Category Archives: Coronavirus

A Coronavirus Easter Triduum Octave

wp-158670564020353551734378262499.jpg

The Empty Tomb! The Light is shining brightly. Here’s the Easter Fire we had…

wp-15866952250752092101691840535070.jpg

The Light of Christ always was and is and will be shining. Christ’s love, His grace, His presence within us, a love stronger than death, bringing us from the darkness of this world to eternal life, comes from – just to say it – Jesus, who is always alive even in His momentary physical death. We see that glory of the only Begotten of the Father in the darkness of Calvary – glory unto glory of the Light from Light, a love that is proven, with wounds, with taking on our punishment of our sin, standing in our place, the Innocent for guilty, to have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. We all look upon Him whom we have all pierced.

Because He endured to the end, dying for us, He conquered, and is is victorious. He has the right to give us the wherewithal, that grace, that friendship, that we might walk with Him in this world right unto the next, even with our justly still suffering the effects of original sin, our own personal sin, and the sin of others while we are yet in this world. We are weak and continue to be weak. But He is strong and draws us up into His strength.

Even the weakness helps us, reminding us of why we need salvation out of the total hell of this world so that we might be brought to heaven in eternity. We are so very weak that we need to be reminded. All things work together for the benefit of those who believe. We find our security in His love that is, again, stronger than any weakness, stronger than any disease, stronger than death. This brings us joy, and a peace adequate to go on because this is not just some intellectual “ideology”, but a living faith, a bond of charity with God Himself. It’s personal.

Yes, there is an empty Saint Peter’s Square and empty Saint Peter’s Basilica:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So what?! Everyone is scampering to meet Jesus in the upper room and then up in Galilee. Great. I’m running 24/7 all this time. Aren’t you? Peter and the “other Apostle” ran to see the Empty Tomb. Great. But then what…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Let’s go fishing…”

We are so very weak.

More on that later.

Meanwhile, this is the Octave of Easter. It’s like Easter Sunday every day until next Sunday.

I, for one, am exhausted from my scampering about. I can’t speak much about all that as there are different interpretations of the law regarding quarantines. I just do what I need to do to provide the Sacraments. Clever as snakes but innocent as doves and all that. But, thanks be to God, I am joyful, and at peace. Thanks be to God.

I hope ye are all doing well. Happy Easter to ye all. Be at peace. With joy.

6 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Jesus, Spiritual life

Coronavirus Good Friday

Today news came that a certain test of someone came back negative for Coronavirus. Great. That’s a burden lifted for me and many others.

Today I was called by the nursing home to give Last Rites to someone, which I did. In the midst of all the special rules for nursing homes in the time of Coronavirus, this was wonderful. A consolation to all.

Today, because of Coronavirus, I celebrated the “Mass if the Presanctified”, to wit, the Good Friday Service, alone with Jesus. As a priest, alone with Jesus for Good Friday… Tremendous are the Sacred Mysteries of our salvation.

Today I had the privilege to go shopping for the elderly and health compromised. Such a joy. Imagine that. Joy on Good Friday.

Today a very close friend got me up to date on some projects providing prophylaxis over against Coronavirus. This involves the Pentagon and a group which can only be described as DARPA on ultra-super steroids, for all of which he is a consultor. This will be a game changer. A sea change in practice now and moving forward.

Today was running a zillion miles an hour. Now I collapse in bed as I publish this, happy for this day and yet feeling I should have done much more, prayed much more…

But this I know… I am certain of it… Our dear Lord in laying down His life for us is very good and kind and loves us very much.

Coronavirus, even if it touches every aspect of our lives, is still just a sideshow. What really counts is Jesus, whose love is stronger than death. Jesus is the One. He’s the only One.

11 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus

Coronavirus cough at supermarket

Independent modeling studies came up with the same thing.

I’ve been subjected to a couple of twenty something guys sneezing in my direction at the supermarket and then laughing, and then two twenty something girls on different occasions also at the supermarket coughing in my direction so that I would exit that aisle forthwith, which I did. They wanted to be alone in the aisle. I mean, it was a thing: glancing up to see a person entering the aisle on the far side of the store, squaring off while staring me down, and the deliberately repeatedly coughing. Sigh. Whateeeever. Such entitlement antics would be humorous if they weren’t so sad. And if the video above is accurate about aerosolised molecules, such antics are also useless. But that might let people know where they are at in regard to respect for their neighbor. I don’t expect respect, but disrespect that is also dangerous is slightly annoying.

3 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Question *after* fetching Oils of the Chrism Mass on Last Rites, Confessions, “essential” priests

COVID-19

Just before midnight, Monday night, stretching into early Tuesday of Holy Week – the usual day for the Chrism Mass in this Diocese – I was assisting at an urgent situation that included someone presenting with a persistent slight cough (I noticed), and who – hours later on Tuesday trundled off to get tested because of sharply increased symptoms for COVID-19. Of course, since we are in a healthcare desert, any test done here doesn’t take five minutes. The results can take four to five days or even longer. Yours truly was within six feet of said person for perhaps thirty minutes or more all told. Said person later Tuesday evening informed someone who, about 10:30 PM that same Tuesday, just 23 hours after the “proximity incident”, informed yours truly.

Meanwhile, Tuesday afternoon, before that information came my way, on way way back home after retrieving the Sacred Oils after the Chrism Mass in Charlotte, I stopped to see some friends to drop something off – this taking only seconds and with me wearing my N-95 Mask. I then repeated this a few hours later, at 8:00 PM, leaving another package with another friend, with me wearing my N-95 Mask and already being in the car before that friend came outside. So, both of these stops were in less than a day of the “proximity incident.” As I understand it, it takes more than 48 hours to begin to start “shedding” Coronavirus molecules. All are safe and sound.

