In many ways our lives have been turned upside down. We can’t socialize like we normally do and in some cases we can’t even hug the ones we love. Some might ask “where is God in all this?” Well, I can tell you exactly where God was on March 19th.
It was St. Joseph’s Day and it’s one I’ll remember forever. For many, this is a day to be celebrated not only with prayer and thanksgiving to St Joseph but also with delicious pastry, preferably from an Italian bakery. And if you happen to be named Joseph or Josephine, this day may include a family celebration.
So what happens to all this in the world of social distancing? We can definitely pray and give thanks. No problem. If we’re lucky, we can even get sfingi and zeppole. Not a huge problem. But what about celebrating someone that we cannot be with in person? What do we do about that?
Well, I found out. Fr. Thomas’ soon-to-be 95-year old mother is Josephine, so March 19th is her day. I had seen Fr. Thomas the day before and he was lamenting that he wouldn’t be able to celebrate and bring his mom pastries as he usually would because the Jeanne Jugan Residence, where she lives, is closed to the public now. Needless to say, I was really surprised when my phone rang on the 19th and he said he was going to his mom’s for St Joseph’s Day.
He had arranged with the Sister in charge to go on the grounds and hold up a sign that he had made and they would bring his mom to the glass doors. I was lucky enough to be “in on it” and hold up one end of the sign. So there we stood on the patio with “Happy Feast Day. St Joseph Pray for Us” for all to see. Not only that, Fr. Thomas arranged to call the front desk and get the call transferred to the phone in the room where his mom was, so they could talk while looking at each other through the glass doors. (The new “face to face.”)
This was love in action. There’s no doubt that Fr. Thomas’ mom, Josephine, felt celebrated, special and loved. He didn’t allow the quarantine and social distancing rules to be doors that would keep him from his mother on her feast day. Instead he found a way to transform them into stained glass windows and let his love shine through.
Nothing can stop love, not even the coronavirus. So maybe during this time of social distancing, the Lord is challenging us to get creative and find new and different ways to express our love…to our family members, our neighbors, and especially to those that are working in all the different service industries that make our lives more livable and safe at the moment. Like Fr. Thomas, I accept the challenge.
– Elaine (NY)