During the past two months, the coronavirus has affected the lives of millions of people around the world. Some people have become infected, others just inconvenienced by delayed travel, while others, sadly, have died.
To be clear, we cannot be alarmists about the virus. This is not the living re-enactment of Stephen King’s “The Stand,” with its fast-growing plague, “Captain Trips.”
Still, we need to be aware that many countries, including Italy, have been affected.
Please note, though, that Rome hasn’t been struck by the coronavirus. The priests from the Diocese of Brooklyn who serve in Rome for the Holy See or at the Pontifical North American College are well,
and Pope Francis doesn’t have the virus. He has just a minor cold.
That said, let’s be aware of what we can do as a Catholic community to deal with this worldwide illness.
1. First and foremost, trust in God. There is no need for undue anxiety. Remember that God is in charge and that He has our backs. Pray for those who are suffering from this illness and for those who care for them.
2. Second, and as basic as it may sound, try to stay healthy. Please get plenty of sleep, and if you are feeling ill, take care of yourself. Get some rest — call in sick; no one wants a co-worker who is miserable and ill and who has the potential to make those around him or her sick.
3. Be aware of yourself. Try not to touch your eyes, your nose and your mouth. Wash your hands with soap and water. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. It’s pretty basic.
4. As we have mentioned in this column before, be aware of how you receive holy Communion at Mass. The diocese has asked that chalices not be distributed at Mass.
Remember, the church teaches the doctrine of concomitance: That when one receives Communion under the form of the Consecrated Host, we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ and that when one receives Communion under the form of the Precious Blood in the
chalice, we receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
5. It should never be construed, therefore, that Communion under the form of the Host alone or Communion under the form of the Precious Blood alone is somehow an incomplete act or that Christ is not fully present to the communicant.
The church’s unchanging teaching — from the time of the Fathers of the church and through the ages, notably in the ecumenical councils of Lateran IV, Con-stance, Florence, Trent and Vatican II — is that Christ is present in both elements.
6. Finally, if you are not feeling well, there is no need to offer your hand for the sign of peace. A simple “peace be with you” is sufficient.
Pope Francis, in his encyclical, “Laudato Si’,” encourages us to care for the environment. Remember, you make up someone’s environment. Be healthy so that you can be a positive part of a safe environment.