So, now, as of this writing, now late Wednesday morning, some 58 1/2 hours have passed since assisting in the midst of that “proximity incident.” That’s about the time, right now, that I would start to perhaps begin “shedding” Coronavirus molecules, regardless of whether or not I myself developed any symptoms. I could turn out to be a “carrier.”


Should I quarantine myself, or self-isolate? Let’s review the technical terms and the regulations regarding same that were in force until Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020:

  • “According to the CDC, quarantines are meant to restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. These individuals are asymptomatic but have either traveled to an area with an active outbreak of the virus, or have had close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19. Self-quarantining allows health officials to closely monitor the development of symptoms, if any, while preventing further transmission of the virus. Those who are asked to self-quarantine will be told to stay home and avoid contact with others for 14 days.”
  • Isolation, meanwhile, refers to separating those who are already sick from the rest of the population. Self-isolation provides individuals the opportunity to recover from the virus without spreading it to others. Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 should self-isolate until the following:
    •  

      You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers)

    • AND other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved)
    • AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared. The decision to stop home isolation should be left to healthcare providers and local health authorities.

Later on Wednesday afternoon, April 8, 2020, at the usual presser, that advice was somewhat changed,  to wit (from PBS):

The federal government has released new guidelines for when people in critical infrastructure roles can return to work after being exposed to a confirmed or suspected case of coronavirus. The guidance pertains to essential critical workers who have been exposed to COVID-19. For those individuals, the guidelines advise:

  • Take your temperature before work.
  • Wear a face mask at all times.
  • Practice social distancing in the workplace as work duties permit

The guidelines advise individuals not to:

  • Stay at work if you become sick.
  • Share headsets or other items used near one’s face.
  • Congregate in the break room, lunchroom, or other crowded places.

Employers are asked to:

  • Take the employee’s temperature and assess their symptoms before the employee starts back at work.
  • If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately.
  • Increase the air exchange in the building.
  • Increase the cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.
  • Test the use of face masks to ensure they don’t interfere with workflow.

[…] The CDC defines a potential exposure as “being a household contact or having close contact within 6 feet of an individual with confirmed or suspected COVID-19. The timeframe for having contact with an individual includes the period of time of 48 hours before the individual became symptomatic.”

The new guidance apply only to workers in critical infrastructure jobs. That category has been defined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (part of the Department of Homeland Security), but only as an advisory list, not a federal standard.

By CISA’s reckoning, the category includes certain workers in healthcare and public health, law enforcement and first responders, food and agriculture, energy, water and wastewater, transportation, public works, critical manufacturing, financial services, communications, among other sectors. […]

Redfield said the new guidelines are for workers in critical roles who “have been within six feet of a confirmed case or a suspected case,” so that they can go back to work under certain circumstances. […]


So, will this priest continue to offer Confessions and Last Rites, and will he continue to assist as Chaplain to the Law Enforcement family? There are essential roles to play even in the eyes of an atheist, such as suicide prevention and death notification. Wicked, horrifically violent crimes continue to happen even in this small hamlet of Andrews, NC. Hearing Confessions and giving the Last Rites are protected under the First Amendment, even under the Federal, State, County and Town restrictions. And they are essentially important. I can’t imagine the despair and the chaos that might well ensue if this was all to be taken away as well. I will continue.

By the way and just to say, CISA, mentioned above, is a rather serious player in all this. I just met with a close friend who is a member of CISA, who “does stuff” for CISA, who carries a “pass”, if you will, that has all check point law enforcement wave him right on through when he gets to the check point. He has no problem with me doing all that I am doing. :-)

Oh, and also, as of this writing, as of this publishing, I have zero symptoms. Regarding temperature, since I started Keto last November 1019 – losing now fully 63 pounds (and this is common) – I am no longer at 98.6 F, but hover around ~97.6 or ~97.7. For now. I mean, I never get sick, until I do, right?

Having said all that, I would like to stay put for the next days to see what happens. I am semper paratus for the Sacred Triduum to begin later this evening.

6 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

Coronavirus: Chrism Mass Oils, Renewal of Priestly Promises, Praying for Priests

wp-15863010702347192345940171535281.jpg

For any LEOs wanting to get a hold of me for arrest, fine, or both, for apparently having broken the Federal, State and Mecklenburg County, NC, declared State of Emergency regulations regarding “Stay at Home” orders so that I might fetch the Sacred Chrism, the Oil of the Infirm and the Oil of Catechumens consecrated at that Chrism Mass Tuesday morning, know that any presumed breaking of the law is simply not true.

The Chrism Mass this year, sadly even if necessarily and prudentially, saw in attendance only the good Bishop, a couple of deacons and just a few of the priests more local to the Cathedral. This Mass is essential – critical if you want to use technical vocabulary – for the free exercise of religion, as the consecrated oils confected in this most extraordinary Mass with very elaborate ceremony and awesome consecratory prayers, are used for the Ordination Rite of Priests, for Baptism and Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick, the latter also known as the Last Rites which are somewhat more common in these Coronavirus times.

Since the assistance – during that Mass – of the rest of the priests including myself was not considered critical, it was arranged through the powers that be that I would arrive at the Cathedral after the last of the good and holy deacons filling the little distribution bottles of the Sacred Oils would have finished their work for all the parishes and missions of entire diocese (that’s really a lot of little bottles!) and would have then forthwith left the campus of the Cathedral in Charlotte (to the back-right of the picture above), so that I, quite alone, could retrieve, quite alone, the package of Oils for all the parishes of the Smoky Mountain Vicariate, the extreme western region of North Carolina.

That’s how it worked out. That package was placed inside the back entrance of the rectory of the Cathedral (to the lower right in the picture above). I was out of my car for perhaps 30 seconds, and had my N-95 mask in place. I jumped back in the car and headed straight back, making for a more than 400 mile round trip, about eight or nine hours for me in the surprisingly somewhat heavy traffic and parking-lot-on-Interstate-26 construction zones with subsequent traffic jams.

