Catholic Emergency Preparedness

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by David Nussman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  May 19, 2020   

Book of prayers for times of crisis

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A new book seeks to guide Catholics through emergencies and times of crisis.

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Deacon Nick Donnelly

Deacon Nick Donnelly is the author of upcoming book Catholic Survival Guide for Times of Emergency, set to be published by TAN (Tuum Adoramus Nomen) Books.

Donnelly, who is based in the United Kingdom, told Church Militant last week, "My forthcoming book from TAN ... gives the faithful the doctrines and devotions to enable us to face crises in our lives with the knowledge and fortitude that God always meant us to have, but which have been sadly neglected since Vatican II."

An official summary of the book says it will "help you know what to do when deprived of confession or Holy Communion; when suffering life-threatening situations without a priest; when preparing for God's judgment on your own; if a family member is dying on their own and if grieving without the assistance of a priest."

Donnelly elaborated in his comments to Church Militant:

When deprived of  confession or Holy Communion, God in His providence has given us the Act of Perfect Contrition and spiritual Communion. A Catholic Survival Guide for Times of Emergency sets out the conditions established by the Church for these devotions to be efficacious instruments of sanctifying and eucharistic grace. When suffering life-threatening situations without a priest, my book explains step-by-step the traditional art of dying well and devotions to St. Joseph that prepare us for the grace of a happy death.

The summary goes on to state, "A Catholic Survival Guide for Times of Emergency will also provide you with Sacred Scripture for times of emergency, traditional prayers for times of national emergency and guidance about when and how to perform an emergency baptism."

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Donnelly wrote the book in recent months, during the ongoing Wuhan virus pandemic. 

"As I watched the news of churches being closed around the world," he said, "I became more and more concerned that the faithful would be facing a life-threatening illness without the sacraments or assistance of their clergy."

He went on to state, "As a deacon, I found it unbearable thinking of my fellow Catholics being quarantined in a hospital and coping with serious illness, even dying, on their own."

"So I started to think about how I could help," Donnelly said. "I knew that God in His providence would have provided the means to give His people the wisdom and graces to face this test. I turned to the wealth of traditional devotions and found so many ways that Catholics in the past rose to the challenge of plague and other calamities."

As a deacon I found it unbearable thinking of my fellow Catholics being quarantined in a hospital and coping with serious illness, even dying, on their own.

This research into traditions led to a number of articles, some of them published by Church Militant.

For practicing Catholics, an especially devastating part of the Wuhan virus pandemic has been the loss of access to Mass and the sacraments.

In March, every single Catholic diocese in the United States instituted a ban on public Masses. Two months later, many dioceses have announced plans to gradually return to normal.

In addition to the ban on public liturgy, some dioceses have gone so far as to restrict confessions and baptisms. Others have prohibited parishes from keeping their doors open for private prayer.

Some Catholics have been irate at the bishops for taking drastic measures in the name of combating the virus. 

For example, an anonymous contributor to conservative website The Federalist recently argued, "The American bishops' decision to withhold the sacraments ... forsakes the examples of the saints, forsakes the vows of the Church and runs exactly contrary to Christ's chastisement of the Pharisees and His challenge to the Apostles to 'put out into the deep.'"

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