I am very grateful that North Texans are compassionate and always ready to help a neighbor in need. This is truly a wonderful community. So it is my great hope that we will all respond to the current appearance of the Ebola virus in Dallas with that same legendary compassion…and calm. I believe that the near hysteria sweeping our community and indeed, the entire country, since the diagnosis of Thomas Eric Duncan is fueled by misunderstanding and exacerbated by overwhelming media coverage.
The facts call for a calm, reasoned approach to this situation. City, county and national health authorities have given assurances that Ebola is spread only by direct contact. Every effort and all necessary steps are being taken to identify, monitor and, when necessary, isolate affected people.
As Christians and people of goodwill, we should feel great compassion for Mr. Duncan, his family, and all those affected by this virus here and in West Africa where so many have died. We are especially grateful for the dedicated medical personnel here and abroad who are committed to stop the spread of this terrible illness.
We should also be very conscious of the escalating number of children affected by the D68 Enterovirus. And, as we enter influenza season, we must also remain vigilant in recognizing the symptoms of these more highly contagious viruses and take precautions.
Catholics attending Mass should remember that it is up to each individual to decide whether to drink from the cup at Communion. Those who suspect symptoms that may signal impending illness should refrain from doing so. Likewise, during the Sign of Peace, people may offer simpler gestures (smile, simple bow of the head) to accompany the words of peace instead of a handshake or hug.
I ask that you join me in praying for all those who are battling serious illness. May God restore them to good health, bring comfort to them and their loved ones and protect all those who offer care and treatment to them. I also pray that we can approach this time of illness with calm and compassion and that we will encourage others to do so as well.
This post is also available in/Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish