Paul Smeaton reports for LifeSiteNews — Bishop Joseph E. Strickland of Tyler, Texas has in the past 24 hours used Twitter to declare that participation at Mass is essential to “our life in Christ” and called on people to do penance in response to the coronavirus.
The public celebration of Mass has now been canceled in many parts of the world due to the pandemic, and many churches have also been closed altogether.
Last week, Strickland said Mass would not be celebrated publicly in his own diocese until further notice and that an update would be provided on April 1. He said he had made the decision “[h]aving consulted medical experts and heeding the guidance of the civil authorities and public health professionals regarding the critical need to limit gatherings to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, including the guidelines issued by the President of the United States in this time of national emergency.”
Strickland posted yesterday: “Let us heed the lessons we are being given. 1. The Eucharistic Liturgy & participation in it are ESSENTIAL to our life in Christ. 2. Receiving the Body of Christ is ESSENTIAL to our life in Christ. HE IS OUR DAILY BREAD. As bishop I will seek EVERY POSSIBLE MEANS to share HIM!”
Earlier today, the bishop called for repentance in response to the pandemic.
“PEOPLE OF THE WORLD FALL TO YOUR KNEES. Fall to your knees, beg forgiveness of your sins…SIN is real, beg God’s Mercy. Stop worshiping yourself, stop worshiping creation,stop worshiping your desires, fall to your knees & worship God, Father, Son & Holy Spirit. REPENT!” he tweeted.
Strickland later clarified that he was aware that he must lead the way in making acts of repentance, writing, “Just to be clear as a bishop I must be the first to fall to my knees, repent of my sins & beg God’s Mercy…..the shepherd must lead in humble service…..”
This past Saturday, Strickland stationed himself at the busiest intersection in Tyler and blessed people as they passed in their cars with the Blessed Sacrament held aloft in a monstrance.