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What COVID-19 has taught me

I am weak. I can’t do life on my own. I am in need of a Saviour. This is what the Covid-19 pandemic has taught me.

My eyes welled up with tears as I knelt to pray after receiving the Eucharistic Jesus for the first time since public Mass was suspended in the Diocese of Calgary. Staring transfixed at the crucifix, I prayed: Jesus, I need you. I’m helpless without you. I surrender.

This is not how my Covid-19 experience began.

Energy and even some excitement characterized the initial weeks of cancellations. To keep calm, I adopted a laid back attitude, got outside for walks and practised gratitude. My husband Ben and I head up a domestic church with five children ranging from 8 months to nine years old. I loved trading in my hectic chauffeur duties, for a simpler, slower lifestyle at home together. I experienced what it’s like to truly be the primary educator of my children and to boot, there were countless free resources and professionals offering virtual help.

I appreciated the empathy and compassion that society showed with the ‘we will get through this together’ mentality. I actually believed, at least on the surface, that: ‘I’ve got this.’ I experienced a vision for our domestic church that I had never dared to dream before.

But then, panic set in. What is going to happen once things open up again? Will it all seem like a dream? I noticed myself getting agitated, anxious and angry. I started to lose my peace because there were many aspects of this new life I wanted to retain, but I feared it might not be possible.

Being confined to household isolation 24/7 for months felt like a monastic existence. I could not run, nor could I hide from my own weaknesses that were barriers to fully loving my family as myself. I finally had to confront them and it was like a lightning bolt struck my heart waking me from my slumber.

I knew I was made for more. My unease felt so contrary to the holy woman I was striving to become. So I prayed for humility and courage to vulnerably peel off my camouflage. I desired to see myself the way God sees me. And through His grace, I discerned a call to a new radical self-acceptance; to become even more myself because God has even bigger plans for my life!

What I discovered through prayer and conversation is that while I possess many creative talents, I score lower in the practical skills to keep a home running smoothly. I had been holding myself to a very high standard for which I didn’t have the natural skill to peacefully pull off.

Early one morning, I walked to St. Pius X Church in Calgary and knelt outside looking through the window in adoration of Our Lord. I no longer felt trapped in silence and shame over my shortcomings, but rather felt freedom to address my challenges head on with compassion and mercy both for myself and others. Little did I know that only a couple weeks later, I would finally be reunited sacramentally with the healing presence of Our Lord.

My greatest desire is to become a saint and for those with eyes of faith, Covid-19 continues to be a holy time where both our challenges and blessings can be used to become like Christ. While we are collectively undergoing this pandemic together, our experience is uniquely ours. Below are six reflections from a new university graduate, a mother, a teacher, a single person, a senior and a pastor –– each made in the likeness and image of God, each giving God glory with their lives.

Written by Sara Francis

Alyssa Butterwick

​Suddenly faced with online teaching while simultaneously schooling her young children at home, Alyssa Butterwick showed grace and resilience. To make it all work, Alyssa leaned into a slower pace of life, let go of expectations and remained grateful for her daily blessings. Read more

Mia Drewniak

In the stillness and silence of living self-isolation as a single person, St. Joseph's parishioner Mia Drewniak experienced both loneliness and the love of God and her community in new and unexpected ways. Read more

Fr. Fabio DeSouza

When the pandemic hit, Fr. Fabio DeSouza turned a potential obstacle into a great pastoral opportunity. He opened a digital door to his Our Lady of Fatima community and beyond. For Fr. DeSouza, this is only the beginning of his new online ministry. Read more

Tiffany Biensch

Tiffany Biensch could never have predicted she would finish her degree online and have her university grad ceremony postponed. But this joy-filled St. James Church parishioner is taking the lessons she learned about slowing down and being present in the moment into her new career. Read more

The power of witness

Stan Kavalinas has been quarantined inside his assisted living complex for months. Thankfully, love has no bounds. At 91, Stan has learned to Facetime with his granddaughter Kaitlin and her new baby, Ruth, one of the newest members of St. Francis Xavier Chaplaincy. Read more

Erin Loftson

Bringing a baby into the world during a pandemic was not part of Erin Loftson’s birth plan. Amidst so much sanitization and uncertainty, her baby boy entered the world bringing new hope. Read more​

Graduation 2020

"You are a graduating class with unique stories to tell and we anticipate the wisdom of your insights and leadership in the future." In his message, Bishop McGrattan encourages the graduates to reflect on three lessons from the pandemic, which highlights good leadership, inner strength and spiritual nourishment. Read more.

Staff faith formation

St. Clare's School Vice Principal Mark Hickie knows how blessed he is to work in a rich faith-filled environment. It's very inspiring to read how the Staff Prayer initiative he started five years ago allow his school community to deepen their faith and sense of community by the sharing of their prayers and personal stories. Read more

The power of witness

Bonnie Annicchiarico would often build a time of adoration into the two days retreat she organized for school administrators. She recalled the time she found her three superintendent colleagues deeply immersed in their prayers after spending an hour with the Blessed Sacrament, and what a powerful witness that was. Read more

June 21, 2020
Have a Blessed Father's Day

This weekend, give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the gift of our earthly parents, those to whom he has entrusted the responsibility to provide loving protection of their families and guidance of their children.

Heavenly Father,
you entrusted your Son Jesus,
the child of Mary,
to the care of Joseph, an earthly father.
Bless all fathers
as they care for their families.
Give them strength and wisdom,
tenderness and patience;
support them in the work they have to do,
protecting those who look to them,
as we look to you for love and salvation,
through Jesus Christ our rock and defender. 


Awesome Podcasts for Dads

Here are some podcasts that the fathers in your life might really enjoy.

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Online Faith Formation

Opportunities for faith formation through online learning this Summer.

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Have you checked with your parish?

New attendance limits for the public celebration of Holy Masses.

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Let us pray the Pope's Intention for the month of June: 

Many people suffer due to the great difficulties they endure. We can help them by accompanying them along an itinerary full of compassion which transforms people’s lives.

It brings them closer to the Heart of Christ, which welcomes all of us into the revolution of tenderness. We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

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