Featured Image
President TrumpFrame from CNN video report

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 16, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump designated Sunday a “National Day of Prayer” to ask God for “protection and strength” during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is my great honor to declare Sunday, March 15th as a National Day of Prayer. We are a Country that, throughout our history, has looked to God for protection and strength in times like these,” the president tweeted. “No matter where you may be, I encourage you to turn towards prayer in an act of faith. Together, we will easily PREVAIL!”

In his proclamation, released on Saturday, the president again pointed out that in times of great need, “Americans have always turned to prayer to help guide us through trials and periods of uncertainty.”

While countless Americans were unable to participate in Mass and other religious services, “we must not cease asking God for added wisdom, comfort, and strength, and we must especially pray for those who have suffered harm or who have lost loved ones.” 

Many states have indefinitely banned gatherings of certain sizes and many Catholic dioceses canceled public Masses.

Trump tweeted on Sunday that he was watching a live stream of Free Chapel’s service. The Protestant community describes itself as “a contemporary Christian church.”

President Trump asked believers “to pray for the health and well-being of your fellow Americans and to remember that no problem is too big for God to handle.”

The president quoted “the holy words” of 1 Peter 5:7 in his proclamation. “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you,” the Scripture says.

“Let us pray that all those affected by the virus will feel the presence of our Lord’s protection and love during this time. With God’s help, we will overcome this threat,” Trump was certain.

A second intention listed by Trump was “to pray for those on the front lines of the response, especially our Nation’s outstanding medical professionals and public health officials who are working tirelessly to protect all of us from the coronavirus and treat patients who are infected; all of our courageous first responders, National Guard, and dedicated individuals who are working to ensure the health and safety of our communities; and our Federal, State, and local leaders.”

In conclusion, the president emphasized that through prayer, as well as acts of love, “we will rise to this challenge and emerge stronger and more united than ever before.”

Last Friday, Archbishop José H. Gomez, the president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), said, “God does not abandon us, he goes with us even now in this time of trial and testing.”

He called Catholics “to anchor our hearts in the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. Now is the time to intensify our prayers and sacrifices for the love of God and the love of our neighbor. Let us draw closer to one another in our love for him, and rediscover the things that truly matter in our lives.”

Like Trump, he especially prayed “for doctors, nurses, and caregivers, for public health officials and all civic leaders. May God grant them courage and prudence as they seek to respond to this emergency with compassion and in service to the common good.”

Millions of American Catholics were without the sacraments this past weekend, such as in the Archdioceses of Chicago, New York, and Washington.

At this point, Gomez has not canceled any Masses in his own archdiocese of Los Angeles. However, he limited Mass attendance to 250 people, while dispensing Catholics from fulfilling their Sunday obligation.

Gomez also banned the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue.

Other dioceses have pointed out that receiving the Eucharist in the hand is not more sanitary than receiving on the tongue.

The Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, for instance, declared that “a parish cannot ban the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue.”

The archdiocese, headed by Archbishop Alexander Sample, had consulted two doctors on the question of the manner of receiving Holy Communion. They “agreed that done properly the reception of Holy Communion on the tongue or in the hand pose a more or less equal risk.”

“The risk of touching the tongue and passing the saliva on to others is obviously a danger however the chance of touching someone’s hand is equally probable and one’s hands have a greater exposure to germs,” the archdiocese’s statement read.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a little over 1,600 cases of coronavirus on Friday, as well as 41 deaths. Worldometer speaks of more than 3,800 cases in the United States, and 70 deaths.