Deja Vu all over again

nlm nlmuid-101392773-imgMaggie Astor of the New York Times posted an interesting piece – which was interesting all on its own, but is perhaps more interesting given President Biden’s announced covid-19 mandates and actions – and the inevitable push back against them. Ms. Astor’s point is essentially that we as a nation…. “been there, done that.”  I would have linked to the article, but that was not feasible – and so I present her work.

“As disease and death reigned around them, some Americans declared that they would never get vaccinated and raged at government efforts to compel them. Anti-vaccination groups spread propaganda about terrible side effects and corrupt doctors. State officials tried to ban mandates, and people made fake vaccination certificates to evade inoculation rules already in place. Continue reading

Covid-19 reads

This post is by no means complete, thorough, or makes any claim to being the last word. It is just a slice of what is out there on September 4th that caught my eye, looked interesting, and so I gave it a read. Maybe you will too.

A letter from the front lines

front-lines-battleWhen the 1960s came around, the “Greatest Generation” – those men and women who served during World War II were still largely and stoically silent about their wartime experiences – but the television networks began television shows about the war. Series such as “Combat,” “12 O’Clock High,” and “Men at War” became staples of prime time viewing. Knowing things about WWII became part and parcel of determining one’s status within the pack (and here I am referring to Cub Scouts). Sure, you might be able to identify the German Messerschmidt 109 fighter aircraft from a flash card, but the real test was could you identify the difference between 109-C and the 109-G series (except the 109-G6 which was soooo… obvious). Clearly such things were critical to national defense among the Cub Scouts. Or so it seemed at the time. Continue reading

A moment of trust

CDC-vac-cardThis past week, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that it would immediately implement the just announced CDC guidelines which stated that fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks in outdoor or most indoor settings, except on public transit, in health care facilities, and in congregate settings. Throughout the pandemic at national, state and local levels that last phrase “congregate settings” have included churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places of worship. Following on the heels of the Commonwealth’s announcement, our local diocese announced that because of some ambiguity in the announcement, that we were to not inhibit or challenge people who wanted to not wear masks during the celebration of Mass. While we did not agree that there was ambiguity, we complied. As folks and families approached the doors of the church they were not asked if they were vaccinated, but were simply informed that “fully vaccinated people were not required to wear masks but were also free to wear them if they desired.”

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Saturday morning cartoons

Irina Bock is a Silicon Valley-based designer known for creating the Google Android logo. During this pandemic period she started drawing cartoons that highlight how our lives have changed during the pandemic and shared them on Instagram.  For those of us who don’t have that social channel, you can find a collection of some of her cartoons here. Here is a sample of one of the cartoon. Take a morning break and enjoy her insights and creativity.

These times…

In the quiet of the morning, before the sun is up, morning prayer complete, cup of tea ready, I settle in to my routine of reading several morning papers. Even though I am at my new parish in Northern Virginia, I continue to read the Tampa Bay Times online. There and in other news outlets we have all heard about the con artists who are contacting people offering to register them for vaccination appointments at public or private facilities….”I just need some information – full name, address, etc…and your social security number, and a credit card to hold your reservation.” Right. I hope we have all gotten to the point where we simply do not give out such information over the phone.

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Prayer among deadly days

One of my morning rituals for some time now has been, in the wee hours of the morning before dawn, to pray the morning prayer (lauds) of Office of the Dead. It is one of the prayer cycles for the repose of a soul found in the Divine Office of the Catholic Church, also called the “Liturgy of the Hours.”  You can find versions online. The morning prayer consists of Psalm 51; Isaiah 38:10-14, 17-20; Psalm 146; a reading from 1 Thessalonians 4; the Canticle of Zechariah found in Luke 1:68-79; intercessions for the dead; an Our Father; and final prayer.

I began doing this a while ago as the death toll associated with the pandemic continued to rise.

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Our Common Good

Recently I have written several posts about the common good as it pertains to wearing masks. Last night on the news a young man said that he didn’t like people telling him what to do and he didn’t see the need to wear masks. It wasn’t a clip from summer time, it was recorded in the midst of this massive second wave of infections nationwide. It just strikes me as an overly libertarian view that does not consider there is a common good. And the common good is a matter of our faith.

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Passing on

A large regional trauma center hospital (more than 1,000 beds) was located within the boundaries of my former parish. The hospital, while having a wonderful chaplain staff, did not have a Catholic priest on the staff and so we priests in the parish took care of the sick and dying, in addition to our usual parish responsibilities. Over the course of more than 13 years assigned to the parish, I easily saw more than 10,000 patients.  Most who recovered, some who did not. For those individuals and their families who experienced the great passing on, it was a loss, a sorrow and especially when the young died, a tragedy. Continue reading