While still driving – or parking on the highway as the case may be – a good and holy deacon who had assisted with that package of Oils called me, asking whether I had retrieved the package. The inhabitants of the Cathedral wanted to know if I had already grabbed that package, concerned for its safety (but perhaps also wondering if it was safe to venture forth, since, who knows if I could also be a carrier of Coronavirus). I posit that just for humor, but I would totally respect that concern as well.

As it turns out, that may well be true. But that’s for another post. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, being saddened by not having been able to attend the Chrism Mass itself to assist with the consecration of the Sacred Chrism and the blessing of the other oils, and to renew the promises of the priesthood with my fellow priests, I mentioned my sadness to the good and holy deacon, throwing out the thought that perhaps we priests might be able to get together at another time to recite these promises together, hoping, in doing this, that this good and holy deacon might mention this to the good Bishop. All deacons are good and holy, by the way, as they have to put up with us priests. :-)

The good and holy deacon immediately offered that the priests retreat always in the first full week of October would be an opportune time. I concurred and thanked him for this wonderful suggestion. I’m hoping he will put this to the good Bishop. Here is the rite of those promises. There are parts for the Bishop and the laity as well. I hope everyone will pray that we ever so weak priests can keep these promises. I will recite them later this Holy Thursday morning…


After the Homily, the Bishop speaks with the Priests in these or similar words.

Beloved sons, on the anniversary of that day when Christ our Lord conferred his priesthood on his Apostles and on us, are you resolved to renew in the presence of your Bishop and God’s holy people, the promises you once made?

The Priests, all together, respond: I am.

Are you resolved to be more united with the Lord Jesus and more closely conformed to him, denying yourselves and confirming those promises about sacred duties towards Christ and his Church which, prompted by love of him, you willingly and joyfully pledged on the day of your priestly ordination?

Priests: I am.

Are you resolved to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and the other liturgical rites and to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, following Christ the Head and Shepherd, not seeking any gain, but moved only by zeal for souls?

Priests: I am.

Then, turned towards the people, the Bishop continues:

As for you, dearest sons and daughters, pray for your Priests, that the Lord may pour out his gifts abundantly upon them, and keep them faithful as ministers of Christ, the High Priest, so that they may lead you to him, who is the source of salvation.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

And pray also for me, that I may be faithful to the apostolic office entrusted to me in my lowliness and that in your midst I may be made day by day a living and more perfect image of Christ, the Priest, the Good Shepherd, the Teacher and the Servant of all.

People: Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

Bishop: May the Lord keep us all in his charity and lead all of us, shepherds and flock, to eternal life.

All: Amen.

4 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Prayer, Priesthood

Coronavirus: Police Chaplain Down

The afternoon of April 4, 2020, we members of the ICPC (International Conference of Police Chaplains) received a prayer request for Law Enforcement Chaplain Don Crider of the Morristown (TN) Police Department. We were requested to keep Don, his family and all first responders in our prayers. He was diagnosed with Covid-19 and was in CCU at Morristown-Hamblen Hospital on life support. He was my next door neighbor, relatively speaking, just 70 miles away in these blue ridges of the Appalacian Mountains. Don had been actively involved with the Police Chaplain Unit for nearly two decades.

Then, just four days later, the afternoon of April 8, 2020, we received this report: “It is with great sadness that we report Chaplain Don Crider of the Morristown (TN) Police Department passed away moments ago. Please pray for his wife Thelma, who is battling unrelated health issues. With current guidelines as they are, any comprehensive memorial would be scheduled at a later date.”

How very sad and distressing for his wife and family, and for the entire law enforcement community. It just rips one’s heart out that there is no memorial service, but that’s the prudent thing to do right now. We don’t want to add to the number of those who are victims of Coronavirus. I wonder if the dispatchers put out a last call for him…

3 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement

Coronavirus and people at Mass: Instruction from Kateri Tekakwitha

wp-15861369724436265566954817800553.png

From Wikipedia: “Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, given the name Tekakwitha, baptized as Catherine and informally known as Lily of the Mohawks (1656 – April 17, 1680), is a Catholic saint who was an Algonquin–Mohawk laywoman. Born in the Mohawk village of Ossernenon, on the south side of the Mohawk River in present-day New York State, she contracted smallpox in an epidemic; her family died and her face was scarred. She converted to Catholicism at age nineteen, when she was renamed Kateri, and baptized in honor of Saint Catherine of Siena. Refusing to marry, she left her village and moved for the remaining five years of her life to the Jesuit mission village of Kahnawake, south of Montreal on the St. Lawrence River in New France, now Canada. Tekakwitha took a vow of perpetual virginity. Upon her death at the age of 24, witnesses said that minutes later her scars vanished and her face appeared radiant and beautiful. Known for her virtue of chastity and mortification of the flesh, as well as being shunned by some of her tribe for her religious conversion to Catholicism, she is the fourth Native American to be venerated in the Catholic Church and the first to be canonized. Under the pontificate of Pope John Paul II, she was beatified in 1980 and canonized by Pope Benedict XVI at Saint Peter’s Basilica on 21 October 2012. Various miracles and supernatural events are attributed to her intercession.”


Now, to the instruction on assisting the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass without being physically present. I may well be mistaken on the source of what will be presented below but its entirely Catholic and orthodox. I’m going to blame Father Robert J Fox, who was pastor of a tiny church in the outback, if you will, of Alexandria, South Dakota. I had been with him on the very first of his Fatima Youth Cadets pilgrimages to Fatima way back in the 1970s. Lots of great stories with that trip. Just great. But that got me reading some things written by this country priest, including Saints and Heroes Speak. That turned into a series of books. One of the chapters was on Kateri Tekakwitha. Again, I’m not sure that I’m reporting exactly what he wrote. And what he wrote may well have been inspired by Kateri, but I don’t know if there are historical sources to back that up. But again, the instruction is entirely Catholic, profoundly entrenched in humble thanksgiving before the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

Unable to attend the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for lack of priests some 335 years ago in North Woods of upstate New York and Southern Canada, and for lack of sufficient health to be able to attend in person, Kateri had another way of assisting at Holy Mass. She would unite herself with Jesus wherever He might be being offered in the Holy Mass at the moment throughout the world.

