Our world and nation have struggled mightily in the battle against the deadly novel coronavirus. Nowhere have the effects been more devastating than our home state of New York, especially New York City. The numbers here in the pandemic’s current epicenter are staggering, to a populace living with the reality of a daily count of cases, hospitalizations and deaths surging upward. Of course, it is not just the numbers, rather the real people they represent—family members, friends and acquaintances, fellow parishioners, co-workers, our kids’ teachers and many others. The coronavirus, and our response to it, has removed us from our normal way of living, while also disrupting the economy in historic fashion. In mere weeks, millions of U.S. workers have been jettisoned from their jobs and placed into an unfamiliar limbo, with the financial markets struggling mightily in return. Others seek to master new ways of carrying out their work in different settings, which otherwise serve as their living rooms or kitchens. The need to stay indoors to curb the spread of the virus has made the City That Never Sleeps seem more like a remote outpost. To keep parishioners safe in accord with the stringent standards now in place for public gather
ings, the Church has instituted changes, too. Parishioners are not currently permitted to attend Masses or other public devotions in churches of the archdiocese. Concerted efforts, big and small, have been made to bring televised and live-streamed Masses to parishioners from St. Patrick’s Cathedral and parish churches across the archdiocese. The uncertainty and unfamiliarity that is the new normal in our daily lives is compounded by the necessity of remaining away from the home parishes where Catholics normally gather each week to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. During Palm Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Cardinal Dolan summed up our current state of affairs by saying, “We find ourselves in a Good Friday moment” brought about by the “vicious” coronavirus. “We’re apprehensive, we’re anxious, we’re alone,” said the cardinal in his homily. “We may be tempted to lose trust in the One we believe to be our Lord, our Savior…We may be lured to doubt Him, even to abandon Him.” Catholics, he added, must tell a different story, especially this Holy Week. We are called to be “faithful, not fickle,” standing up for the Lord, not turning away from Him as many of His disciples did, the cardinal said. In this time when we may be unsure of how
to proceed, we should remember the example of Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice on Calvary on Good Friday and then rose from the dead on Easter morning, so that we would have the promise of eternal life. The ultimate victory did not come with a guarantee that we would never struggle or always be without hardship. In the fight against the coronavirus, we are heartened by powerful examples of people living for others in inspired ways, such as heroic first responders who maintain public safety and respond to emergency situations, often at great personal peril, and health care workers, especially those working feverishly to save lives in overtaxed hospital emergency rooms, where personal protective equipment is in short supply. The rest of us now spending more hours at home should try our best to use the time well to discover ways to build up our families by communicating better, respecting each other and reaching out to others who may be alone or in distress, via phone or online, in ways that are consistent with our Christian beliefs. We should be lifted by the assurance that the Risen Lord is always with us because He promised as much to His disciples. (Mt 28:20) A Blessed Easter to all our readers.