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Christians & Coronavirus:

Staying Connected in Christ

MARCH 25, 2020



I am an only child and have spent the majority of life living alone. My parents were both the youngest from large families and I had many aunts and uncles and first cousins - all are now deceased. I have lived the majority of my adult life by myself with a brief stint with a roommate when I first moved into an apartment. I realized during that time that you don’t have to be alone to experience loneliness.

I have learned to deal with separation over the years by keeping myself busy and involved in a variety of activities. I have moved 13 times since I graduated from college so I have a lot of experience in finding activities that interest me and keep me from being lonely. My last move was to Milford 25 years ago and I found my way to St. Andrew Church to register as quickly as possible.

I was a commissioned Eucharistic Minister in the Cleveland Diocese, so I signed up right away to continue that ministry in my new parish. St. Andrew Church has become my parish family and I have been involved in numerous activities including: Coordinator of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Choir, Worship Commission, Bible Study, RCIA, and was fortunate enough to take 4 parish pilgrimages to the Holy Land and recently to Greece and Turkey walking in the steps of Jesus and his disciples. I even earned my Lay Pastoral Ministry Certificate after 3 years of study at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary, the Athenaeum.

But in the last few weeks, loneliness has taken on a new dimension that I was not used to. Suddenly, there are no more activities; no Mass, Choir, RCIA or serving Holy Communion to my fellow parishioners. We are asked to practice ‘social distancing.’ Loneliness has evolved into isolation and I am not as sure about how to deal with this feeling. Activities have ground to a halt which has always been my way of dealing with separation. And, worse yet, I no longer see my parish family members. There is a big difference between loneliness and isolation whether
you are living with someone or not. I have found a couple of ways to deal with this isolation.

First, during Lent I have been reading a book called No Greater Love by Edward Sri, which is a scriptural reflection on the Passion and Death of Christ. I have been thinking about isolation and realized how disconnected Christ must have felt when Judas, one of his beloved disciples, sold him into slavery and death for a few pieces of silver. And Peter, the favored one, denied him 3 times out of fear for his life. Imagine how he felt on the streets of Jerusalem as people lined the streets, spitting on him, laughing and mocking him. Certainly, Christ understands
friendlessness and empathizes with us through this crisis. Secondly, I remembered a prayer that I found in my mother’s prayer book after she died (see picture below). She said this prayer every night before falling asleep. It is a beautiful prayer and also has been a great comfort to me in the last few weeks.

As we walk with Jesus on those streets in Jerusalem over the next few weeks, let us remember that Jesus will rise on Easter and we will follow him there also.


Cathy O’Toole

St. Andrew Parishioner

Cathy O'Toole Prayer.jpeg
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