This is a matter of love. Walking the in the presence of the Lord Jesus – as I like to mention all the time in homilies and in conversations – isn’t just some sort of weirdly faked spirituality congratulating oneself for walking with our Lord, making oneself special because of being sooooooooooooo spiritual! No. Not at all. The walking in the presence of our Lord thing is – how to say? – a matter of being in this world, being “in the body”. Here’s the deal:

  • Our dear Lord was “in the body”, as it were, when He was tortured to death in front of His dear Mother. He was “in the body” when He celebrated the Last Supper, when He united His offering of Himself there for us, the Innocent for the guilty – This is my Body given for you in Sacrifice – This is the chalice of my Blood given for you in Sacrifice – having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us.
  • Our dear Lord is “in the body”, as it were, when He is offered in that self-same Last Supper at every moment throughout the world in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We offer Him as He is now, risen from the dead, but, as Saint John writes in the Apocalypse, as the Lamb of Sacrifice, standing and therefore alive and risen from the dead, but still bearing the marks of slaughter upon Him. The Sacrament of the this great Sacrifice is – in transubstantiation – the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus, Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception.
  • We are not to forget the wounds of our Lord. We are not to forget His being “in the body” not only on the Cross, on Calvary, but also at the Last Supper, and therefore in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is precisely one and the same, today as yesterday, Jesus, ever ancient, ever new, present to us, in the body, with the wounds today as yesterday. This is a matter of love. Our hearts and souls and minds are with Him in the Holy Sacrifice, in solidarity with Him as He is in solidarity with us. While we are “in the body” in this world, we are with Christ Jesus, the Son of the Living God, who is also still, to this day, to this hour, to this minute, “in the body” in the world in the Most Blessed Sacrament, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Did Kateri catch on to something in all friendship with Jesus, in all humble thanksgiving for His great love for us at every moment, following the Lamb whithersoever He goes among us in this dark world while we, His little flock, is still here before He calls us to be on our way to heaven? Yes. Yes she did.

I have many stories about being assigned over the years to mission churches dedicated to the North American Martyrs and to Kateri herself. We also had a statue dedicated to her way back when I was a kid in Minnesota. But that’s a post for another day.

Here’s the deal, again: Saints and Heroes continue to speak to this day. We are one family. Don’t be merely alone. Be alone together. Be in the communion of saints, also on this earth.


mass clock prayer2

mass clock prayer

I had a big part in keeping this all alive some 35 years ago. But that’s another story. I’d like to revive this.


Back to the Last Supper of Da Vinci with no Apostles up top of this post: It’s just not true. Be in the body wherever you are. Be with Jesus in the body wherever He is. Just don’t go out into the dark, so to speak, as it were. Be with Jesus.

11 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Eucharist, Saints, Spiritual life

Coronavirus quarantine road blocks, checkpoints, thinly veiled threats: part 2

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Update to Part 1 which was about what is happening up in Graham County regarding checkpoints: It was said that people who are resident outside of Graham County will no longer be allowed on Highway 28, then 143, then 129 (or vice versa) when the Nantahala Gorge closure would be opened. Well, now the landslide has been partially cleared and the Gorge is now open again, albeit still with one way traffic regulated by an automatic traffic light and cameras, thus enabling people to entirely bypass Graham County. If you drive up to a Graham County checkpoint and you are not from the county, if you do not have a deed to your property in Graham County in your car with you (literally), you will be turned away forthwith. Yep. Pay attention. For my part, I do have a “Green Card”, it being that I’m the pastor of the Mission Church up in Robbinsville.


Meanwhile for Part 2 down here in Andrews of Cherokee County:

The pictures in the slideshow above were taken the other day. The circumstances of the roadblocks have been changing daily, even hourly. You gotta work in view of contingencies, right? Yes. So, what you see here may or may not be what you see if you are out and about near Andrews. I don’t have overview or any extra special insight regarding these road blocks as I don’t know all the facts, not having oversight. That’s not my purview. That’s for our elected leaders. I may be the Police Chaplain, but that has nothing to do with the barrels and cones.

But I will say this: I’ve been doing a bit of “accompaniment” of some of those present at the road blocks or checkpoints. It’s mighty interesting to see the different reactions of people:

  • Some, say 5%, are a bit perturbed but behave themselves at that moment, entirely polite. Fine. This is smart. Don’t talk yourself into a citation for public disturbance. That’s never a good idea. Never. But there’s always someone… But so far, no one for this as far as I know. :-)
  • By far the vast majority of people, say 90%, are happy go lucky, happy in their own lives and not wanting to make others unhappy. They know they are essential workers and local residents and that there will be no problem at all. All goes very quickly for them and very smoothly. All good.
  • Some, say 5%, hold up any traffic by going out of their way to thank those manning the check points for their service and, if they have been delivering food or gasoline from elsewhere, going back and forth through these check points, they make sure to also add that they wish that the same precautions would be taken in their own home town. They see more mayhem where they are from. And where they are from there are no check points. There may be a lesson there.

The thinly veiled threats have, as far as I know, disappeared entirely just over these few days. The streets and highways are emptying out where we are. People are staying at home as they see the mortality rates go up in surrounding areas. Sometimes it just takes people longer to “get it.” That’s fine.

