Over the weekend of May 29-31 we invite you to unite with us, and our brothers and sisters from many faith communities, in a time of mourning and lament for the more than 100,000 people in the United States and 350,000 globally who have died from COVID-19.  We mourn for the individuals and for their loved ones and the feeling of hope diminished. Together, we will pray for the healing of our nation and all nations.

On Friday, with Ramadan finished, Muslims will remember the reception of the Quran. On Friday and Saturday, Jews will remember God’s covenant as they celebrate Shavuot and read their remembrance prayers. On Sunday, Christians will celebrate Pentecost, when the first Christians were given courage through the reception of the Holy Spirit. Together we will name, honor, lament, and offer our tributes to the lives, families, and communities of those who have died. We come together to grieve with families and communities who have not been able to memorialize, mourn, or properly bury their dead because of COVID-19.

Our lament will also honor the hard truths we have learned during this pandemic: our suffering has been unequal. Elders, black and brown neighbors, native communities, refugees, and immigrants have borne disproportionately the brunt of sickness and death. Our prayers for the healing of the nation must acknowledge the brokenness of our democracy and call us to repair the injustices this pandemic has revealed. We pray for healing and grace that will lead us forward more united as a country to address the very real challenges we face ahead. And we know that we can only do that together.

On Monday, June 1, at noon local time, all are encouraged to join the civic community and pause once more to remember those who have died. It will be appropriate for flags to be lowered and to observe moments of silence, prayer, reflection, and bell ringing.

   

   

A Prayer of Lament

How long, Lord?  How long will you hide your face?
How long must we wrestle with our thoughts and day after day have sorrow in our hearts? (Ps 13:2)
How long will this COVID-19 virus triumph over our global community? 

Hear our cry, Compassionate One as we mourn the loss of more than 100,000 lives in the United States and 350,000 lives globally.
Here our cry as we grieve with families and communities who have not been able to memorialize, mourn, or properly bury their dead because of COVID-19.

We recognize and honor the hard truths we have learned during this pandemic: our suffering has been unequal.

Elders have been vulnerable and alone,
Black and brown neighbors have disproportionately borne the brunt of sickness and death.
Immigrants and Migrants, and Native communities have been particularly hard hit—as they have been so many times in the past.
Asian Americans have been increasingly targeted by hateful words and actions.

Forgive us for the ways we have turned a blind eye to our neighbors.

Turn to us now Merciful One, and be gracious, for we are lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of our hearts and free us from this anguish.
Look on our distress and take away the hardness of the heart that keeps us separated from you and one another.
We place our trust in You. Our hope is in You.
Loving Presence, renew us,
Renew all nations,
That we on earth may be one in You. (Ps 25 adapted)

Jeanne Connolly
Wheaton Franciscans