Greetings to you from the Marian Center in Joy Valley! Just as the snow melts away and we want to spend more time outdoors — we get hit with a pandemic. The rapid spread of the coronavirus will surely make this a more sacrificial Lent. Is there any doubt that we need more prayer?
No matter what your thoughts and personal feelings are on this virus and the way it’s being managed, we all need to remember that we are sacrificing not only for our families, but for all those who are most vulnerable, the elderly, and those with pre-existing conditions.
A friend summarized it well, “When the plague hit Italy in the 16th Century, Saint Charles Borromeo said Mass in the streets and people observed at a distance, from their windows. Watching Mass on EWTN is observing from our window.”
Don’t panic. Be careful. Take precautions. And don’t be so mad about the Church’s actions. Someone is in charge of the Church, and it’s not us.
This week, we are going to focus on the elephant in the room, the coronavirus. We’ll talk about how you can keep your spiritual life going through this time, through sacrifice and prayer, and things to do with your family as you’ll undoubtedly be spending a lot more time together.
So, let’s dive into some resources that will, hopefully, enrich you, inspire you, and help you to fall more in love with our Suffering Lord!
Pray, Hope and Don’t Worry
Realizing that this can be a time of great fear, we found some resources to help frame your thinking and give peace to anxieties that can be running high right now. Of course, the biggest advice we are hearing is to wash our hands and limit our contact with others, especially in large groups. Well, there’s a great way to incorporate prayer with this healthy habit! Check out How to Handwash Catholic Style! It’s a great reminder to pray while we practice good hygiene!
We found an article, Help Flatten the COVID-19 Curve with Faith and Reason, which has some simple and prayerful guidelines to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Challenging Our Faith
The closing of parishes and suspending of Masses in many areas has people everywhere with mixed feelings, including us. We are trusting in God and being obedient to our Bishop in trying to prevent the spreading of this virus. There is a wonderful article by Steve Skojec regarding this very thing, Prudence and Pandemic: Considerations on Coronavirus, which puts into perspective the challenges we face by looking at history and drawing from the wisdom of others, including St. Thomas Aquinas.
If you, like those of us here in the Diocese of Gaylord, will not be able to attend the Mass and receive Our Lord in the Eucharist, you may watch the Mass online or on television and make a Spiritual Communion. We found a great article, If You Cannot Receive Communion Make A Spiritual Communion, it’s very informative in explaining what a Spiritual Communion is and how to make one.
The Family that Prays Together
Because of school closures and people trying to restrict their time in public places so as not to unknowingly spread this virus, you may find that you are spending a lot of time at home with your loved ones. It can be challenging to spend a lot of time in a smaller space with the same people, but it can also be an occasion for grace! Praying together is an awesome way to spend some time over the next days and weeks!
For those of you who cannot attend Mass this weekend because of the coronavirus, Catholic Icing has a great resource for alternative things you can do as a family to keep the Sabbath Holy.
Saint Michael, Pray for Us
In our readings, we also came across this story of how St. Michael miraculously intervened in stopping a deadly plague. Pope St. Gregory the Great saw a vision of St. Michael after invoking his intercession! You can read the story here. St. Michael, pray for us!
This coming Thursday, March 19, is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. As you probably already know, Lenten penances and sacrifices do not have to be observed on a solemnity, and are, in fact discouraged! So, feel free to indulge a little in celebration of this great saint! It is not a coincidence, however, that St. Joseph’s feast is during Lent. Read St. Joseph is the Great Exemplar of Lenten Virtues to learn why he’s the perfect saint during this liturgical season!
If you were at the Marian Conference a couple years ago, you would have heard Fr. Donald Calloway speaking. He is the author of many books, but his most recent about St. Joseph is extremely popular and is spreading like wildfire! We have the book here at the Center, so let us know if you would like a copy!
Our Lady is always there for us in times of strife. She is our heavenly mother and we can turn to her in prayer for anything. Here is a Marian Novena we found for protection against the coronavirus.
We found this video from Sienna, Italy, which is inspiring and a beautiful testament to the human spirit and the power of song. Watch to see how people, who while in lockdown because of the coronavirus, joined their voices together in an uplifting way.
On March 17, we celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick. Most of us know a little about this great saint. The world celebrates with shamrocks and all things green, but St. Patrick’s story is much deeper and he has a great lesson to teach us about humility. We found this article, What St. Patrick Can Still Teach the World, which talks about his life and how his story is relevant today.
While many of us will not be attending Mass this Sunday, it is important to keep the Lord’s Day. A great way to do this is to read the Mass readings and pray with them and ponder them. Dr. Scott Hahn’s reflections are a fantastic way to pray with the scriptures!
If you have school-aged kids who go to public or private school, you will probably be spending more time with them in the next few weeks as schools are closed until early April. Here are some fun ideas of ways to celebrate some great saints this week and a Lenten activity.
—Crown of Thorns
—St. Patrick’s Day
—Solemnity of St Joseph
Marian Center Update
Because of the suspension of Masses in our Diocese, we will be postponing the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and celebration of St. Joseph’s Feast Day/Marian Center Anniversary we had scheduled for next weekend. Fr. Peter Wigton will be offering all of you and the Marian Center in his private Mass intentions on the Feast of St. Joseph.
The Marian Center will also be open only by appointment. Whether it’s coronavirus or simply a snow day, when St. Francis Xavier School and Parish are closed, then we are closed as well. But if you need something, please call us at 231-347-6279, and we can make arrangements to be available.
To Christ Through Mary,
Katie Moe and Lori Mercer
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