It was wet and dreary in an empty St. Peter’s Square March 27 as Pope Francis bestowed on Rome and the world an extraordinary blessing in these extraordinary times. But he defied the gloom of COVID-19 with a much-needed testament of hope amid this crisis, a hope conferred on us by the risen Lord that comforts us in hard times and which we celebrate with particular joy at Easter.

The journey to Easter in 2020 has been a journey like no other.

It was a different time and a different crisis, but in the small village of Bronte, Ont., work was hard to come by in the early 1950s.

In his recent letter to Register readers, Publisher-Editor Jim O’Leary reminded us all that “the need has seldom been greater for us to unite spiritually as communities of faith.”

The big picture

Re: Trump attack (Letters to Editor, March 15):

In response to Deacon Jurenas’ praise of Donald Trump I would like to say that Trump observes the First Commandment very well in public, but in private he wants to be worshipped and he worships money. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing society to take a hard look at what is essential and what is optional or even superfluous in our daily lives. In some respects, this material downsizing is a secular version of the spiritual exercise Catholics embrace every year at Lent.

What are priests to do in a pandemic? Much fewer things than they would ordinarily do. But the one thing they must do is to keep doing the one thing which only they can do. They cannot abandon the sacraments.

We all feel the uncertainty in the air; we all hear that low-grade anxiety buzzing in the background.

With widespread orders from bishops across North America and Europe to cancel public Masses including the Sunday Eucharist, some naysayers were bound to arise.

In place of The Catholic Register’s editorial and letters from readers, this week we are turning over this page to reprint abridged versions from a sampling of messages from Canadian bishops to the people of their dioceses as they address the COVID-19 crisis.

Millions are now home, sheltered in place, self-quarantined, working remotely, home-schooling, keeping panic at bay but feeling anxiety rise.