Catholics invited to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament on 23 March
The President and Vice President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have urged the faithful to make the National Day of Reflection on COVID-19 a day of prayer as well as a day of reflection.
Tuesday 23 March, the anniversary of the first national lockdown, will be marked with a minute’s silence at midday. At 8pm, people are encouraged to create a ‘beacon of remembrance’ on their doorsteps by beaming phones, candles and torches into the night sky. Prominent buildings and landmarks will also be lit up across the UK.
Cardinal Nichols and Archbishop McMahon stress that prayer is an essential part of this reflection and remembrance:
“For all who live by faith in God, reflection and prayer always go hand in hand. Prayer completes reflection. Reflection informs prayer. Prayer opens our life to its true horizon.
“Without prayer we live in a foreshortened world and are more easily swamped by its clamour and tragedy. Throughout this difficult year, so many have been inspired by prayer, so much effort sustained in prayer, in every place. So let us make the 23 March truly a day of prayer.”
The archbishops also invite Catholics to pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament on 23 March:
“March 2020 was the first time our churches had to be closed. It is our hope that on this day, every one of our churches will be open. We invite everyone to enter a church on this day, to reflect and pray in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.
“We know this will involve an extra effort, but this can be part of our important contribution to a significant moment in the life of our country. Indeed, we ask that you might invite a friend, neighbour or colleague to come to church with you as you make this visit.”