The next couple of weeks may see plenty of deaths if the charting relative to our stats and that of other countries has any relevance at all. These will be because of infections that took place already some days or weeks ago as we now reap the spread of the virus by the tender snowflakes who feel ever so entitled to spread the virus to others because it’s just an authoritarian rule not to do so.

Of course, I suppose I’m picking on the entitled generation too much. We’re basically all the same in our fallen human frailty. At the railroad block pictured in the slideshow above, when taking that picture, I witnessed an entirely elderly geezer get out of his truck, move the barrels aside, drive through, and then neatly replace the barrels, continuing on his way, I’m sure quick happy to be so clever. What-eeeeh-verrrrrrr!

Leave a comment

Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement, Politics

Corornavirus: day-in-the-life-&-death

COVID-19

It’s 12:37 PM and I just woke up from a nap, wakened by a phone call for last rites, this time a 200 mile round trip. Then possibly delivery of this person to a hospital in Charlotte as the hospital in Asheville threw this person out, although at death’s door on so very many levels, not that this person has Coronavirus, but was triage out, not because of not being in extreme need, but because triage now refers to keeping the young and otherwise healthy. These are also the victims of COVID-19. Crazy. A prayer for this person, very dear to me. I’m just about to rush off as this person will soon be home once again…

The reason I just woke up from a nap is because I spent a good part of last night doing up the Police Chaplain thing. The Chief told one of the officers to give me a call – 1:00 AM – so as to do up my first Death Notification to family members of the victim. I can’t say the details. Let’s just say it was bad. Real bad. Such violence. Such death. Please say a prayer for them and the repose of the soul of the victim. One family member was someone I also consider to be a good friend. Doesn’t make it easy. The reason I also put this incident under Coronavirus will have to be dealt with in another post, but I think the stress of COVID is somehow giving a self-perceived permission to sociopaths to put their sociopathy into action. I have very many examples. Be situationally aware, people.

It’s now 12:50 PM. I must run to do the priest thing. I love being a priest, COVID times or not. Thank you, Jesus.

13 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood

Coronavirus: Criticize priests without need? People won’t go to Confession…

confessional

I heard some very cynical people the other week presenting their views to the world on the internet, you know, when lock-downs were being announced. They were saying that there are priests – OF COURSE! PRIESTS! – who will think of this time as a vacation and go off and enjoy themselves, carefree, happy to forget about their flocks.

Really? A generalization, that? Calumny of a entire class of people, that? It used to be that people would notice ever so many canonized saints severely warning people not to criticize priests unnecessarily. It seems that they are purposely selectively ignoring canonized saints so as to promote a generalized anti-clerical agenda.

The reason canonized saints insisted on not criticizing priests unnecessarily is not any double standard. It seems like it is a double standard, for we are not to criticize anyone unnecessarily. Why make not criticizing priests unnecessarily a thing? Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote at length of fraternal correction, and said that sometimes we have to criticize priests and bishops publicly if they are egregiously publicly leading people astray, etc. Great! But still, why the emphasis by canonized saints on not criticizing priests unnecessarilyThat would be a sin, as it would be for anyone, but more so. Why?

Sin… That brings us to the reason for insisting in a special manner that we are not to criticize priests unnecessarily. If people do that, what do you think the result is going to be? The result will be that people who desperately need to go to Confession will use this unnecessary criticism as their excuse that they cannot go to Confession to such a terrible, horrible priest.

Let me give you an example. Someone came up to me in church a while back (whom I’ve never seen before) and with very dark face and with grave concern told me that I was losing really a lot of weight, and that this was alarming, and that I needed to somehow stay alive.

I mentioned this to someone else who immediately said that, yes, of course, that other person surely thought that I had AIDS, because, you know, I’m a priest and all that. Actually, that was also my thought about what the first person was thinking. I mean, it could be that I have cancer, right? Or, might it just be that I’m ever so happy on my Keto diet?

To the point, with that kind of nuanced gossip going around, how many people who are desirous of integrity and honesty are going to want to go to Confession to me? Probably zero.

For the record, yes, I’ve lost a lot of weight. Today it’s just over 60 pounds I’ve lost since November 21, 2019. For the record, I don’t have cancer. I don’t have AIDS. And as far as I know, I don’t at all have any Coronavirus. It’s the Keto Diet. I recommend the Keto diet for those who are not diabetic and who have good kidneys and who can and will drink plenty of fluids every day, and who are willing to face the gossipers and all their unnecessary calumny and grave concern. I don’t know if that’s what the first concerned person meant to do, but… whatever the intention, that kind of thing doesn’t help. Not at all. And certainly the seemingly malicious group prejudice of an entire class of people is not good for the Sacrament of Confession.

Having said all that, know that there are plenty of great priests out there and that you can and must go to Confession. Look, even a terrible, bad and evil and even entirely faithless and atheist priest still gives a valid absolution. It’s Jesus who is at work in the working of the sacraments: ex opere operato and all that. That’s what you want, right?

wp-1585496591269.gif

Those who unnecessarily criticize priests are risking judgment upon themselves for all the people who would have gone to Confession but didn’t based on that unnecessary criticism.

Now, will I be attacked as if I didn’t say “unnecessary,” as if I said never to criticize any priests at all no matter what? Sigh. But, that’s fine. I signed up exactly for this, you know, the beatitudes and all that. I’m good with it, as long as people go to Confession more than ever. And what’s more to say, in this diocese we have great seminarians, and this is exactly what they also signed up for. Bring it on. We’re happy to face the unnecessary criticism for others.

This is not about pleasing others the frantic criticizers.

This is about bringing souls face to face with Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, who will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

1 Comment

Filed under Confession, Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy, Priesthood, Saints, Vocations

Coronavirus: Provision of Sacraments. How to be joyful, at peace, in mayhem. Update!

consecration-

Apparently, the Diocese has forbidden the celebration of pretty much all the Sacraments except in the danger of death. Ha ha ha. I didn’t get that message until after the famous Monday, 30 March 2020, in my parish. Ha ha ha.

Late on Monday, there were four people in church:

  • Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament
  • Yours truly
  • A young couple

What did we do, you ask?

  • Baptism
  • Confirmation
  • Mass with First Holy Communion
  • Their natural marriage then was transformed to a Sacramental Matrimony

Elsewhere, also on Monday, same day, before sunrise, down in the hospital, I did up these Sacraments:

  • Confession
  • Last Rites: Anointing

And all that was putting Holy Orders of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ into action.

So, enacting my priesthood with the provision of six other Sacraments. Not bad in this time of Coronavirus if I do say so ever so snarkily myself. ;-)

Looky here: An order from the Diocese not to provide the sacraments except in danger of death would not be given unless people were nervous that we are in a time of generalized danger of death, right? I don’t think the intention is to make it difficult to go to Confession. That, I think, is an exception. And anyway, I did all this before that particular directive was given. And anyway, I’m sure no one is wanting at all to suspend me a divinis or to excommunicate me. I’m not in trouble. Far from it. That’s not how things work in this diocese. This is the best diocese ever. We have a great Bishop and a great Vicar General. I have a great Vicar Forane. I’m ever so happy.

Happy Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown GIF by Peanuts - Find ...

I mean, you know:

byers dance paul vi audience hall

Actually, what I’m looking for before the “peak” of Coronavirus hits with mayhem, is to have people come to the parking lot – staying in their spaced-away-from-each-other vehicles – to give them an instruction on General Absolution (the Third Rite permitted by the Church in emergency situations) upon permission of the Bishop. The conditions to receive that absolution with integrity and honesty, avoiding sacrilege, are as follows:

  • Done with the permission of the Bishop
  • The candidates must have contrition for ALL of their sins
  • The candidates must have the intention to amend their lives so as not to sin again
  • The candidates must have the intention to go to individual Sacramental Confession with a priest as soon as this is possible if they survive

At this time, anyone at anytime can come over to the rectory and bang on the door and I will don my PPE provided for my work with the PD and hear the Confession in the driveway. Yes. Easy peasy. All with joy. Be at peace. Perhaps dance for joy.

Humourous UPDATE!

That was sent in by a reader…

5 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Free exercise of religion, Humor, Missionaries of Mercy

Coronavirus falling through the cracks: church fundraising or taking the hit?

oliver twist

Tons of emails coming in from some of the higher-ups about strategies for doing up alternatives to the usual passing of the hat, as it were, during church services, you know, appeals through email blasts, hard-copy letters, use of the phone-call prayer chains, etc.

This is ridiculous and, I think, wrong-headed. Not now. Not at this time. There are more important things, especially in a tiny parish (the smallest!), where there are some well-to-do parishioners who are, btw, sending something in of their own accord – but there are so very many who are dirt poor who are such good souls that they would literally send in the widow’s mite and then having nothing to eat after that. I ain’t gonna ask for that. No.

Instead, I think we should be more concerned that “Oliver” gets “More gruel, please.”

Look. We don’t know how long this is going to last or how bad it will get, or not. We just don’t know. Because of that, I don’t want to deplete peoples’ resources that they might need just to survive.

It’s not about church buildings. It’s not about being served. It’s about serving. Do we remember Jesus in all of this? He’s the One. He’s the only One.

Just to be clear: this is NOT an appeal for funds. This is about appealing to all to do up the principle of subsidiarity wherever you happen to be, namely, taking care of what and who you can take care of where you are in your house, in your neighborhood, in your parish and town. At the moment, this parish in the backsides of the beyonds on the far side of the peripheries is doing just fine. Think of those you can assist where you are this very day.

2 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Missionaries of Mercy

Coronavirus’ Pharmacy Canary

coal mine canary resuscitation machine

From the In Box:

“I was speaking with one of your brother priests in New York City today and he asked me to share some very important news that could affect you.

“Father’s doctor prescribed him Losartan for high blood pressure. When he visited the pharmacist today to refill the prescription, she told him that they had none available: ‘Father, it may be months before we get Losartan, please call your doctor right now for an alternative.’ She also told him that many ARBs are on back order at this time.

“According to WebMD, Losartan (Cozaar) belongs to a group of drugs called angiotensin II receptor antagonists. Losartan and other ARB drugs block the effect of angiotensin II, a chemical that narrows blood vessels. By doing so, they help widen blood vessels to allow blood to flow more easily, which lowers blood pressure.

“If you are taking blood pressure medicine, you may want to check with your doctor or local pharmacist to see about supply availability.”


Well, I don’t take Losartan, but I have a question mark about the availability of another that I take for HBP, but – HEY! – because of the Keto diet, having now lost 60 pounds and the BP down, I may be able to just drop any BP meds altogether. Yay. But, let’s pray for those who are running out of meds because of the big pharmaceutical companies having so much of our meds manufactured in China.

Just a note on that China bit: as I’m told, these USA do all the research and development; China merely does the busy-work of manufacturing the meds. We can take that back in a nanosecond… and we are. I mean, that’s fair, right, after China threatened to cut us off? Yes, that’s totally right and just, dignum et iustum est. ;-)

We’re learning a lot from these Coronavirus exercises. And whatever your cynicism is about the Coronavirus (that will wear off, soon), the benefits are many regarding learning about our state of preparedness or lack thereof. In a fallen state, humanity is simply not capable of sustaining a perfect liberté, égalité, fraternité. I’m so happy to be an American.

2 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus for cynics

https://youtu.be/4J0d59dd-qM

Excuse the language. It doesn’t bother me. Also, this is a week old. But it’s good on the process of the sickness. 10M views in a week… He appropriately throws a much needed guilt trip on narcissistic Spring Breakers. I would add Cruise Line clients.

