The global pandemic has abruptly swept up countless persons, young and old, into the sorrowful mysteries of life. Social distancing measures, effective and necessary for preventing the spread of contagion, have also made it difficult or impossible for families and loved ones to accompany the sick and the dying. Our dear ones struggle for life in isolation, taken away suddenly before we can accompany them with an embrace, a caress or even a word of love.
Funeral rites, so essential for those who are left behind, are simplified or delayed. Human touch, sacred rites and the sacramental life have been put on hold, but the pain and sorrow remains. “How many tears are shed every second in our world; each is different but together they form, as it were, an ocean of desolation that cries out for mercy, compassion and consolation” (Pope Francis, Extraordinary Jubilee for Mercy, “Prayer Vigil to Dry the Tears,” 5 May 2016).
In these days we have all been brought low before a complex reality that we cannot control or remove, all the while yearning for the mercy and divine assistance that will bring us once again to the path of peace.
We publish here, in the original English version, a contribution from the Dicastery on the theme of death and Hope at the time of COVID-19.