A Lenten prayer chain in Europe for COVID-19 victims

The presidents of national Catholic Bishops’ Conferences throughout Europe have launched a Lenten prayer network and Eucharistic prayer chain for victims of COVID-19.

Feb 20, 2021

By Thérèse Thibon,
The presidents of national Catholic Bishops’ Conferences throughout Europe have launched a Lenten prayer network and Eucharistic prayer chain for victims of COVID-19.

“Together, we have assessed the opportunity, or rather the need to remember in the Holy Mass in a particular way during this season of Lent, the victims, the numerous victims of the pandemic,” announced Italian Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, recently retired Archbishop of Genoa and President of the Council of the Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE).

Each national Bishops’ Conference in Europe will organise at least one Mass during the 40-day season in preparation for Easter, especially for the coronavirus victims. “It will be like creating a prayer chain, a Eucharistic chain in memory and in suffrage of so many people,” the Italian cardinal said.

“We, the Bishops of Europe, are all united alongside our Christian communities and our priests,” continued the CCEE president. “We are grateful to all those who continue to devote themselves to those most in need.

We support them with our words, and above all, with our prayers, so that their commitment and their hope that we must all have, maintain  and increase can help us to look forward together to a better future,” he added.

The prayer intentions are also for families who mourn loved ones who have died of COVID.

Throughout the pandemic, Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the Church’s solidarity with all those who are fighting the disease, those infected with it, their families, doctors, nurses and volunteers.

The Pope has also insisted on the importance of Europe remaining united in its response to the health emergency.

Nearly 780,000 people on the Old Continent have died because of COVID-19 or symptoms related to it, according to Worldometer.

The CCEE Lenten prayer initiative has been organised country-by-country in alphabetical order.

But the calendar for the national Mass for COVID victims is flexible, depending on each nation’s particular measures on limiting public gatherings.

In some countries where there are still severe restrictions on congregational worship, it is foreseen that the president of the Bishops’  Conference will celebrate a Mass which is televised or live-streamed on social media.

In other places, all dioceses will celebrate a Mass when it is their country’s designated day.

The Bishops’ conferences of Albania and Austria launched the Eucharistic prayer chain on Ash Wednesday. The bishops of Belgium did the same the next day (Feb 18).

The three primarily English-speaking episcopal conferences of Europe — Scotland, England & Wales, and Ireland — will hold their Eucharistic celebrations for COVID victims in succession from March 1-3, beginning with Scotland.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the bishops of England and Wales, will then preside at a Mass on March 2 that will be livestreamed from Westminster Cathedral, while the other bishops in the conference are expected to celebrate liturgies in their own dioceses.

The Irish bishops will have their national Mass for victims of the pandemic on March 3. The Eucharistic prayer chain is to be concluded on Holy Thursday (April 1) in Hungary and at the CCEE general secretariat in San Gallen, Switzerland. ––LCI (https:// international.la-croix.com/

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