Lent during COVID-19

A letter from the Provincial Council

April 6, 2020

Dear Friends,

This Lent was not like the ones where we give up chocolate, decide to lose weight, or commit to a regular exercise program during Lent. Even the usual Fish Fries were not available in many parts of our country.

Many of us are working from home. Some of us have lost jobs or been temporarily laid off. Wherever we are working or living, we are keenly aware of the strong recommendations of keeping physical distances, washing hands and avoiding someone who is sick. Many of us know people who have been exposed to the virus. Some of us have been exposed. We may know someone who has died. Our lifestyles have changed drastically in just a few weeks. This Lent has brought us a reminder of how frail human life can be. Our lives have changed this Lent. We did not need to figure out what to give up. Lent found us.

We come to Holy Week a bit more reflective because of what we are experiencing. We listened to the Palm Sunday reading about the crowd gathering and waving palm branches. A “crowd” of four? Or 10? Or one? Viewing the Mass and Holy Week services on television is just not the same – good for now, but not the same. Seeing even Pope Francis celebrating the liturgies in St. Peter’s Basilica without a congregation helps us realize how widespread the virus is. We are called to live in solidarity with people throughout the world whose lives have been severely disrupted. This Passion Sunday and all of Holy Week are very different.

This Holy Week calls us to great hope. We accompany Jesus in his suffering and death, trusting that God is with us as God was with Jesus. Sometimes that trust feels a bit shaky. Then we live in hope - in the hope of resurrection, of new life, of spring.

We still commemorate and celebrate these key events in Jesus’ life. We journey together as a Eucharistic community entering into the Mystery of the Passion, Death and Resurrection. We do this as a faith community, as School Sisters of Notre Dame. We know community is more than our physical presence with one another. It is formed through deep love and commitment. We are together today and throughout this coming week. Even as we are unable to be at Mass together, we continue to break the bread of our lives together in the name of Jesus, even if we need to stay apart from those we live with or if we stay at home by ourselves. We are called to be the Body and Blood of Christ now – wherever we are.

We pray together, “Give us this day our daily bread.” We are the daily bread, the Eucharist, to and for one another.

Let us pray… we continue to remember each of you in prayer.

May God be with you and give you Easter hope and peace.

The Central Pacific Provincial Council:
Sister Deb Sciano, Sister Dawn Achs, Sister Mary Kay Brooks, Sister Christine Garcia, Sister Helen Jane Jaeb, Sister Anna Marie Reha and Sister Lynne Schmidt

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