The Catholic Spirit Photo Bishop Mark Brennan blesses employees of Riesbeck’s Food Markets in Wheeling May 1. The day before, he blessed healthcare workers at Wheeling Hospital.

By Colleen Rowan
WHEELING—On May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Bishop Mark Brennan blessed employees of Riesbeck’s Food Markets in Wheeling.
“You all are enduring this coronavirus pandemic providing a very useful service, and we appreciate that,” the bishop said to the employees who gathered with him outside of the store. “People have to eat, and you are providing the food.”
The blessing, he told them, was also for all those working in essential services such as gas stations, fire department personnel, police, sanitation workers, postal workers, bus drivers, and countless others. There are so many serving the community in the pandemic, the bishop said, also noting the healthcare workers – nurses, doctors, and others – many of whom he blessed the day before at Wheeling Hospital.
The bishop asked those gathered with him at Riesbeck’s to remember all those who are working, in their prayers. “Whatever work we do,” the bishop said, “we offer to God, and serve our fellow human beings.”
The bishop then asked God to bless the workers gathered and to protect them from all harm as they continue to provide food for their community. “…know that we do appreciate what you’re doing, and we do value your good work.”
In his blessing, the bishop prayed: “Blessed are you, Lord God of mercy, who through your Son gave us the great commandment of love for one another.  Send down your blessing on these your servants, whose work is to provide food and other necessities to the people of our community. Protect them from harm, give them courage and strength as they do their jobs, especially during this coronavirus pandemic.  May they always put their faith in you, who lives and reigns forever and ever.”
Both blessings at Riesbeck’s and Wheeling Hospital were livestreamed on the diocese’s Facebook page.