What Will We Learn?
By Penny Wiegert
This a time like no other. We are all, not just some, part of an entire world living through an unreal and invisible enemy commonly now known as the coronavirus.
Who would have thought weeks ago, as we prepared for Lent, that we would come to Lent’s end in our homes away from the places where we gather around a common table to be one with Christ?
First our schools closed. Then our work places slowly began to shorten hours, put new precautions in place and then finally closed. And then, sadly, our churches for common concern closed as well.
And even those people who called early precautions an overreaction began to take the numbers and daily body counts seriously. The war with a virus was waging, and everyone was needed to get in the fight. 
Our diocese began to look at ways to feed the faithful. We have worked very fast and tirelessly to find ways to keep our parishes, staffs and Catholics informed. And as I write this, that task continues.
We appreciate the understanding and prayers. But I would also like to take a moment to share some thoughts for those who remain upset because churches are closed. I would like to speak to those, who have been deeply critical and at times, downright nasty about the bishop’s decision to close churches to the public and grant dispensations from Mass. 
When the decision to stop public Masses was made, it was devastating. It seemed like someone was putting a hole in the lifeboat that was meant to save us all. No church? No homilies? No friends to pray with? No Christ in the Eucharist? What!?
But then reality kicked in. Good Friday was coming early for us. Our sacrifice was needed to help keep people alive. I decided to replace my sadness with lessons learned.
I began to recall in my mind’s eye, the thousands of folks in Haiti, Jamaica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guyana and Peru that I have had the privilege to pray with. I remember being in those countries when a journalist priest traveling with us celebrated impromptu Mass. Without any notice or fanfare, people started to gather. No matter where or what country, it seemed like people came from nowhere by the dozens to pray. I remember seeing tears on so many faces because it had been months since they had a Mass said. I remember thinking how can that be? Why were people getting so emotional? I also began to question my own faith. Did I love the Lord as deeply as these folks? What I learned from those moments is that I took the access to Mass for granted. I learned that from these good people that deep faith matters in between Masses. 
I remembered too, my first Communion. I first received the Eucharist as an adult convert to the Catholic faith. I remember clearly the anticipation of preparing to receive the Lord for the first time with the new knowledge that this was the source and summit of faith and not just bread. What a beautiful moment it was. I had learned there was something more to faith.
So now that we all will be away from the Eucharist, rather than be angry or resentful or feel sorry for ourselves, perhaps we can use this time to learn something about our faith and about ourselves.
I began to ask the question: What will the coronavirus teach us? My grandmothers always talked about the lessons they learned in living through World War II and the Great Depression. What will we tell our grandchildren about our lessons?
Will we learn to take only what we need?
Will we learn that family is our most precious jewel? 
Will we finally learn that life really is a precious gift?
Will we never again take for granted teachers, grocery baggers, sales clerks, truck drivers, and food delivery drivers?
Will we learn new respect for our freedom to go wherever we want, whenever we want?
Will we learn a new appreciation of the luxury of having food on our shelves, gas in our cars and a workplace to go to?
Will we recognize Christ outside of the Mass?
And will we relearn and truly experience the unbridled joy of being with our Lord when we finally receive Him once again in the Eucharist?
What will we learn?