sick.

I wish you all a blessed Holy Week and a Happy Easter. And I pray that soon we may gather and embrace each other in God’s love. Stay safe and healthy.

Abrazos en Cristo,

Elisabeth Roman
National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry

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