Father Carlos Aguirre
Father Carlos Aguirre

Editor’s Note: The past year has been overwrought with countless stories of people here and around the world having to bear their pandemic crosses.

As Christians live through a second Lenten season with COVID-19, four clergy from the Diocese share personal reflections of encountering Christ during sickness, isolation, sacrifice and loss. Though these experiences will likely extend beyond Lent, the Lord, they agree, will continue to carry them through.

 

A little over a year ago, the whole world began to hear about COVID-19. This new virus, little by little, was changing our way of relating, working and worshiping in ways we never imagined.

As a priest, I was able to accompany many patients to whom I administered the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and many families who lost loved ones due to this virus. I also experienced the loss of my loved ones in Colombia who died from this disease.

I, myself, battled the virus last year. That was a time I could feel the prayers of many families for my recovery, and at the same time, I felt that God was giving me a new opportunity to grow in my relationship with him and with my neighbor. I think this opportunity has not only been given to me but to all of us to meet again with Jesus and his Gospel through forgiveness, love and mercy with ourselves, with our families and with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

What a better way to start this journey than to fully live this new season of Lent? May we focus this time of prayer, fasting and sacrifice on what our relationship with God is like and how we live it through our daily actions.

This experience of the pandemic should help us put aside all those differences and attitudes that separate us from God, and therefore, from our brothers and sisters. Let us start praying more and complaining less; let us put aside criticism and divisions and start serving; let us encourage unity and fraternity. Let us ask less and thank God more and allow his voice to guide us in our lives and actions.

May this time of pandemic make the season of Lent a great opportunity to rediscover our vocation as Christians in love, in prayer, in forgiveness and in service.

Father Carlos Aguirre is pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton.