SEATTLE – Archbishop Paul D. Etienne released a video April 1 to “touch base” with Catholics in Archdiocese of Seattle and to “let you know I’m thinking about you and praying for you, and kind of curious how everybody’s doing” after three weeks of “self-imposed quarantine” in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
On March 11, Archbishop Etienne suspended public Masses throughout the archdiocese, the first U.S. bishop to do so.
“I know this is a very trying time for all of us,” the archbishop said. “There’s nothing like a pandemic to disrupt our daily life, but it’s an opportunity for the Lord to break into our daily life in a new way. And I think as long as we keep our faith alive and stirred during these times, there can be a lot of unexpected good fruit that can come from this experience for all of us.”
The archbishop shared a few examples of “really good news,” including permanent deacons who made arrangements to accompany the bodies of the deceased to cemeteries “to make sure that they were not buried alone,” and priests throughout the archdiocese who have been trained to use personal protective equipment to “be able to visit those who are dying” and give them the anointing of the sick, if possible.
The archbishop told Catholics to be on the lookout for materials from the archdiocese to help them celebrate Holy Week within the “domestic church.”
In closing, the archbishop said, “Keep up your spirits, keep up your faith, keep up your prayers, and let’s continue to remain very close to one another in spirit and heart and in prayer. God bless you all.”