4 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Medicine

Coronavirus advice for criminals

6 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Humor, Law enforcement

Coronavirus humor & Law Enforcement

wp-1585666982393905803950020087262.jpg

Sister is far too kind. When I was a kid, rulers had metal edges so as to permit super-straight lines, perfection and otherwise striving for excellence being the norm. Imagine that: the norm, what is expected, what is elicited, what is produced.

Comments Off on Coronavirus humor & Law Enforcement

Filed under Coronavirus, Humor, Law enforcement

Coronavirus quarantine road blocks, checkpoints, thinly veiled threats: part 1

coronavirus cherohala skyway closure

I am impressed. The cement barrier on the left is resting on a vertical cement wall holding up the road. The mountain at that point is impossibly steep, not able to be traversed. The barrier on the right also makes it impossible for motorcycles, ATVs, etc. No one in or out.

A bit too enthusiastic up in Graham County, the entirety of which lies in my parish, which also comprises half of Cherokee County and half of Macon County. Graham, jumping the gun, went a bit too far, and the County was forced to remove the impossibility factor of the barrier in favor of emergency vehicles being able to pass by.

In lieu of such extremes, we have such as this at the Topton entrance to Graham County, which only has something like four roads in and out of the entire county:

wp-15855950389761096975527856138432.jpg

This setup is quite well thought out. There are warning signs, cones, plank-stands, plastic barriers, concrete barriers, a tent with table and chairs for nasty weather conditions. And for personnel, we have three:

  • One deputy in a slime-green vest who checks ID
  • Two deputies to provide security for the interface officer, as well as enforcement, and, I’m sure transportation of rebellious sovereign citizens, anti-government militia members, et alii.

I had to have a chat with our Vicar Forane in Bryson City yesterday, before the Governor’s lock-down of the entire state of North Carolina went into effect at 5:00 PM. I got to talking with the checkpoint crowd to and fro. Very friendly. The identical set-up is to be found at the Swain-Graham border up on Highway 28.

On my way back, I stopped at the tax assessors office at the courthouse in Robbinsville, County Seat of Graham County, and got me a Green Card, so to speak, a non-resident pass to enter Graham County (where our mission church lies) even though the rectory is in Cherokee County. I wonder if I’ll have to do the same for Clay and Macon Counties. I want to be able to pass freely throughout the region in order to do up the Last Rites for my parishioners and those of surrounding parishes when their priests, for whatever reason, are not able to respond to calls. Here’s the placard to be placed visibly up front of the vehicle:

wp-15856666300201750624902752432571.jpg

I’m compliant. Some think that’s a good idea. Some think it’s downright anti-American. Whatever you think, it’s good for me in that I’m interested in doing the priest-thing, providing the sacraments to those whom I am able to reach. Clever as a snake and – hopefully – as innocent as a dove. (I’ll have to work on the latter with Jesus!)

There are, apparently – rumors being what they are – some who are saying with, um, a bit of an edge to it, that they are sick and tired, just really, really fed up with any restriction whatsoever in favor of public safety. “IT’S UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”

Here’s the deal: Law Enforcement is at risk enough without people ramping it up. If someone attacks Law Enforcement, you gotta know that pretty much all LEOs in a region are gonna hunt the knucklehead down, rightly so. At that point, it’s no longer about discussion of policy. It’s about whether one guy can take out all Law Enforcement of a region. Hint: It can’t be done.

And if Militias ramp it up, that’s when the full force of the National Guard will come into play. Thinking of smacking down Law Enforcement? Ain’t gonna happen. Don’t do it.

11 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Law enforcement, Politics

Coronavirus: How many will die?

In these USA, say, about 61,000 die of influenza annually. Stats change by the minute, but as of this writing, deaths divided by numbers of cases just for the Coronavirus gives us a 1.75% mortality rate, a bit of a jump regardless of more testing. That’s 17.5 times the mortality rate of the average influenza, which stands at 0.1%. [[ Oops! Looks like I got that decimal point wrong. ]] It’s different in every country. The rate jumped down after testing to about 1.1 to 1.4. That will jump up a little as more cases tested can also mean more deaths, hyperbolically so.

The contagion rate as gleaned from different sources, also continuously fluctuating, stands at about just 2 more infections for each person who already has it. With social distancing etc the numbers can go down. Most could otherwise get it, that is – another variable – until herd immunity is reached or most get an innoculation. Timing on that is a game changer.

So, how many will die? God only knows. And, speaking of God, going to your inner room to pray, figuratively and literally, where Our Heavenly Father sees in secret, will bring you rewards on all levels and in every way.

3 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus

Coranavirus: We have all been exposed – by Lisa Cherry

COVID-19

WE HAVE ALL BEEN EXPOSED
– March 25,2020 by Lisa Cherry, Frontline Family Ministries

Expose our junk, Lord, lay it bare before You.
We’ve all been exposed.
Not necessarily to the virus.
(maybe…who even knows)
We’ve all been exposed BY the virus.

Corona is exposing us.
Exposing our weak sides.
Exposing our dark sides.
Exposing what normally lays far beneath the surface of our souls,
hidden by the invisible masks we wear.
Now exposed by the paper masks we can’t hide far enough behind.

Corona is exposing our addiction of comfort.
Our obsession with control.
Our compulsion to hoard.
Our protection of self.

Corona is peeling back our layers.
Tearing down our walls.
Revealing our illusions.
Leveling our best-laid plans.

Corona is exposing the gods we worship:
Our health
Our hurry
Our sense of security.
Our favorite lies
Our secret lusts
Our misplaced trust.

Corona is calling everything into question:
What is the church without a building?
What is my worth without an income?
How do we plan without certainty?
How do we love despite risk?

Corona is exposing me.
My mindless numbing
My endless scrolling
My careless words
My fragile nerves.

We’ve all been exposed.
Our junk laid bare.
Our fears made known.
The band-aid torn.
The masquerade done.

