'Love one another as I have loved you.' (John 15:12)
“Let them manifest their love in deeds. With confidence let them make known their needs to one another so that each can find and offer to the other that which is necessary.” (TOR Rule Article 23)
St. Francis knew that everything in existence is intended for relationship and as Franciscans we are especially attuned to our relational nature. With almost everyone beginning to practice “social distancing” and self-quarantine for the foreseeable future in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we come together virtually to offer some ways to continue to engage with each other, with our elected officials, and with our friends and neighbors. During times of crisis, our faith brings us together and we reach out to one another in solidarity and love. It is through our relational love that we have compiled some resources here for our members and friends during this troubling time.
Limit Time Watching the News
While the coronavirus stories dominating the news are important, we urge you to take time to shut off the TV and focus on stories that uplift and show the goodness of people. Here are a few examples from our staff members:
- Even with schools closed, districts in many states, including Connecticut and Virginia, continue to provide school lunches at local school buildings and community centers to assure those who rely on those meals do not go hungry.
- Prayers composed by everyday people like you and me are making their way around the internet. Do you have a prayer or an intercession to share? Let us know and we will post it on our website. See the bottom of this page for links to some prayers sent by our readers.
- A reflection on the pandemic sent to us by Sr. Judith Davies, OSF from the diocese of Joliet, invites us to think of this time as sacred. Read more.
- Capuchin Franciscan Poor Clare Sister Maria Elena Romero in in Wilmington, DE offers tips on avoiding boredom as we have to remain at home for a prolonged period of time.
Ways to Connect to a Faith Community Online
We understand how upsetting it is not to be able to access a faith community. Friendships and community gatherings give us hope in times of hopelessness and the absence of these is felt deeply. There are several ways to engage in online prayer which we have been made aware of:
- Pope Francis is allowing the normally private daily mass at the Vatican to be televised as a way to be pastorally close to those suffering from the coronavirus.
- St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, MD is an intercultural community of faith with deep Franciscan roots of justice and peace. They are posting Sunday Mass in several languages on their Facebook page.
- St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle, WA is livestreaming twice on Sundays, first at 11 a.m. PT for Holy Eucharist, and at 9:30 p.m. PT Sunday night for Compline.
- Franciscan Action Network Board Member, David Seitz, OFS is posting reflections on his blog and YouTube channel.
- Beginning on Monday, March 16 at 4pm Eastern / 1pm Pacific, join our friends at GreenFaith to connect with religious leaders from different traditions for 30 minutes of reflection, mutual aid, and solace.
- Archbishop Paul D. Etienne of Seattle has been using his blog page as a means to reach out to his flock. He is posting video of his daily mass celebrations from St. James Cathedral.
- Episcopal News Service announced that Church Publishing is offering the Book of Common Prayer and several other resources free for devotional use.
Don’t Forget About Taking Action
It’s easy to lose sight of all the issues we focus on when every story we hear is about the pandemic. Especially in the face of this illness, we must remember those on the margins, those who must choose between their health and making their rent. As we move through the coming weeks, we urge you not forget the policies that affect us all, both during and after the crisis.
- In our work on immigration, FAN partners with many organizations to work for immigrant rights. Many of these partners have developed a petition to call on government at all levels to www.ProtectAllPeople.com during the coronavirus pandemic.
- As part of the digital week of action for DACA this week, March 18 will be dedicated to uplifting the voices of DACA recipients from different faith traditions and mobilizing communities of faith to advocate for DACA protections. We invite you to listen to the recording of the Interfaith Vigil in solidarity with DACA which took place on Wednesday, March 18th, at Noon ET/9 am PT.
- Vote! As the coronavirus affects more people, we must not forget our moral responsibility to vote for the good of all. Check to see if you’re registered here. We also suggest looking at this comprehensive vote by mail resource.
- As a member of the Washington Interfaith Staff Committees, FAN learned that the Domestic Human Needs Working Group hosted “A Faith Response to COVID-19” webinar on Wednesday, March 18TH, 11am EST / 8am PT where attendees heard the latest update from Washington and a discussion of ideas people of faith can use to help shape Congressional action.
- As we continue our Lenten journey, we invite you to journey towards justice with us using our new #Faith4DACA Lent Devotional. It shares stories from #DACA recipients, reflections on scripture, prayers, and actions—strengthening our resolve to face an uncertain future with courage.
- As many Earth Day events are cancelled due to the coronavirus, we see the parallel between this health crisis and the crisis which Mother Earth has endured at the hands of humans. May we continue to be attentive to the needs of each other and our earth through virtual events.
Prayers and Intentions from FAN Friends
- For the safety and well being for the 800+ residents and the team of Greccio Housing’s apartments in Colorado Springs. May God and Francis continue to be with all of them and bring them hope, peace, and provide for all of their needs.
- For Vince and Livia Nocella, both OFS members of Christ the King Fraternity in Haddonfield, NJ
- For Venus Murphy, OFS, Minister of St. John the Evangelist fraternity in Philadelphia
- Thank You for calling us to prayer — in a new way.
Thank You for calling us to fast — in ways we never imagined.
Thank You for calling us to trust in You completely.
Thank you for letting us feel our poverty in spirit — Your blessing.
Thank you in advance for the celebration we will have when this passes.
- O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
As we prepare to drastically change the way we live over these next few weeks, may we continue to keep our neighbors, including the most vulnerable, in mind during this time of crisis. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more updates and feel free to send us an email to let us know how you and your community are coping during this pandemic.
Esprit de Corps by Timothy J. Flanagan of Connecticut.