Bishop on “acts of loving service” during COVID-19

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Bishop Mark O’Toole, the Bishop of Plymouth, has invited everyone to be like Christ the Servant.  

Recounting personally, the experience his mother has had recently in hospital, whilst battling with Covid19, he praised the care and love she received, saying that, “It is doctors, nurses, cleaners, carers, the Catholic Chaplain, and support staff, who are presenting the face of Christ the Servant to our family in these days.”  

Bishop Mark went on to highlight the many acts of loving service being carried out across the country.  In reaching out to the isolated and most vulnerable, all were proclaiming and celebrating their faith in a very concrete way.  These deeds of love, ranged from calling or visiting vulnerable people, to practical support for shopping, to the work being carried out in Catholic schools, supporting children of key workers, or bringing food to vulnerable children at home.  

The Bishop drew attention to the fact that priests were continuing to celebrate mass, on their own, in their parish churches, and praying for the Church and for the world.  Quoting one of the priests who had written to him, he noted “The prayers of the Mass which I utter are my prayers which I must pray in faith, hope and love. Of course, this is also true in every celebration at which others are present, but when one is alone, there is no hiding away:  one is metaphorically naked before God as Jesus was literally on the Cross – my words really have to be his words “This is my body….”  

In all these different moments of outreach, and of prayer, Bishop Mark stressed that people were fulfilling the command of Jesus on the night before He died, when he washed His disciples’ feet, and said to them, “I have given you an example for you to copy what I have done”. This “message is for us, too”, the Bishop said, as he invited everybody to continue “to be like Christ the Servant.”

You can download the full text of his message below.