Following the example of Pope Francis, the supreme chaplain and I urge you to pray a Novena for Protection in Time of Pandemic during this difficult moment for our country and our world.
At important moments in the past, the Knights of Columbus has urged its members to pray. We did this at the outset of World War II, after 9/11, and during papal conclaves and civic elections. Today, the world faces a pandemic illness for the first time in a century. Having lost our founder, the Venerable Servant of God Father Michael McGivney, to a viral pandemic 130 years ago, we know such situations can be very serious.
We also know that prayer is an important expression of our trust in God and our relationship with him.
As Archbishop William E. Lori noted in his video message for this novena: Our response to the pandemic draws on our respect as Catholics for both faith and reason. Reason dictates that we should take the health precautions recommended by medical professionals and by science.
“At the same time,” the archbishop tells us, “our faith makes clear that God is our all-powerful creator and that God is more powerful than any natural force, illness or economic setback.”
Furthermore, the supreme chaplain notes that “prayer has always been for Christ and his Church the most important response in times of adversity.”
I join Archbishop Lori in pointing out that the pandemic coincides with the liturgical season of Lent, which calls individuals to reconsider their relationships with God and neighbor, and “to take time for introspection and improvement of those relationships, and this seems particularly appropriate at this time.”
As men of faith, let us pray — together with our families whenever possible and appropriate — joining our prayers with those of the Holy Father, the supreme chaplain and people around the world. This special novena will begin on Sunday, March 15, and conclude on Monday, March 23.
Finally, I also call your attention to this prayer invoking the maternal intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, prepared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that can be prayed both during the novena and in the days beyond.
Carl A. Anderson