About a year ago, I received the honor of becoming the associate editor of The Central Minnesota Catholic magazine. Mainly, that means I get to help plan what goes into each issue and work collaboratively with my editor, Joe Towalski, in managing the day-to-day operations of our print publication.
Just before Easter when the executive order came about for us all to stay home, I wondered how we would be able to continue to tell the stories of the people around the Diocese of St. Cloud, especially when our churches were closed, our diocesan offices locked and most people were tucked away safely in their homes.
Silly me. Just a quick glance through my Facebook feed any time of day showed me that the Church has never been more alive. From early morning Masses to robust school and faith formation activities to Night Prayer, there is not a time of day that someone isn’t working to keep us all connected to our faith. The creativity and commitment people have made to one another, to their faith, to their vocation is overwhelming! Every single day I am graced with new stories, new insights, new ways people are worshiping, celebrating their faith and truly being church to one another through service and kindness.
Over the last several weeks, we adopted the hashtags #wearethechurchtogether and #catholicproudstcloud. No two lines could better convey the love I feel for our parishes, schools and organizations. The dedication of the teachers and principals, the priests and parish staff, our religious communities and Catholic organizations, the countless volunteers and my teammates at the Pastoral Center and Chancery offices humbles me to my knees.
Nothing has been easy. We all miss the Eucharist. And even though it is what unites us, even the absence of it has caused divisions. But Jesus did not say life would be easy. He said to take up our cross and follow him. And that’s what I see everywhere I look – so many people making sacrifices – all those on the front lines providing essential services and healthcare, parents trying so hard to work and keep their families strong and safe, all those who are lonely, afraid, sick and stressed.
St. Augustine said, “Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times: Such as we are, such are the times.”
We are the times. The choices we make now – including the judgments we have on others – will all be part of our history. What will you remember about this time? What will people remember about you? The people we once were we might not be again. This time has changed us. Has it changed us for the good? Have we accepted our cross? Have we learned to help others carry theirs? Have we been Eucharist to each other? What stories will you tell? I’d love to hear them.
Try writing your own blog post or send me your story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.