Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos C.Ss.R. was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana. As pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned. In God’s plan, however, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In the month of September, exhausted from visiting and caring for the victims of yellow fever, he contracted the dreaded disease. After several weeks of patiently enduring his illness, he passed on to eternal life on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and 9 months.
Today, as we confront the Coronavirus, we can find both strength and comfort as we turn to Blessed Seelos in prayer.
A Prayer to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos, C.Ss.R.
God of strength,
we cry out to you in this time of doubt and fear as we face the Coronavirus epidemic.
But even during this epidemic, still we praise you O Lord,
for the witness of your servant, Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos,
who ministered to the needs of the sick and suffering
during the yellow fever epidemic in New Orleans.
He overcame his own fear so that he might offer to others your loving care.
Give to us O Lord, his courage.
Grant to us O Lord the spirit that stirred his heart to greater compassion.
Jesus, Comforter of the afflicted,
in Blessed Seelos, you have given your people
a model of gentleness and love to those who suffer.
May his gentle smile fall upon those who are sick with the virus.
In him, our eyes continually behold your gentleness.
you infused Blessed Francis Seelos with the gift of your healing.
By the help of his prayers,
sustain all doctors, nurses and hospital staff
in their ministry of care to those afflicted with the virus.
Protect them as they answer the call to serve their sisters and brothers.
May his loving compassion for victims of sickness be ours. May we, like him,
search and find you in those who suffer during this time of crisis.
Grant that we may they learn from the example of Father Seelos
and gain comfort from his patient endurance, hope in the midst of suffering
and joy in the practice of the kingdom,
where you Father, Son and Holy Spirit reign for ever and ever.