Catholic Archbishop prays for public health and protection

As The Bahamas prepares to celebrate its 47th Independence tomorrow, Roman Catholic Archbishop Patrick Pinder, in a virtual service, prayed for public health and protection, as The Bahamas and the world grapple with the still surging COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been largely spared so far, thank God, but let us not drop our guard,” said Pinder in his online address. “Let us continue to be vigilant in observing the protocols for our safety and for our protection.”

The archbishop urged Bahamians to be vigilant in observing protocols put in place for their safety and protection.

“We must be vigilant in our various requirements like wearing the face mask properly (over the nose and mouth and securing it under the chin, trying to fit it snugly against the sides of the face), washing our hands regularly (and often, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time; use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available); and, of course, practicing social distancing (staying at least six feet away from others, and avoiding contact with people who are sick).”

The Bahamas has 106 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Wednesday, July 8; 11 deaths; 89 recovered cases; zero hospitalized cases; six active cases; and completed 2,489 tests.

Yesterday’s two new confirmed cases on Grand Bahama were the first since June 14. Of the total number of confirmed cases, 82 were on New Providence; 10 on Grand Bahama; 13 on Bimini; and one on Cat Cay,

Worldwide, up to yesterday, there were 11,900,885 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 545,728 deaths.

In his gospel message, Pinder referenced the 12 Apostles, who Jesus asked to go, seek and find the lost, and to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

“Prophets, as you know, are mouthpieces. Their task is to speak – and to speak the truth – even the uncomfortable truth…wherever, whenever and to whomever that truth needs to be told. What is wrong needs to be put right, no matter who gets upset about it,” said Pinder.

He said the message of the prophets is usually an unsettling one, and that the message can sometimes be abrasive.

The archbishop said the prophets were the original ones to speak truth into power, and usually ended up paying the price so often.

In his sermon, he suggested that there was also another aspect to the message of the prophets, directed to the human heart, which he said is a call, perhaps even an invitation to a change of heart, to conversion.

Pinder said a glimpse of that is seen in the words of Hosea: “Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety, break up for yourselves a new field for it is time to seek the Lord, ‘til he comes and reign down justice upon you.”

“That’s a challenge, but also an invitation. Our world, our community, has so much that needs to change for the better, but that change has to start somewhere, and the best starting place for that change is with me. I must model the change I’d like to see come about in our world and in our community. I must start with me and that means conversion, a change of heart, on my part,” said Pinder.

That, too, he said, is the message that prophets like Hosea delivered.

During his service, Pinder offered an act of spiritual communion during the virtual service, as he could not do it physically.

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