Carmelites, Lent, and COVID-19

A message from the Carmelite Friars of the International College of St. John of the Cross in Rome. Brother Frank Sharma, OCD of the California-Arizona province, who is now studying in Italy, put this video together.

By Teresa Linda, ocds

When I dismissed my students on Friday, March 13 , two weeks before their official Spring Break was to begin, after the State Department of Education had asked that public school districts temporarily close their doors, none of us really understood what was ahead. Most half-expected that we would return one month later so we barely said good-bye to one another, not knowing that our future interactions would be online until virtually the close of the school year.

Even before COVID-19 really began to permeate the health of Bay Area residents, I could immediately see the effects it would have in my students’ families, who are primarily Hispanic. One parent told me that he held five jobs, but that he was asked to leave all of them – without pay. On the Monday following the weekend, each teacher was tasked with directly getting in touch with students, to make sure that at least, they knew of the local food banks that gave daily free meals away from public schools nearby.

My daughter, who goes to college in New York, came home for Spring Break, thinking that she would return in a couple of weeks. But within three days, she learned that her campus was closing and that she had to move out of her dorm. At 11:30 pm Monday, just minutes before shelter in place took effect in the Bay Area, she flew out to New York, piled her belongings in a rented car, and drove to the Philadelphia area to drop her belongings off at my parents home. She came back by Friday, just before New York restricted travel.

My Secular Discalced Carmelite Community was just preparing for our election of officers and looking forward to our May Ceremonies, when the ban on group meetings happened. There has been so much uncertainty that has happened in the last few weeks. Most painful for Catholics who hunger for the Eucharist is the ban on public gatherings around Sacrifice of the Mass. Fortunately, we are learning new ways to use technology to keep in touch, to pray together, and to continue to grow spiritually. I have listed some opportunities below.

LIVESTREAM

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

  • Evening Prayer LIVE: March 26-April 18, 5:30 PM daily
  • Morning Prayer & Holy Mass LIVE: March 26-April 18, 6:00 AM daily
  • Sunday Mass LIVE: March 29-April 5, 11:00 am

ONLINE LENTEN RETREATS/CONFERENCE

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