The following “From the Editor” column will appear in the April issue of The Central Minnesota Catholic.
I don’t know what the situation will be like when you read this, but I’m certain the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) will still be making headlines. As I write this, the first wave of cancellations and postponements of diocesan events has been announced. For late March and April, these include:
- Festival of Forgiveness (March 27)
- Delegation visits from our sister dioceses of Maracay, Venezuela, and Homa Bay, Kenya
- Leadership Day with Ann Garrido (April 16)
- Spring Mission Rally (April 23)
This is in addition to the canceling of many parish events, including breakfasts and fish fries. Lent this year has been marked by an unexpected and unwanted surprise. The virus has torpedoed important community-building and fundraising events. It has put lives at risk. We have been reminded yet again, frustratingly, that we don’t control everything that happens in our lives. Now, we are called to sacrifice and practice our Lenten disciplines in ways that we couldn’t imagine just a few months ago.
Although, we can’t control this pandemic, we can control how we respond. And, as Catholics, we model for others how to respond in ways that are loving, compassionate and focused on Gospel values. Here are some practical things we can do:
- Check in with relatives, friends and neighbors, especially the elderly and those with health conditions, by phone, email or social media to make sure they are doing OK and have what they need to get through this difficult time.
- Donate canned goods or money to our local food shelf. Many children and vulnerable families will need extra help for a while.
- Make good use of social media by watching streaming Masses and other prayer events, participating in online prayer groups and supplementing our spiritual reading.
- Make a conscious effort to be more generous, more patient and more understanding. These are difficult times for everyone. Treat others how you would hope to be treated. We can get through this, but only if we, like the Good Samaritan, put the needs of those truly in need ahead of our own.
- Pray for all those affected by this disease, for their caregivers and for our public officials who are working to keep us safe.
Finally, for the latest updates on the diocese’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, download the diocese’s app on myParish App to receive notifications about the latest news, follow the diocesan Facebook page and visit the diocese’s special “Coronavirus Update” page at www.stcdio.org/coronavirus-update.