Dear Friends of Napa Institute,
My prayers are with you in these trying times. The novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) crisis has touched so many lives, both with illness and hardship. We must pray for and support the most vulnerable among us.
The response to this crisis, while necessary, has crippled the financial markets and brought the world’s economies to a halt. While only a small portion of the population is vulnerable to the devastating and life-threating effects of the virus, it falls on all of us to protect their lives. As responsible citizens and Christians, we must take seriously the measures our government is asking of us. These burdens on our freedoms and economic health are sacrifices that answer the call as Christians to live our lives for others.
Like many of you, this crisis has created a tremendous burden on me and my businesses. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus Christ reminds us to consider the lilies and the birds and to let go of our earthly concerns and place our total trust in Him. This is a chance to take spiritual inventory of our lives and exercise detachment, trust, abandonment to the will of God, and return to prayer. We must discern what God is both doing in the world and in our lives at this time. We must not be led by fear and never give up hope, Jesus Christ is always victorious.
With public Masses suspended in many dioceses across the United States and a large-scale public crisis, I can not help but to reflect on the early Church. We will need to seek out opportunities for prayer and worship, that just a few weeks ago we took for granted. We must also come together to support fellow Christians and other citizens in need. They will know us by our love and sacrifice.
Solidarity is a key concept in the Christian life. Many of our parishes and apostolates are struggling in this environment. I encourage you to continue to support them while in isolation. This will pass soon, and they need to be ready to continue the work of evangelization while also making the best of this difficult situation. We want to ensure these great works survive these next few months.
Additionally, many small businesses are struggling. For example, some states have forced closures of restaurants and other businesses, leaving our small business owners with bills but no income. I ask you to consider ways you can support these businesses while they participate in the isolation for the safety of our society. We are called to come together and share our neighbors’ burden.
I pray we can use this time in isolation to disconnect from the distractions in our lives and reconnect to God and our families. I encourage you to pray a family rosary if you don’t already. I also invite all of you to pray a novena to Our Lady Lourdes for all that are suffering from this crisis.
If you begin the novena today, you will finish on the Feast of the Annunciation in 9 days. I hope you unite your prayers with ours.
While we have never seen anything like this, we can look to other countries that started dealing with the crisis earlier to estimate a timeline. We think this crisis in the United States will last 6-10 weeks and do not anticipate it effecting our July Conference. Today, Japan and the Olympic Committee made the assessment that the crisis will be over in time to start the Summer Olympics in July in Japan, as scheduled. With a robust fall and winter registration period, we still anticipate a full group in July. I pray this is the case and look forward to seeing many of you there. We will spend time at the conference reflecting on the days we are experiencing now.
We did postpone the Northern Italy Experience from April to September (September 18-27). There is still time to register for this trip and we appreciate your support, especially in this time of need. Contact Jean Jacoby for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Napa Institute registration line at 855-740-NAPA (6272).
May God protect each and everyone of you and may our Blessed Mother keep you under the protection of her mantle. Thank you for all your support and prayers. Napa Institute is like a family and we greatly appreciate each of you.
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The Spirit of God will continue to guide the Church. In His Name, the NAPA Institute will move forward with faith for the greater Glory of God. Fr José Juan Serna S.T.L.
And in addition to the link that you shared here in support for your Novena invitation, feel free to also share the following link, to support your Rosary invitation for those not sufficiently motivated or without the time to pray Rosaries. I just finished a (not-for-profit) book about that (therefore, still under the proof version for the imprimatur improvement, coming soon), to be donated as much as possible or distributed at a cost: Free download URL = https://JoAnLab.Net/Rosary ).
Thank you Tim for the timely correspondence and the Novena that we began today with the rest of the Napa Institute family. My wife. Rosemary and I have been attending the Summer Conference for the last 6 years and are planning to be there again this July. It is the most important event in our summer and we are anticipating an exceptional experience again this year with so many important issues that intersect with our faith. At this point in the Coronavirus Pandemic Response there are many more questions than answers and almost everyone and every business is suffering. When I look for something positive from this experience, I believe two things that will be of lasting value, The first is a result of widespread suspension of Masses will lead to a greater appreciation for the Eucharist by all Catholics. Secondly, as people of faith we can better accept this crisis and serve as a beacon to others by lending our support wherever appropriate. In a way this is evangelizing. Many Americans are realizing or the first time in their life their own mortality and perhaps some of them will look to God for comfort and salvation. Blessings to all.
A well thought out message. Thank you. May we all desire only that this time brings us closer to Him and may we be willing to discern His will and to follow..
The Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes will be effective. I have been blessed to witness both spiritual and physical healing from Our Lady.
Prayers for your family and for your flock. I know that your family ministers to many in so many ways. I look forward to meeting you one day soon. You and yours are in my prayers.
Tim Bush continues to exemplify the kind of courage and devotion, despite financial obstacles, that we hope will continue in all the faithful. The likelihood of protecting everyone from a virus is small, but the ability to isolate and protect our most vulnerable is realistic. Moreover, "spreading out" the movement of the virus so as to "flatten the curve" of demand on our health facilities is also a reasonable request. Exactly how isolated each person or family needs to be is truly questionable, but keeping a safe distance and practicing frequent hand washing for a long enough time to say an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be will significantly lessen the spread of the virus. Let us all pray that it does not mutate into a form any more deadly than it already is. Finally, may we take hope in the indications that the peak of the outbreak seems to have passed in some places--and that prayers seem also to have helped. May God protect and bless us all. Fr. Patrick Dolan, PhD, STD
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