Living our faith in trying times

The threat and reality of the coronavirus pandemic make it easy to be consumed by panic and fear. But this crisis can also be a time for people to grow closer to Jesus and serve those in need.

“God is clearing out space in our lives,” said Father Joseph McCaffrey, pastor of Holy Spirit Parish in the New Castle area. “We are at home more with our families, but what will we do with this time?”

“In the midst of worry, fear and a lack of control, where do our hearts turn to trust?” asked Father Adam Potter, parochial vicar of the parish grouping in Pittsburgh’s Oakland, Greenfield and Hazelwood neighborhoods.

“We need to listen to the doctors and take health precautions, but we also need to pray— putting our trust in the Father and calling on the Blessed Mother and the angels to protect us,” he said.

In an article entitled “A Faith Response to the Coronavirus,” Paul Canavese, director of The Pastoral Center in Alameda, CA, wrote that fear can alert people to dangers and keep them safe, but can also lead to selfish responses.

Canavese cautioned against hoarding food and sanitary and medical supplies, and urged Catholics to look after the weak, adopt a spirit of sacrifice, love our neighbor, and seek to live the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude.

Many people will have more time but less money and freedom in the coming weeks and months. Such changes may also have benefits, Father McCaffrey said.

“Do we store up treasures in heaven or on earth?” he asked. “Everything in this life is temporary. All our blessings are meant to be used for a higher purpose.”