How much disruption will there be this year? 

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As we head into the eye of the Omicron storm, I am wondering how much disruption there will be this year? How much face-to-face school will the kids get? Will we be doing more online school this year? How many birthdays in our household will be in isolation? The more people you have in your household, the longer you might find yourselves having to isolate. I’ve seen a few “preparation plans” circulating, the type that you use in civil defence emergencies. People are supposed to try to isolate in their own homes, which sounds fairly difficult to me with small children and six people in the household.  

Trying to prepare the kids for going back to school and transitioning from holidays to the school term is harder than usual. Essentially, we have to take a “let’s see what happens approach”, and we will have to be aware that disruption can happen at any time. We can make plans, but we make them knowing they may not happen. We had a holiday planned for October, 2021, which we couldn’t go on due to travel restrictions. We did manage to go on this holiday in January, 2022. We were all in a bit of shock that it actually happened, as we have become used to things being cancelled now! 

Worship at red is still limited to 100 if vaccinated. This is logistically difficult. There’s also the thought that Jesus welcomed everyone, at every time. What would he have done in a pandemic? Would he have followed the rules of the leader? Would he have encouraged safety first, to protect the vulnerable? If Mass is celebrated for 100, how do you “choose” who goes? Our parish has used an online booking system, and many people – including us – missed out on Christmas Mass slots. Another parish we used to go to still isn’t having Sunday Masses in person at all, as it’s too hard to. They are doing weekday and Saturday Masses, as these tend to attract smaller numbers.  

We have a child ready for the sacramental programme this year, and the facilitator is keen to keep this in person, rather than on zoom. I really want our child to become fully initiated in the Church and, at this rate, I fear this may not happen in 2022. Hopefully, it will happen later in the year? In the scheme of this child’s whole life, if he has to wait a year, so be it. His formation will still continue even without the sacraments, but we all know that the sacraments are a vital part of our faith, and I am worried that we are not getting them as often as our souls need in this current environment. 

We have had quite a lot of freedom and normality over the last two years. In the red “traffic light”, I’m not sure that many of the restrictions directly impact on us other than on our worship. That is a very important part of our lives, and there remains the issue of inconsistencies that plays on my mind. The Government has passed laws that afford a great deal of power to certain bodies. We all expect such provisions to be rescinded when the pandemic is over.  

We have enjoyed focusing more on outdoor activities. We have enjoyed catching up with friends outdoors. Being outside changes your perspective, and can cultivate more gratitude and more connection with God’s creation. Thankfully, we have had a warm summer which has allowed easy access to outdoor entertaining. This also allows a turn away from screens, that are a constant, ever-present issue in many families these days. We are praying for an end to this pandemic in 2022, and return to easy access to the sacraments for all. 

Isaiah 55:8-9; “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  

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Helen Luxford

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