Our Sunday Visitor publisher Scott Richert writes, "We hold Mass at 11 a.m. every day…
From the Chapel — June 12: 13 weeks
“From the Chapel” is a series of short, daily reflections on life and faith in a time of uncertainty. As people across the world cope with the effects of the coronavirus — including the social isolation necessary to combat its spread — these reflections remind us of the hope that lies at the heart of the Gospel.
It has been four months — actually, 13 weeks — since I started writing these reflections. March 13 was the first day that the chapel at OSV was dark at 11 a.m., when our chaplain, Msgr. Campion, would normally hold Mass. My intention, at the time, was to write these posts in the darkened chapel, in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Ten days later, though, Msgr. removed the host from the tabernacle, and I extinguished the sanctuary lamp. I have been working from home ever since.
A lot has changed in those 13 weeks. As of March 13, there had been 1,678 confirmed COVID-19 infections in the entire United States. As of today, there have been 2,115,321. As of March 13, 41 people had died from COVID-19 in the United States. Today, 116,795 have succumbed to the disease.
On March 13, people were still comparing COVID-19 to the flu, and many refused to believe that death counts would ever reach five figures. Today — well, today, some people still compare COVID-19 to the flu, but fewer do, and some refuse to believe the death counts reported by the CDC, but most have just become numb to the numbers.
On March 13, lockdowns were just beginning to start, in an effort to “flatten the curve.” Today, every state has eased restrictions to some extent, and the curve is beginning to rise again in at least eight states, and possibly a dozen more. On March 13, most people were willing to endure some measure of disruption in their lives for the sake of the public good. Today, people are being attacked for wearing masks by the very people they are trying to keep safe.
On March 13, most people thought that the measures introduced to combat this crisis would last a few weeks. Today, we all want them to end, and many people no longer care whether a second wave is on its way.
America, as I wrote yesterday, is the land of the quick fix. But some things can’t be fixed quickly, and when we insist on trying to do so, we often make matters worse. We might not know for another 13 weeks the extent to which that is the case with regard to COVID-19. But what we almost certainly know is that, American optimism aside, very little will truly return to normal in the next 13 weeks.
Scott P. Richert is publisher for OSV.