St. Joseph, Protector of the Xaverian Brothers
From the Chapel at Xaverian House, Danvers, Massachusetts
Yesterday, I met with the staff at the Generalate in Baltimore on the Feast of St. Patrick. As we began our meeting, we prayed the St. Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer, remembering especially all of you and all who suffer from the impact of the global COVID-19 Pandemic.
As I informed our staff and the Brothers yesterday, I want to let you know that on the advice of local officials, as well as in accordance with the CDC guidelines, we at our offices in Baltimore have begun to work remotely for the time being. With the use of technology already at our disposal there will be little disruption in operations. However, there will likely be a delay in processing and acknowledging donations by mail. We appreciate your understanding if there are any delays in responding to requests for enrollments for the Sacred Heart Union, our purgatorial society, or in acknowledging your generosity.
I am happy to report that our Brothers are doing well despite the current health crisis. We have implemented restrictions regarding visitors and limited movement of our aging Brothers. I am so grateful for the Brother directors and staff at our two specialized communities, Ryken House and Xaverian House, for the wonderful care they are providing our Brothers. Likewise, our Brothers in Belgium are receiving very good care and are also on restrictions.
Our Sponsorship Office is working with administrators in our schools to support them as they move to e-learning platforms. They are holding a video call today with administrators of our Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools to speak about best practices, to support our administrators and to see how they can provide direct support to campus ministers and formation personnel so that the hallmark of Xaverian education – our formational programs – can continue in this new virtual educational world.
Our Brothers and partners in mission in Africa are just beginning to feel the effect of this recent pandemic. Although reports indicate low infection rates, this may only reflect the inability to do significant testing. As you may know, Congo recently treated their last Ebola patient, so, please God, systems are already in place there to help them deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. In Kenya, certain parts of the country have already been suffering famine due to climate change issues – drought in some areas and flooding in others. Certain parts of the country have also experienced a horrible infestation of locusts. We continue to remain in contact with our Brothers in Africa, as well as Haiti during this time.
Please be assured that our Brothers are praying for each of you in an even more fervent manner at this time. We are following the example of our Holy Father in seeking recourse to our Blessed Mother at this time, using the prayer we were all taught in our youth:
REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
As we approach the Feast of St. Joseph tomorrow, may we also ask his intercession for each of you and your families during this time.
Brother Daniel Skala, C.F.X. | General Superior