One Pandemic Storm Leads to Many ‘Boats’ of Experiences
McHenry parish plans live and online event to help get all “boats” on better course.
By Amanda Hudson, News Editor
August 6, 2020
MCHENRY—“I’m not think-ing we’ll solve any problems. I just want people to know we are all walking together,” says Father Paul White, pastor of Church of Holy Apostles.
His parish is holding a virtual and in-person program on Aug. 9 to give parishioners a chance to talk about their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program, One Storm, Many Boats, will allow people to register and participate in a short day of reflection via one of 10 groups: 
– Living Alone; 
– Parents; 
– Grandparents; 
– Frontliners; 
– Health Issues; 
– Grief; 
– Financial; 
– Small Business; 
– Educators; and 
– Teens. 
Here’s how to take part
The Church of Holy Apostles Day of Reflection will be held Aug. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. It will be available both on Zoom and in person. Registrants choose a category that best fits their needs.

The day will begin in the Church of Holy Apostles for an opening talk and then will break into small groups. As at parish Masses, masks and social distancing are required for in-person participants. The people who are Zooming will be included in the small group discussions.

The event is free. 

Info: Church of Holy Apostles Facebook page at
The gathering will let those in the same “boat” discuss their experiences with their peers.
“What is most important,” says the parish Facebook invitation, “is that we all remain connected and share our struggles with each other.”
As one who has been a frequent presence at the area hospital before and during the pandemic, Father White is aware of the exhaustion experienced by medical workers, of the complicated grief of people whose family members died without them present, and of some people’s politicization of important preventive measures.
“We had a lot of COVID at our hospital,” he says. “I was at the hospital a lot (especially) in April and early May. ... Three nurses from the parish got sick. They got well, but it took something out of them.”
From the beginning of the COVID shutdown for the next 10 weeks, Father White provided a Facetime Live four nights a week for anyone who wanted to watch — and 50-120 devices tuned in each time, he says. 
Through that venue, he talked “to all different kinds of people ... asking them questions about their experiences.” 
His speakers included teens, parents, people in other states including a minister in New Jersey when New York was hit hard, and some health care workers.
“I stopped in June,” he says, as churches began to open up. 
The focus now is on the school year, he adds. But before the school year begins, Father White thinks this day of reflection will at least allow his parishioners (and others) to talk. 
“I just want a place for them to share (their experiences and thoughts) instead of just (complaining) on Facebook,” he says. “We’re all disoriented (and) trying to deal with our (new) norm.”
It’s an attempt, Father White adds, “to just try to get people more oriented” within what he sees as something of “a marathon” that he predicts could last in some manner until Easter. 
He also thinks a “COVID syndrome” will be identified in the future even as society goes back to some sense of normalcy.
Through this event to bring all the different parishioner “boats” into one parish “boat,” Father White says he hopes “we can see how to go forward.”
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