On this solemnity of Saint Joseph, I want to honor the people who are doing their duty with great fortitude as the COVID-19 crisis goes on. There are many remarkable people stepping up to help others with great courage and decisive action, and we need to celebrate all of them.
Thank you to the people who work jobs that are essential for keeping us alive. Thank you, of course, to the doctors and nurses and everyone else who is working day and night to keep the hospitals running at such great personal risk. Thank you to the people who push the paperwork and clean the ER and run the hospital cafeteria.
Thank you also to the people who work in the grocery stores, calmly stocking the food, toiletries and household products we need to stay alive, healthy and clean. Thank you particularly to the staff at the Steubenville Kroger and the Steubenville Wal Mart– you may not get a lot of praise, but everyone I’ve seen when I’ve been out shopping has been calm, polite and friendly in the face of what must be unimaginable stress.
Thank you to the shoppers who are abiding by the rules and taking only what they need. Thank you to people who are remembering to pick up a can or a bottle of hand sanitizer, not for themselves but to give to the poor. Thank you to all the people stepping up and offering to go shopping for an elderly or sick neighbor so they won’t have to make themselves vulnerable at the store.
Thank you to the bus drivers and the staff who keep the buses maintained. I was afraid the buses would be shut down already, and so far they’re maintaining their regular hours. Someone is sanitizing the buses every night until they smell like a surgical theater in the morning, and the drivers are calm, on time and friendlier than usual.
Thank you to the mail carriers, and the people who work at UPS and other delivery services. You’ve been leaving packages of groceries on my porch all week, and I’m very grateful.
Thank you to the priests who are praying private Masses for us every day, who are still visiting the sick, and who are providing drive-thru confessions and other clever solutions to bring the sacraments to us during social isolation. Thank you to the lectors, musicians and the like volunteering at private Masses livestreamed around the country. Thank you to people who work for churches who are trying to figure out what to do about your Palm Sunday and Easter orders from the florists’.
Thank you to the prayer warriors offering their prayer and suffering at home.
Thank you to this beautiful girl who performed a dance to pray for our healing.
Thank you to musicians, dancers actors who live from gig to gig and are providing live videos of their performances online. Thank you to artists who are providing live lessons to amuse children home from school. Thank you to libraries making their books available online.Thank you to the volunteers who are still working with the poor and homeless who are the most vulnerable to a pandemic. Thank you to Molly and Bill and all the other volunteers at The Friendship Room who are practically cloistered there so they won’t spread any germs, sanitizing bottles and cans of food, handing out toilet articles, refilling the soap in their outdoor sink so the homeless have a place to wash up. Thank you to Shirley Raines and the other volunteers of Beauty 2 the Streetz who are still going to Skid Row, in gloves, handing out food and bottles of hand sanitizer to the homeless. And thank you to all the many many selfless people I haven’t met who are doing the same thing all around the world. Thank you to the donors keeping them stocked with food and cash to buy their own supplies. Thank you to the good people I’ve watched on social media, coordinating times to venture out of their houses at personal risk and stock the Friendship Room’s free pantry.
Thank you to Governor Mike DeWine. Yes, I said that. I’m notoriously cynical about politicians of all kinds, but he has consistently impressed me this whole week. DeWine provided a textbook example of how to take emergency measures during an epidemic. I’m following DeWine’s official twitter feed to keep abreast of all the COVID-19 news in Ohio, and I find it more helpful and better organized than some of the actual news outlets’ social media accounts. Today he’s announced that he’s deploying the National Guard to assist at food banks all over the state, which gave me chills. In the midst of all this crisis and horror, it’s as if we’re really beating our swords into plowshares. And thank you to the National Guard for assisting at the food pantry.
Thank you to parents who suddenly found yourselves homeschoolers and are doing the best they can in a crisis.
Thank you to the teachers who suddenly had to become internet experts to keep teaching. Thank you to school cafeteria staff and bus drivers who are working together to pass out lunches and breakfasts.
Thank you to the kids who are coping with being distanced from friends and extended family as best they can.
You’re all heroes.
The most heroic thing you can do, is to carry on taking care of one another however you can, in a crisis when so many are tempted to be selfish. There are many, many evil people whose selfishness is being revealed right now, but there are so many more heroes than I’d ever hoped to believe.
Image via Pixabay
Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross.
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