On 5 June 2020, Rt Rev Terence Drainey, Bishop of Middlesbrough and Chair of CSAN, celebrated Mass for all those working in organisations in the Caritas network in England and Wales. The Mass was streamed live online from Middlesbrough Cathedral.
In his homily, Bishop Drainey observed that beyond the shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, including the ‘stark and appalling number of deaths’ among loved ones, the repercussions seemed set to continue in people’s mental health, relationships and poverty: ‘There’s no shortage of work for our charities.’ He noted the increased pressure on food banks in particular during the pandemic, and the increases in child poverty that have been reported.
Turning to the death of George Floyd in America, Bishop Drainey quoted first from Pope Francis’s address at a General Audience on 3 June, ‘We cannot tolerate or turn a blind eye to racism and exclusion in any form, and yet claim to defend the sacredness of human life. At the same time, we have to recognise that the violence of recent nights is self-destructive and self-defeating. Nothing is gained by violence, and much is lost.’
Bishop Drainey added,
‘As sophisticated and developed as we think we are, the more obvious it becomes that we have a long way to go to restore justice, let alone live by Christ’s law of love. So many people are denied what they are owed, what they need, what is their right. The gap between the rich and the poor grows larger. My fear is that what drives the recovery process post-lockdown will be solely economics and finance, and people will be pushed into second place.’
In his concluding remarks, Bishop Drainey thanked the Caritas network and encouraged prayer:
‘Thank you to all who work in the charities in the Caritas network in England and Wales, for all that you do. I know that this has been for all of you a very fraught time. Your work has increased exponentially and I’m sure that in the future, as the lockdown is relaxed, your work will become even more important and even tougher. We need to keep one another in prayer daily for the support, the strength, that we will pass on the breath of the Holy Spirit to enliven all those that we meet as well.’
The Mass was recorded and may be viewed on Middlesbrough Cathedral’s YouTube channel.