There is much we cannot control about the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can control our response to it. If we respond with faith, hope and love, and give God the control, we can, as His disciples, be a part of His plan. His plan is bigger than any evil in the world. And His promises to us are more powerful than any virus.
The people of God throughout our diocese are responding. Throughout salvation history, our God has brought good out of suffering. Good Friday and Easter are all the proof we need. Meanwhile, as disciples of Christ, He calls us. He gives us the privilege to serve Him and to join Him by helping our neighbors, by leading them to Him.
The Diocese of Pueblo, the bishop, the pastors and staff, and the people of God are rising to the challenge. They are reaching out in the safe ways still open to us. They are providing the world with corporeal and spiritual works of mercy.
Linda Funk from Dove Creek has been sewing masks to donate while she prays for healing for our world. Scott Richards of Pueblo volunteers his time to help improve the livestream events the diocese is working to share, while Yolanda Bellgardt of Grand Junction helps with the streaming at St. Joseph.
The Sandoval family has been making pictures and cards to send to nursing homes. The elderly have already been in isolation for weeks with no visitors. They have enlisted friends to start a campaign of cheery artwork and encouraging notes. Mom, Mary, encourages others to help: “My cousin is working in a nursing home and noted the isolation that the residents are feeling while the community that loves them so dearly is now loving them from a safe distance. Being aware of this and of what a gift it is to serve in some way, families are encouraged to send a little sunshine through the mail.” It is safe to send via mail. Nursing home facilities use decontamination procedures with incoming mail.
Pastors and their staff have mobilized quickly to find new ways to feed their flock. When the Israelites wandered in the desert, far from the Promised Land of milk and honey, God sustained them with manna and water. Now our parishes must provide that manna until we can return joyfully to Mass and receive our Lord in the Eucharist. Like many of our priests, Fr. Don Malin of the San Juan Catholic Community is streaming Masses and events, guiding his people with Facebook, Flocknotes, etc. Pastors in the field are using emails and phone calls and offering Confession when possible. St. Paul the Apostle has a timely Stations of the Cross on their YouTube Channel and St. Joseph did a virtual St. Joseph’s Table event for the feast day.
Finally, the Diocese has been working intensely to both aid the pastors in administrative and liturgical concerns, but also to attempt to provide more resources and online options for the people. Dr. Seth Wright from the Office of Missionary Discipleship has developed a dedicated COVID-19 response website to which he is adding resources daily to help us all grow as disciples of Christ during this unique opportunity. Our bishop is greatly concerned that we not spread this life-threatening virus to others. He is reaching out on social media to share his love for us, streaming Masses, writing, and making videos.
But the bishop, pastors, diocesan and parish staff need your help. Support this work by sharing your faith and these resources to others who may be frightened or feeling alone. Ensure your neighbors get printed versions of the resources, if they do not have internet. Ensure that the elderly in nursing homes are given the opportunity to stream local Masses.
The Diocese of Pueblo, the people of God, will become stronger disciples of Christ than had this crisis not occurred. Let us continue and persevere.