Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Prepare Ye

03-01-2020Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

This was a recent headline from CNN: “Germany is currently not considering closing its border with Italy, due to the coronavirus outbreak…” Brilliant, I suppose, if there were actually a shared border between Italy and Germany. You wonder if anything this media outlet tells you is accurate or true. If they can’t proof-read maybe they should just look at a map.

Speaking of Italy and the coronavirus, things have turned rather somber. Both the Archdioceses of Venice and Milan have suspended all Masses, including funerals until further notice. Additionally, the city of Venice cancelled its annual Carnivale celebration which will have a tremendous impact on the local businesses and economy. Much of that area in Northern Italy has been placed under quarantine and photos show the supermarkets were stripped bare by panicked and angry residents. Likewise, in many areas in China, all religious gatherings have been cancelled, no funerals or even sick calls are being allowed. Let’s hope that’s not what awaits us.

As of Tuesday, according to Wall Street Journal reports: “Federal Health authorities said that they now expect a wider spread of the new coronavirus in the US and are preparing for a potential pandemic. Nancy Messonnier, the CDC’s director of the Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Tuesday that the agency expects sustained spread and called for efforts to prepare for diagnosing and treating a larger number of cases. “We expect we will see community spread in this country, it’s more of a question of when,” said Dr. Messonnier.” Ever so gently we are being warned. Rather than panic we should prepare.

After Nixon’s dinner with Chairman Mao, the elite geniuses who run our country decided to outsource our manufacturing, mostly to China. This was so we could have access to low-cost goods, which most people still could not afford since they were unemployed after their factory closed. One of the biggest causalities of outsourcing was pharmaceuticals, nearly all of which depend on China for manufacturing and export. So, it is reasonable to anticipate shortages of medications and medical supplies since Chinese factories have been shut down. If you take medications, you might want to ask your medical provider for a 90 day supply. (Physicians receive alerts when there are shortages of specific medications so they can make adjustments for their patients.)

In the case of a quarantine it would be good to stock up on non-perishable food items and other supplies. You may also want to think about who takes care of who if someone is sick. That might include arranging childcare if your child is sick or if there are school closings. Care for the elderly and the chronically ill also need to be thought out. Those of you who remain healthy and those who have medical training should be ready to volunteer in the Community, whether preparing meals or delivering meals or assisting with the care of the sick who have no one to care for them.

So while there is no indication that the coronavirus is affecting us locally, in order to help us stay healthy and avoid the regular seasonal illnesses such as the $u or common cold, I ask that during Mass you refrain from holding hands during the Our Father/Pater Noster and we will suspend the Sign of Peace during Masses as well as the distribution of the Chalice, temporarily. These harm reducing actions are just one small way of keeping our immune systems strong in case the virus comes our way. Another good piece of advice is to wash your hands with soap and water and DO NOT touch your face. That is one of the quickest ways to infect yourself. Rather than handshakes, use elbow bumps.

Wherever the epidemic has hit the toll it takes is medical, emotional/psychological and economic. So, to withstand all that, you have to be rooted in prayer. Prayer gives us the strength to face what comes our way. During the season of Lent, we have a vivid reminder that we can unite our sufferings to that of the suffering Christ who shows us that suffering can be transformative. Prayer allows us to see the good that can come from the bad and the opportunities that are often hidden in our darker moments. So, prepare for battle!


Fr. John B.