These are strange times.  In many ways I am at a loss for words.  So much that was familiar has been taken away.  Some of our parish members are not sure how they will pay the bills, hourly workers and small business owners.  Some will be in an empty house and miss the precious few opportunities they had to socialize with others.  Some will miss sports entertainment or everyday comforts, like toilet paper or dining out, that are now difficult to come by or unavailable.  Still others, who work in health care (or grocery), may find themselves working double time or constantly on high alert.  We owe them gratitude.  Amidst all these different circumstances, we are to look to God to provide us the strength we need (Matthew 6).

How are we to make sense of this?

Even in the midst of social distancing, it is clear that we need each other.  The little precautions – hand-washing and general caution – help protect everyone.  Workers need employers; employers need workers and patrons.  Those living alone need a kind face, a kind word.  If we take no precautions, COVID-19 will cripple our health care system and cripple the sick for a time.  Working together can do some to alleviate the public health crisis.  There probably has not been this much asked of ordinary citizens uniting for a common cause since World War II (with its rationing of food and supplies and disrupted work force…and a 15-year old playing pro baseball).

This should also be a time of reflection.  This will be especially true for me.  How do I minister to people and be with people when I cannot physically be with them?  What is the significance of a priest praying for those entrusted to his care?  Will I truly feel the struggles and challenges that this disruption has for people’s lives?  I will need a separate letter to guide your reflections and prayer during this time.

St. Joseph, Pray for us.

May God bless you and grant you His peace,

Fr. Rob