U.S.C.C.B. website now offering resources for Catholics amid pandemic

This is a screen grab of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' website. The website now offers resources for Catholics during the coronavirus pandemic. (CNS)

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has created a special link on its website to a page offering various resources for the nation's Catholics as they weather the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Under the heading "Together in Christ: Responding to Coronavirus," the usccb.org/coronavirus page also has a link to for all Catholics and other Christians to participate in Pope Francis' special "urbi et orbi" (to the city and the world) blessing in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. It takes place at 6 p.m. Rome time March 27.

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The formal blessing -- usually given only immediately after a new pope's election and on Christmas and Easter -- carries with it a plenary indulgence for all who follow by television, internet or radio, are sorry for their sins, recite a few prescribed prayers, and promise to go to confession and to receive the Eucharist as soon as possible.

Among the many resources on the USCCB page are lists of websites for Mass being livestreamed by various outlets, such as Catholic TV and EWTN, on various internet platforms; links to prayers for an end to COVID-19, including from the pope and Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, USCCB president; and daily reflections "to help us all during this trying time."

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There are Eastern Catholic Church resources, including links to the Romanian Catholic Eparchy of St. George in Canton, Ohio, the Eparchy of St. Maron of Brooklyn, New York, and Our Lady of Lebanon Cathedral in Brooklyn.

Several Catholic publishers have made their resources available "to support prayer during these difficult days," the site says. "We thank them for their generosity and pastoral concern." The publishers include: Liturgical Press, Magnificat, Bayard, The Word Among Us, GIA Publications, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, Renew International and Loyola Press.

Besides daily readings in English and Spanish and on audio, the USCCB section also includes inks to video reflections, tips on livestreaming the Mass, "Faith of Facebook Toolkit," resources from V Encuentro and the Catholic Charities USA COVID-19 Resource Center.

"With the worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, we are confronted once more with the fragility of our lives, and again we are reminded of our common humanity; that the peoples of this world are our brothers and sisters, that we are all one family under God," Archbishop Gomez said.

"God does not abandon us, he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing. In this moment, it is important for us to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.," he continued. "Now is the time to intensify our prayers and sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives."

He made the comments in a recent statement that included a prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe for her intercession. His statement and the prayer is posted on the page, with links to prayer cards in English and Spanish.

Lists on the page will be updated as more resources become available.

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