The Bishop of the Diocese of Charlotte, wherein lies UNC-Asheville has asked the faithful to seek the intercession of Sts Roch and Rosalie to end the pandemic.
“Merciful Father, through the intercession of Blessed Mary, St. Roch, and St. Rosalie, deliver us from the current attack and subsequent suffering we are enduring from the coronavirus. May we seek to assist those in need in body or spirit and ourselves turn away from sin and trust in You. We ask this in the name of the Divine Physician, Jesus Christ Our Lord.”
The truth of the power of the intercession of the saints is borne out by lived experience of the faithful of the countless examples throughout history. “Being more closely united to Christ, those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness … [T]hey do not cease to interceded with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits which they acquired on earth through theone mediator between God and men, Christ Jesus … SO by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped.” (Lumen Gentium §9) Without denying the necessity of corporal intervention and prudence, we should also hold great faith in the possibility of the miraculous.
“Miracles happen,” Pope Francis reminds us. “But they need prayer! A courageous prayer, that struggles for that miracle. Not like those prayers of courtesy: Ah, I will pray for you! Followed by one Our Father, a Hail Mary and then I forget. No! It takes a brave prayer like that of Abraham who was struggling with the Lord to save the city, like that of Moses who prayed, his hands held high when he grew weary…”.-Pope Francis, Morning Meditation in the Chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Monday, 20 May 2013
St Roch aka, Rocco or Rock—whom UNC-A campus ministry claims as a patron saint by virtue of his association with dogs, and with the similarity of name to the Bulldog’s Mascot “Rocky”—lived in France the 14th century as something of a wandering hermit, making many pilgrimages, including a three-year long stay in Rome. He contracted plague, and exiling himself to the forest he was succored by a dog who brought him bread and whose loving attention helped alleviate Roch’s sores. He has long been invoked by those who suffer from the plague and other diseases.
St Rosalia of Palermo was a virgin and hermit of the 12th Century living in Palermo, Sicily. She lived a life of prayer and penance in a cave where she died. In that cave her remains were found in 1624 after she appeared in visions to the faithful of Palermo during a plague that year ask that her bones be carried in procession through the city, after which the plague subsided.