Pastors keyboard: If someone were to ask me what question I get asked the most, I would have to say it is, “When will public Mass resume again”? It is the question that me and my brother priest ask each other the most and the one answer that we are most anticipating. The short answer I have received from the archdiocese is the same answer that they have received from the Governors faith based working group, which is this:
“The key milestones that need to be met in Maryland before starting to lift any restrictions: (1) Adequate PPE (185 countries are trying to obtain PPE from limited suppliers. Maryland goes through 11 million gowns per two weeks and many more million in masks); (2) Have surge capacity in ICU and acute care hospital beds (Maryland has 4,800 beds but needs 6,000 to handle potential surge after reopening. Twenty-two triage units along with opening of Laurel Hospital, Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park and the Baltimore Convention Center will get to the 6,000 beds soon.); (3) Enough testing capability; and (4) Flattening the curve (following Federal guidelines needing 14 days of decreasing deaths and hospital stays, and Maryland is not there yet. “
I know, you are thinking “where is the good news”? The good news is that Jesus is Risen! He still loves us and works to bring about our highest good. He can do “All Things”! Also, many good people in the state and government are working hard to meet these goals. So, the hope is that sometime in the near future, churches will begin to open again in Maryland. Until then, I encourage you to continue to pray and, if possible, fast and offer up penances for this pandemic.
One of the last things Patricia Ball texted me before she died was that the Lord is trying to tell us something. Not just as a culture, but as individuals. It is a good time to look at the opportunities for spiritual growth that can still take place now in this new normal. Some questions we should ask ourselves are:
1) What is most important in my life?
2) What can I live without and what can I not live without?
3) Who do I wish I could most visit with at this moment?
4) When things do start to open again, are there important changes I need to make in my mind set, life, and how I spend my time and waste my time?
5) Was there any good I got out of this experience that led me to trust in the Lord more?
How we answer these questions can tell us a lot about where we have been and where we are heading.
May the Lord help us to be honest with ourselves and with Him. May we learn many good lessons that will help us to appreciate every day of life and good health. Remember that every day is a blessing! May we recognize it and strive to use what we have been given.
Your Father and Brother in Christ
Fr. Scott Woods