We welcome Fr. Simon Conrad to the website. “Simon Sez” will be updated weekly with a new reflection – a spiritual vitamin – from one of the most talented writers in our province.
While looking at Fr. Simon’s reflection I noticed how out-of-date this column is. So I was prompted to commit myself to a more regular updating. Much has passed over my desk since January 2009. But rather than reminisce, let me fast forward to the current moment, a moment when Swine Flu has suddenly overtaken the economic news.
Yesterday morning Brother Felix Shinsky stopped in my office and shared with me some reflections that the friars at Our Lady of Angels Friary in Colorado Springs were talking about earlier in the day. The very first Capuchins immersed themselves in taking care of plague victims back in the early 1500’s. They comforted, consoled, prayed with and for those who were stricken and their families. They had no fear of the disease itself. Their focus was on the suffering they saw. Brother Felix felt that this example of the first Capuchin friars was a challenge to the friars today to reach out to those afflicted by the pandemic. But how? Certainly we have friars in hospital ministry and friars who because of their parish ministry regularly visit hospitals. But not everyone has this access to those who are suffering. So the friars at Our Lady of the Angels decided that the least they could do was to pray and to offer sacrifices for those stricken with the flu and for a quick ending to the pandemic.
Many are anxious about the virus. Even Archbishop Chaput here in Denver issued a letter about it to the archdiocese. Concerns of the people are concerns of the Capuchins. You may not find us in the streets searching for flu-stricken people, but you will find us doing everything we can to reach out to those who are suffering. Most of all, we will embrace those who are suffering in our prayers, Masses, and sacrifices. It’s the Capuchin thing to do. We’ve always done it.