Cleansing Fire

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Thank God for NM Bishop Baldacchino

April 15th, 2020, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Finally! A bishop with the courage to reinstate public Masses for the good of souls! LifeSiteNews, the Catholic News Agency and the Washington Examiner reported that Bishop Peter Baldacchino of the Las Cruces Diocese in New Mexico has reinstated public Masses, albeit with a small attendance (5 including the priest when held in a church) but a substantive change! Let’s pray for the success of his efforts, and as an encouragement to other prelates to physically and consistently witness to the Catholic Faith.

The bishop told his priests that “depriving the faithful of the nourishment offered through the Eucharist cannot become the ‘status quo’ for the foreseeable future.” 

He continued: “We [as priests] have been called by Christ and ordained to serve the people of the Diocese of Las Cruces, to bring them hope and consolation during this difficult time.”

Bishop Baldacchino added: “It has become increasingly clear that the state shutdown will last for some time. Depriving the faithful of the nourishment offered through the Eucharist was indeed a difficult decision [on March 16th], one that I deemed necessary until I had further clarity….” 

He also recommended that priests celebrate masses outside or as drive-in services.

He noted, however, that he disagreed with NM Governor Grisham’s recent decision to list churches as “non-essential,” saying: “Sadly, the Governor is no longer exempting places of worship from the restrictions on ‘mass gatherings,’ … It seems to me that while we run a daily count of the physical deaths we are overlooking those who are dead interiorly.”

Bishop Baldacchino stressed that his decision to open masses stemmed from a desire that Catholics should have access to the sacraments, including the Eucharist, confession, and the anointing of the sick.

“We, as priests, are called to bring the Word of Life to people, we are called to minister the life-giving sacraments. Televised Masses have been an attempt to bridge the gap during this time, but I am increasingly convinced that this is not enough,” Baldacchino said. “The eternal life offered in Christ Jesus needs to be announced. It was precisely the urgency of this announcement that drove the first apostles and the need is no less today. Christ is alive and we are his ambassadors.”

Hopefully such efforts will also lead to limiting attendance as a percentage of seating capacity, instead of using an arbitrary number like ‘5,’ so that larger churches can accommodate more worshipers. So we keep praying!

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