Love in the Time of COVID-19
A shameless, pilfered reference to the title of a classic Gabriel García Márquez novel? Absolutely! And unabashedly so.
As the COVID-19 pandemic entered our lives a little over seven weeks ago I made a comment to our staff and to a number of our students that I did not fear the coronavirus as much I feared the loss of reason; the loss of compassion; the loss of our love for one another. I made these comments in the wake of the initial widespread panic buying and the genuine distress associated with the arrival of the virus in the Lower Mainland. The worry was palpable, and to some degree, I am certain that we all felt it. Indeed, it was almost impossible to not.
As a student of history, my faith in human-ingenuity and in science provides me with the confidence that we will eventually have a vaccine to this virus – a vaccine that will once again allow us to be more in communion (physically speaking) with one another than we are currently able to be. My belief and faith in God provides me with irrefutable evidence that the face of God is present in our lives… even during this pandemic. In times of hardship, uncertainty and fear, bearing witness to our faith is more important than ever!
Unbelievably heartwarming stories of care, comfort and compassion from all corners of the world fill our airwaves and inboxes each day. Even amidst the sobering daily COVID-19 updates, these stories of hope feature prominently on news and social media platforms. They have shown me that my initial fears of the loss of reason, the loss of compassion, and the loss of our love for one another were unwarranted. God’s love for us – and our love for each other – well and truly conquers all.
One of the greatest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is that, to slow the spread of the virus, we must practice physical distancing and in our case, as a school, we have had to completely forgo in-person community. I am not going to lie – just as it has been for many of you, I too have found it incredibly challenging not being together. Community is our trademark and is something that many of us at STMC see as our “special sauce”. I know I do… and I know that many of you feel similarly!
Nevertheless, we cannot lose sight of the fact that it is because of our collective energies and our efforts to flatten the curve these past seven weeks that there is a genuine reason for optimism. However, until the day comes, when we CAN be as one, we need to continue to find ways to come together as a faith and learning community to worship and to celebrate.
Our school Mass on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – STMC’s first virtual Mass – honoured and celebrated our special relationship with Blessed Edmund Rice and the Christian Brothers and was proof that community and physical distancing are not entirely incompatible. Thanks to fiber optics and a host of various technologies, we were able to maintain and grow the bonds of community among us even while apart. At STMC, community is central to our mission, vision, and values. It always will be!
In the coming weeks we will continue to have additional opportunities to worship and celebrate as a faith and learning community. The planning for our next two school masses – our Mother’s Day Mass on Wednesday, May 13th and our 2020 Graduation Mass on Thursday, May 28th – is well underway. We are also working on a plan to livestream the Night of Knights, our traditional year-end celebration and recognition of student contribution to our STMC community. This event is being planned for Wednesday, June 10th. Lastly, finding ways to properly fête the many accomplishments and varied contributions of our STMC Grads of 2020 are also in the works. Updates and details for all of these events will be shared via email with our students, our parents, and community partners as soon as we are able.
God Bless & Kind Regards!
Principal – STMC