Just Some Reminders
By Penny Wiegert
In our fifth week of working at home and being away from our churches and the Eucharist, in this time of pandemic I would like to say I have had time for reflection and introspection.
Nothing could be further from the truth. You can ask the hardworking staff of The Observer and El Observador. During these weeks they have worked every day keeping things up-to-date on social media, getting news and stories from our parishes who are still active online and finding ways to keep information flowing. 
We have been working hard answering emails, fielding complaints about churches being closed, complaints from those who are worried Masses are still being said publicly and folks who might be at risk, answering questions about what’s available online, following up on ideas for stories that share the good that is going on in our parishes and the good work being done by our parish priests in keeping people engaged and spiritually fed. It has been a lot of work that we are very happy to do.
We have also worked very closely with the diocesan information and technology staff of two. They have been working overtime to make sure all things technological are up and running smoothly. 
And we have been working to make sure our bishop is communicating with you all in print, on digital platforms and on video. So having said all that, every time I see a meme or jokes posted about folks being bored, I sometimes wonder when I will get bored. I wonder when I’m going to have all the extra time to clean out my cupboards or closets, to bake extra goodies, read books or have extra prayer time. Right now, we are just too busy to be bored.
So all this leads up to reminder number one. The Observer is here for you. Not only are we still coming to your mailbox, but we are online. And during this pandemic, we have removed our paywall and have made The Observer available to everyone for free at http://observertoo.rockforddiocese.org.
Reminder number two: Take some time to check out all the wonderful spiritual offerings being put online from your parish. I have seen adoration, rosaries, outdoor procession, online blessings, holy hours, and much more offered by priests and parish staffs. If your parish doesn’t have an online Mass check out your neighboring parishes. This is a great time to take a viritual tour of our diocese. Go to the diocesan website and click on parishes. Visit each one’s website. Many of our parishes even have 360 degree views of their interiors. Give yourself a virtual pilgrimage. There are some great things going on even when nothing is going on!
Reminder number three: Remember your charity. Parishes need to keep the lights on, pay the heat bills and keep the grounds and interiors clean. If you don’t have direct deposit for your weekly tithe or online giving isn’t possible at your parish, you can do what I am doing. Take your regular weekly envelope and put in your regular weekly offering (if you are still financially able) and mail them in one at a time or all together. It will really help your parish that is still working for you. 
Reminder number four: Remember this time of seclusion and separation won’t last forever. I was thinking a lot about this as I listened to Bishop Malloy’s homilies during Holy Week. I tried to picture all the beautiful souls peering into their smart phones, computers and watching on TV. Your sacrifice is great. But we will be together. I reminded myself that no matter how sad I was to be in an empty church, the next time I’m at the cathedral to take pictures I’ll be taking pictures of you — the beautiful men, women and children who make up this great diocese. We will be able to approach the Eucharistic table together. Let’s remind ourselves that that moment is worth everything we are going through. 
Final reminder: Wherever we are, whatever we do, God is with us. He is with us in sin and in grace. We may not be in church but we are God’s children and we need to speak to him each day. Yes, we need the Eucharist. But God needs to know that we are with Him not just while we are in a church but at all times. And we are staying away from one another so that we can save the life He so generously gave us.