So what now? What’s left?
Clean hands
Clear eyes
Tender hearts.

What Corona reveals, God can heal.
Come Lord Jesus.
Have mercy on us.

7 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Spiritual life

Coronavirus: 27 March Pope Francis Plenary Indulgence Urbi et Orbi Blessing

pope francis asperges

The Pope announced that on the following Friday, 27 March, he will preside over a moment of prayer on the sagrato of St Peter’s Basilica, the platform at the top of the steps immediately in front of the façade of the Church. “I invite everyone to participate spiritually through the means of communication”, he said.

Church grants special indulgence to coronavirus patients and caregivers

The ceremony will consist in readings from the Scriptures, prayers of supplication, and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament; and will conclude with Pope Francis giving the Urbi et orbi Blessing, with the possibility of gaining a plenary indulgence for all those who listen to it live through the various forms of communication. The blessing “to the City [of Rome] and to the World” is normally only given on Christmas and Easter.

The Director of the Holy See Press Office confirmed that the moment of prayer on Friday will be broadcast live from the Vatican, beginning at 6 pm Rome time.

  • [[ 6:00 PM Rome time
  • 1:00 PM USA Eastern Time (taking Daylight Savings Time into account)
  • 12:00 Noon USA Central Time (taking Daylight Savings Time into account)
  • 11:00 AM USA Mountain Time (taking Daylight Savings Time into account)
  • 10:00 AM USA Pacific Time (taking Daylight Savings Time into account) ]]

[The Director] noted that the plenary indulgence attached to the Urbi et orbi blessing is subject to the conditions foreseen by the recent Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary [included immediately below]:


Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic, 20.03.2020

The gift of special Indulgences is granted to the faithful suffering from COVID-19 disease, commonly known as Coronavirus, as well as to health care workers, family members and all those who in any capacity, including through prayer, care for them.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Rom 12: 12). The words written by Saint Paul to the Church of Rome resonate throughout the entire history of the Church and guide the judgment of the faithful in the face of all suffering, sickness and calamity.

The present moment in which the whole of humanity, threatened by an invisible and insidious disease, which for some time now has become part of all our lives, is marked day after day by anguished fears, new uncertainties and above all widespread physical and moral suffering.

The Church, following the example of her Divine Master, has always had the care of the sick at heart. As Saint John Paul II points out, the value of human suffering is twofold: “It is supernatural because it is rooted in the divine mystery of the Redemption of the world, and it is likewise deeply human, because in it the person discovers himself, his own humanity, his own dignity, his own mission” (Apostolic Letter Salvifici Doloris, 31).

Pope Francis, too, in these recent days, has shown his paternal closeness and renewed his invitation to pray incessantly for those who are sick with the Coronavirus.

So that all those who suffer because of COVID-19, precisely in the mystery of this suffering, may rediscover “the same redemptive suffering of Christ” (ibid., 30), this Apostolic Penitentiary, ex auctoritate Summi Pontificis, trusting in the word of Christ the Lord and considering with a spirit of faith the epidemic currently underway, to be lived in a spirit of personal conversion, grants the gift of Indulgences in accordance with the following disposition.

The Plenary Indulgence is granted to the faithful suffering from Coronavirus, who are subject to quarantine by order of the health authority in hospitals or in their own homes if, with a spirit detached from any sin, they unite spiritually through the media to the celebration of Holy Mass, the recitation of the Holy Rosary, to the pious practice of the Way of the Cross or other forms of devotion, or if at least they will recite the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and a pious invocation to the Blessed Virgin Mary, offering this trial in a spirit of faith in God and charity towards their brothers and sisters, with the will to fulfil the usual conditions (sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion and prayer according to the Holy Father’s intentions), as soon as possible.
[[ NOTA BENE: “…the will to fulfil”… In other words, if you cannot fulfill these conditions in person, you get the indulgence anyway. Note that the will to fulfill isn’t just about a vague desire for, say, sacramental confession, but rather about a real intention to go to sacramental confession as soon as possible, that is, if and when that is possible. ]]

Health care workers, family members and all those who, following the example of the Good Samaritan, exposing themselves to the risk of contagion, care for the sick of Coronavirus according to the words of the divine Redeemer: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (Jn 15: 13), will obtain the same gift of the Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions.

This Apostolic Penitentiary also willingly grants a Plenary Indulgence under the same conditions on the occasion of the current world epidemic, also to those faithful who offer a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, or Eucharistic adoration, or reading the Holy Scriptures for at least half an hour, or the recitation of the Holy Rosary, or the pious exercise of the Way of the Cross, or the recitation of the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, to implore from Almighty God the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.
[[ NOTA BENE: There are also dispensations from normal conditions in the above. For instance, this just says, for instance, recitation of the rosary, while normally the condition for the plenary indulgence for the recitation of the rosary is that this be done with others or in front of the Blessed Sacrament. But we are living in social distancing times, right? Yes. ]]

The Church prays for those who find themselves unable to receive the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick and of the Viaticum, entrusting each and every one to divine Mercy by virtue of the communion of saints and granting the faithful a Plenary Indulgence on the point of death, provided that they are duly disposed and have recited a few prayers during their lifetime (in this case the Church makes up for the three usual conditions required). For the attainment of this indulgence the use of the crucifix or the cross is recommended (cf. Enchiridion indulgentiarum, no.12).

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and of the Church, Health of the Sick and Help of Christians, our Advocate, help suffering humanity, saving us from the evil of this pandemic and obtaining for us every good necessary for our salvation and sanctification.

The present Decree is valid notwithstanding any provision to the contrary.

Given in Rome, from the seat of the Apostolic Penitentiary, on 19 March 2020.
Mauro Cardinal Piacenza
Major Penitentiary — Krzysztof Nykiel, Regent

10 Comments

Filed under Coronavirus, Pope Francis