Archbishop reminds faithful that amid virus, Jesus is ‘Lord of the year 2020’

From the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Archbishop Vigneron celebrated Mass on the fourth Sunday in Lent with only a co-celebrant, two cameramen, an altar server and a handful of cantors — all within the government’s recommended limitations on gatherings designed to combat the COVID-19 crisis. (Photos by Paul Duda | Detroit Catholic)

During his second livestream Mass, Archbishop Vigneron says faithful are still ‘sent on mission’ even during quarantine and pandemic 

DETROIT — For the second Sunday in a row, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron stood before an empty Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament and spoke to his remote congregation through a livestream broadcast. 

The archbishop celebrated Mass on the fourth Sunday of Lent, with only a co-celebrant, two cameramen, an altar server and a handful of cantors — all in compliance with the government’s recommended limitations on gatherings designed to combat the COVID-19 crisis. 

However, despite the restrictions, social distancing and uncertainty, in his reflection on the liturgical readings, the archbishop said the faithful are still “sent on mission” even in March 2020. 

“Yes, there has to be what the authorities call social distancing, but we are not on missionary lockdown,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “We are on a mission; we continue to be sent. We are sent to give witness to our new way of seeing things, the new hope we have from seeing things with the eyes of Jesus and the heart of Jesus.”

The archbishop said that as Christians, in times of stress and difficulty, God is still Lord, and He offers graces — all the faithful have to do is see and seize them. 

In reflecting on the Gospel reading, John 9:1-41, about the man who was blind from birth and was healed through Christ and allowed to see, Archbishop Vigneron said the passage is an example of what the Lord has in store for all of His people. 

“The man who is born blind has come to faith,” the archbishop said. “He has come to a relationship with Jesus; he has entered into a covenant with the Lord and he has a new way of seeing.”

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron celebrates Mass from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament along with cathedral rector Fr. J.J. Mech on March 22, the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Likewise, the archbishop said, what God has done for all of His people is given them a new way of seeing and recognizing who Jesus is and the beauty of the cross. And, he said, everyone is called to share this new way of seeing with the world. 

“We are sent to share this good news in a world that wants to hope but is afraid to hope; especially I invite you and your families to share your witness,” Archbishop Vigneron said. 

In sharing witness, the archbishop said, the faithful must do so within the limitations required by the coronavirus response, but such witness does not end where social distancing and quarantine begin. 

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron speaks directly to the faithful of the Archdiocese of Detroit in this screengrab of a livestream Mass celebrated remotely from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament on the fourth Sunday of Lent. 

“Parents and children, share your witness, your new way of seeing things,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Share this with your neighbors, in so far as you can, so that when they see us Christians being hopeful and serene, they will say, ‘Ah, there is something that I want to have.’” 

As the archbishop concluded his homily in order to move on to the liturgy of the Eucharist with thousands of faithful participating from their homes, he reminded the remote congregation that Jesus is Lord — Lord of the year 2020, Lord even in the time of the pandemic, and invited the faithful to pray the prayer of spiritual communion and the Memorare.

Prayer for Spiritual Communion

My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you in my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto 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.