In my column at the beginning of Lent, I suggested that getting our vaccination against the COVID-19 virus would be a good practice for us during Lent. Given the difficulty of receiving the vaccine and the skepticism of some about being inoculated, I write this article.
This year, as we come closer to the Feast of St. Joseph, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has given us a wonderful meditation on the 150th Anniversary of the Proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church.
On behalf of the people who are served throughout our Diocese in Brooklyn and Queens, we begin the 2021 Annual Catholic Appeal by thanking those who generously responded to the 2020 Annual Catholic Appeal. Thanks to your support, the challenges we faced in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic were met by the Church and, as a result, our community faith grew stronger.
As we come to Lent this year, we cannot help but remember how we began Lent last year at the start of the pandemic. The time of COVID-19 was coming upon us, and little did we understand how it happened, nor how long we would have to endure the pandemic. Lent 2021 is yet another Lent we will have to pass through in the time of coronavirus. Yet, this time gives us a real opportunity to prepare for Easter, the time when we renew our faith.
The observances of National Marriage Week — February 7 to 14 — and World Marriage Day, Sunday, February 14, obviously coincide with Valentine’s Day. This, as you know, is the feast day of St. Valentine, an early martyr of the Church who has become the symbol of love and marriage.
On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8, 2020, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, called the faithful to engage in “The Year of Joseph.”
On the third Monday of January, each year, our country and many in the world commemorate the birth of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was born with the name Michael King, Jr.; however, his father was a Baptist minister who traveled to Germany and was inspired by Martin Luther, the Protestant Reformation leader, and changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
This year, we celebrate the 54th World Day of Peace. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has chosen the theme “A Culture of Care as a Path to Peace.” This can certainly bring about a peaceful situation among individuals and nations.
As we begin this New Year, we all are certainly filled with anticipation. If we look back on this past year, we know that no one would like to repeat 2020. Yet, what 2021 has in store for us we do not know. Certainly, our main hope would be that the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines will bring an end to this terrible virus that has controlled our lives for the better part of 2020.
As we celebrate Christmas this year, it is a Christmas like no other that I have ever celebrated in my 76 years. Fortunately, I never celebrated Christmas in a time of war when the whole world was in turmoil, but this year the Coronavirus has joined the world together in a crisis never before seen in the last hundred years.