Catholicism in the time of Covid

This image circulated social media the other evening: a completely blacked out map of the United States. Someone had been tracking each dioceses’ responses to covid and social distancing, and on Sunday, all public Masses had been canceling across the entire country.

public-masses-canceled

It was startling and heartbreaking to see this. We had already seen this happen across Italy, and we knew it would be coming to the US. I even agree with the measure; nevertheless it it is very hard to accept.

(Also: if you doubt the idea of social distancing and taking extreme measures in general, please read 1) De Civitate website, 2) this piece on social distancing on Vox, and 3) start following Michael Brendan Doughertry on Twitter. I’ve followed him for quite awhile, and he was one of the first people to take this seriously.)

I remember learning as a child about the faith of the Japanese Catholics under their harsh rulers. Catholics who had to go years, even as many one or two hundred years, without a priest or Mass. They had been baptized and catechized, and then watched as their government killed and exiled all remnants of the faith, including the clergy. Yet, when new missionaries, including Fr. Bernard-Thadée Petitjean, arrived generations later, they found faith among the people. The children knew their prayers and catechisms, even without every witnessing a Mass or meeting a priest or religious. The Church has suffered much persecution and hardship in her history, and I believe we can model ourselves after these fervent Christians who held close to Jesus and Mary even without the presence of the sacraments. (To learn more about the Japanese catholics, click here.)

The greatest consolation for me is that Mass has not been canceled, outlawed or banished. Just public Masses. Maybe that doesn’t seem like it is much of a difference. However, the Sacrifice of Jesus on the Altar continues. Priests can still offer glory to God and pray to the Trinity on our behalf. The Mass is still the perfect prayer, even if we are not there.

These times are certainly unsettling and I kind of can’t believe we are experiencing this- no one ever thinks they will live to see this type of thing happening. Let us maintain faith through personal and family prayer and taking part in the many live-streaming and recorded Masses and devotion.

My greatest fear at this time is that diocese or priests will limit Confession times and the Last Rites. I’m begging God daily that hospitals and state officials will not deny priests from hospices, hospitals and the bedsides of the sick- and that priests will have the courage to continue their ministry. The sick must not be denied this mercy, but sadly we are already hearing of these cases. Let us fast and pray especially for those about to die and for those priests and medical workers who are serving them at their last hour.

Here is a great prayer to start with!

Annie and John-Paul from PrayMoreNovenas.com have started a Pandemic Novena. It’s okay to start it late 🙂

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Father in Heaven, have mercy on us and on the whole world. We come to you today with our fears and concerns — You know what’s in our hearts. We love You, trust You, we need You. We ask You to be with us. Stay with us. Help us through these times of uncertainty and sorrow.

We know you are the Divine Physician, the healer of all. And so we ask that you bring your loving and healing presence to all those who are sick and suffering right now. Please comfort them.

Please be with the grieving families of those who have passed away. 

Please have mercy on those who have died, may they be with You in heaven. 

Please stand at the side of all medical professionals who are putting themselves at risk while they work to bring healing to others.

Lord, we are scared and we are sorrowful. Please heal us. Send us your peace and overwhelming presence. 

(Mention your intentions here)

We ask the Fourteen Holy Helpers, those who lived during the time of the plague, to pray for us and all who are at-risk!

Jesus, we thirst for You. You chose to enter this world as a vulnerable baby. Be with the most vulnerable now. Help us to continue to return to You with our whole hearts throughout this ordeal. 

Amen. 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

My Favorite Toddler Books

Reading to babies and toddlers isn’t always the great experience we imagine it will be. They throw, rip, and eat the books. I remember with my first child thinking that I will start reading right away…and she couldn’t sit for longer than maybe 30 seconds at a time! How do you read to this age?

After finding a Montessori book at a garage sale when she was 6 months old, my perspective changed. The Montessori method of education encourages the type of activities that include the entire person- including movement, real-life work, thought, play and book learning. With this in mind, I started to try introducing books to my children primarily through songs, actions and touch.

Touch and feel/ open flap and rhyming & songs books engage the entire toddler and teach them that books are something to interact with (in a way that isn’t eating them. 😉 )

The beautiful thing about children is that they love and crave repetition, so even with a small home library, you can nurture your baby and toddlers love for books!

A few of my my Favorite Toddler Books:

(Links and photos to come!)

Mother Goose Anthology

Where is Spot?

Usborne “Is that my Lamb?” (and all the others in the series)

Usborne “Peek Inside” Series

Hide and Seek Forest

Slide and Find Trucks

Animals

Moo, Baa, La la la!

Good Morning, Goodnight!

Peekaboo Zoo

And of course…Goodnight Moon!