COVID-19: A pastor’s perspective: Thanking God for Windows
Having spent two weeks in quarantine, I must say how much more I appreciate windows. Windows enable one to look, to see and to behold. A room without windows can be so cold and isolating. Although I could not go outdoors during that time of isolation, I am grateful I could look out the window.
My living quarters face a major intersection. The road directly in front of the rectory leads to the city of Pittsburgh. While the intersecting road gives access to the local hospital and some other healthcare institutions, it is a busy intersection in a sidewalk community, meaning that amid all of the passing vehicles, there are always pedestrians walking or running. In some respects, I saw more out of my windows in two weeks than I did the last 11 years.
Every day as I peered out the window, there were always vehicles passing by. Obviously, even with the stay-at-home order in effect, there are still many people working essential jobs like healthcare workers, grocery store cashiers and clerks, postal carriers and utility crews. Because of where I am situated, I often see and hear the sirens of fire trucks, police cars and ambulances. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of these people.
There are also the walkers, many of whom are parishioners coming to drop off their weekly contributions in the mail slot of the front door. I am so grateful for the people who clearly are going out of their way to continue supporting the Church.
When I am not in my room, I am usually in the workout room, which is located on a glass-enclosed porch that has many views. From the elliptical machine, I can see the main road and the front entrance of the church. When I am on the treadmill, I can see part of our majestic church and school.
It sure is humbling to watch people pull into the lot to pray in their cars. Some exit their vehicles and walk to the front plaza, or to the Marian grotto or the St. Joseph statue, both of which are outside of the church. One family showed up on Easter, days after the self-isolation ended, and said to me: “Father, we just watched the livestreamed Mass. We know the church is locked but we just wanted to come here because this is what we do on Sundays.” They proceeded to the Marian grotto and prayed as a family.
One day, from the exercise room, I observed an older couple. They pulled into the lot, got out of their car and walked over to the exterior of the Eucharistic chapel. They held hands and prayed. This had to suffice because, at the present time, they are unable to enter the chapel for weekly adoration. They often refer to this time as their “hour of power.”
As we continue to endure this pandemic, be sure to take a moment to pause and gaze out the window. Your view may be different than mine. I think you will see what I have seen — namely, that through it all people still are following Jesus, and they want to remain close to his Church. What a beautiful view. Thank God for windows!
FATHER DAVID J. BONNAR, editor of The Priest, is a pastor of 15 years in the Diocese of Pittsburgh, where he has served in numerous roles. Follow and like The Priest magazine on Facebook.