I wrote the following as a bulletin insert before the announcement of the closing of our churches.
Eparchy of Saskatoon Family and Life Office Bulletin March 2020
“The future of the world passes through the family” St. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 79
Family PEACE in a time of crisis: In our last insert we reflected on peace. Who knew that we would be facing this incredible challenge causing such anxiety at this time? Of course, parents are grandparents are worried both for themselves and their families. Health and economic concerns regarding the effects of COVID-19 are indeed great. But imagine how our children and grandchildren are feeling. Their world also has been turned upside down. This is indeed a great opportunity for us to both grow in our faith, and to model an unshakable hope to our children and youth. It is also an opportunity to grow closer in our relationships by listening and being mindfully present to our kids. Some things to try:
- PRAY: If ever there was a time to bring our worries and fears to God, with faith and hope in His love and mercy, it is now. Also taking refuge under the protection of our Lady’s mantle by praying a family rosary, or at least a “daily decade” is a fantastic idea. Do this deliberately, go to your family icon corner, and light a candle. This is a reminder to all of us that our home is a ‘domestic church’.
- GIVE THANKS: Remember that all we have, including each other–no matter how difficult all this imposed family time might be– it is all gift. Remember to say grace before meals and thank God for all of His provision. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-8 RSVCE)
- SHARE: Try and reach out to neighbors, fellow parishioners and family who may be alone and feeling isolated. What needs might they have that you and your family could help with? This is an opportunity to model how we can reach out in love to others.
- LEARN: Discover the wonders of continuing schooling efforts at home. There is no reason not to—especially with all the resources available online. Don’t forget religious education and formation. Take time to read Scripture, or Christ our Pascha (the Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church) or other spiritual reading appropriate to their age. A certain amount of screen time is probably inevitable but try and watch some shows that have Catholic/Christian content with your kids. Things like ‘Veggie tales’ and ‘Cat chat’ give us excellent downloadable content so that secular media is not their only go to. Also take time to teach your kids homemaking skills such as cleaning, cooking, sewing and other practical things that you might not otherwise have time to teach.
- PLAY: What a great opportunity to play together! Go outside, take walks in nature, look at the stars, watch for signs of spring, play games, make crafts and do puzzles. Some space and alone time are also good and will help us all get through all this ‘togetherness’.
PEACE in our hearts and family is possible even in a time of crisis! God is with us! DPL
Here are a few links which also might be helpful: