By Erin Dwyer
For nearly two and a half months and a great portion of our Lenten season, we spent in quarantine. We celebrated one of the holiest of days, the Resurrection of our Lord, watching Mass on television. It was the first Easter Sunday that families were not dressed to a “T” and headed to church.
The national pandemic crisis and quarantine was certainly full of difficulty and hardship on families. Parents working from home, uncertain of the future of their jobs and all the while suddenly transformed into primary educators of the K-12 curriculum. Families experienced an approximate 220% increase in the grocery budget (ha), an unending dirty laundry bin, meal preparation that seemed to be warranted every two hours, and a total depletion of one’s personal space. It was an orchestration of domestic chaos.
At the very same time this uncertain world was spinning around us, there too was peace. As we learned of people we knew who were passing away without funerals to honor their memory, we were at home and healthy. As the news reported food banks set up for families needing assistance, our cupboards were full. As people were losing their jobs, there were employers like the Archdiocese of Louisville, who were sending uplifting and hopeful emails, reassuring employees that they would be carried in this time of hardship. As difficult as it was to teach two children daily, in different grades, with two very different teachers and styles of instruction, I was able to explore with them, read with them, struggle with them, and high five them when we figured something out.
The domestic church is the church we create in our homes. The domestic church is a place where we create little holy moments. A place where difficult faith questions are asked by little people (and big people too!). In the difficulty and uncertainty of pandemic, we were transformed. We moved from a place of fear, to a place of gratitude. Living a Stewardship way of life within our domestic church became oh so real. We prayed together, we watched virtual Mass together, and we suddenly began to think about our blessings in a new way. As a parent, I lamented on exactly how important are all of these activities that remove us from our domestic church each week? Perhaps our time, our talents, and our treasure, can be better used when we are home together.
Life is messy, but our faith gives us hope. Saint Pope John Paul II wrote in The Role of the Family in the Modern World Familiaris Consortio, that our age needs wisdom. He says,
“What is needed is a continuous, permanent conversion which, while requiring an interior detachment from every evil and an adherence to good in its fullness, is brought about concretely in steps which lead us ever forward….Therefore an educational growth process is necessary, in order that individual believers, families and peoples, even civilization itself, by beginning from what they have already received of the mystery of Christ, may patiently be led forward, arriving at a richer understanding and a fuller integration of this mystery in their lives.”(9.)
May we take the struggle and difficulty that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic, and experience conversion. An ongoing conversion which brings us renewal in priorities, a greater sense of gratitude, and a profound closeness to the grace and peace of Christ.
Erin Dwyer is Coordinator of Annual Giving and Stewardship in the Office of Mission Advancement.