Groundhog Day Revisited

These past months of this pandemic has been likened to the movie
Groundhog Day, when the main character wakes up to relive the same day
over and over again. The futility of it was exhausting for the main character.

Might we all confess to feelings like this? Seriously, we aren’t out of this
yet? We live in the Groundhog Day of continual news of depressing
statistics of illness, crowded hospitals and overwhelmed healthcare
workers. How many people do you know who had revised plans for
Christmas? Some schools found themselves back to virtual learning.
Sometimes we need a scorecard to keep track of who is in and out of
quarantine. The list goes on of disruptions, disappointments,
inconveniences, cancellations, and even in some cases severe illness and

The editor of this Newsletter, Michelle Lucas and I were discussing this.
She said, “We attempt to continue life as normal, but it’s not normal. This in
between time is so strange. The constant decision making paired with
analyzing risk is exhausting, yet I feel like we need to live life and model
living life with faith, not fear.”

It seems we are somewhere between the beginning of this and hopefully a
time when it isn’t a main topic of discussion or planning. We are living in
this liminal time. We are not here, and we are there.

I found some direction in Pope Francis’ New Year’s wishes to the world. He
acknowledged, the pandemic is hard, but he encouraged people to focus
on the good which unites us.

The Pope’s words came back to me at our high school sophomore retreat
on Catholic Social teaching this past weekend. The topic itself was uplifting,
thinking about how our Catholic Church has held up the dignity of the
human person and prioritizes care for the vulnerable. “Whatever you do to
the least of others, that you do for me.”

While planning for the retreat I was focused on who couldn’t make it, for
one reason or another. But when I got there, I could focus on who was
there and how beautiful the retreat experience was! I hope every parent of
a student on the retreat or helped with it reads this. You can be so proud of
your sons and daughters. They conducted themselves with respect for the adults, their peers, and the topic. They processed the ethic of care for others with kindness and maturity. Led by Taylor Baar, our outstanding youth minister, and supported by the older teens, college students and
adults, the teachings came alive. I felt uplifted. I was witnessing this
meaningful formation, of the future church.

Here in our own little community, I saw vibrant faith and care for others. I
saw the young church focusing on the good that unites us. This community
was living life in faith, not fear. We aren’t out of this pandemic, but we are
holding together the threads of faith, and the Church is prevailing through it.