By Msgr. Francisco Rios
The Valley Catholic – March 30, 2020

Isn’t it interesting how something so small as a virus can turn our lives upside down? Not just our lives, but lives across the globe! We all had plans this Spring, whether they were spiritual, professional, personal, sports, travel, or other kinds of plans that we have had to cancel or adjust.

In Argentina, we have an expression “No hay mal que por bien no venga.” (There is no bad from which (God) will not bring good.”

In the Bay Area, and in many other places in the world, we never have time to stop. When I tell people that I take a nap every day, some say that napping is a waste of time, and some say that napping is a luxury. How many times in the past year have you said, “I would do that, but I just don’t have time?”

Now, we find ourselves with the gift of time on our hands! Within a few weeks, a small organism that had only been discovered a few months ago on the other side of the globe makes it to our area, and now we are told to stop and stay home. Now, we find ourselves doing what we have wanted to do – slow down, spend time with our family, do things that we have wanted to do, but have never “had the time to do.”

At St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish in Morgan Hill, we have been following the “shelter in place” orders, but we haven’t been isolated – physically yes, but emotionally and spiritually no! We’ve been trying to keep in touch with our community by calling our parishioners to wish them well and assure them of our prayers. We have also been live streaming the Mass and the Stations of the Cross, so parishioners can still see us. But, sometimes you don’t know how much you enjoy the ordinary things in life until you suddenly don’t have them anymore.

One of these is the interaction that we have outside of church with our parishioners. To try to keep this informal interaction, we asked parishioners to send questions to Fr. Sergio, and then we posted videos of us answering the questions seated in our living room. The questions started with why we became priests and what we’d do if we weren’t priests, how we as priests pray, and the questions keep coming in.

It is amazing how we can be distant physically from each other for our own wellbeing, but that technology is bringing us together emotionally also for our own wellbeing. But, it isn’t the technology by itself that brings our community together, it is our faith, our prayers, and our love for each other that brings us together through the technology.

I hope that when this pandemic ends, we will go back to the good parts of our daily routines, but that we will also keep the good parts that we have learned and done by staying at home: being there for each other, being grateful for our families, our health, to be able to stop, make time to think and pray.