Each week a member of the Vincentian Family will share a part of his/her experience during recent months. From the depths of their heart these writers will present a message of hope because we are convinced that there are positive lessons to be learned from this pandemic.
The pandemic has greatly changed our lives as a family. We have become separated because of medical reasons. While my son Alberto (22 years old) went to our house in town, I stayed at my mother’s house (87 years old), in the center of Madrid.
This meant that both Alberto and I were now distant from our nuclear family and, according to his words, the experience has been one of learning, introspection and looking to the future.
In light of this difficult situation, the feelings have been contradictory. In the face of forced and rapid separation, as a mother, I felt it as very painful and unfair. For Alberto, in principle, it turned out to be an interesting challenge to live independently. Again, in his words: I felt that, despite having worked at being self-sustaining, for me the warmth and love of family is essential.
On the positive side, the growth in maturity that this experience has meant for the whole family is appreciated. As a mother I began to realize that my son was taking a step that was inevitable, that is, living outside the family nest.
I have discovered that I can be very decisive with regard to various aspects of my life … such as planning activities (from online study, to the logistics of home care and maintenance). As for my friends, I have discovered that social life away from home is also possible and has actually been less costly from a financial perspective (Alberto).
From a faith perspective, this time of isolation has been very enriching for me. I think that the Church throughout the has been very active and has established stronger bonds of solidarity.
The Catholic Church’s response to confinement has been swift and effective. I will always remember how parish communities began to emerge on my mobile devices requesting a subscription to their YouTube channel in order to be able to livestream the celebration of Masses … prayerful religious communities extended invitations to reflect and made available to us numerous audio and video presentations … there was virtual catechesis, spiritual exercises, priests giving witness testimony about their experiences in hospitals, in wards and in hotels that had been converted into funeral homes.
For me that time has involved a great leap in faith. I have found myself being invited to walk in a new way, to allow more people to enter into my life, to be welcoming and loving because there is nothing greater than the love that God has for all people, for all his children.
For Alberto: Having this pandemic occur during the time of examinations¸ I have spent most of my time absorbed in study. At the same time, I found it admirable the way in which the church adapted to this situation, providing all kinds of content on the internet the social media network and promoting the invaluable assistance that was given by Cáritas.
As for our life with others, confinement has enabled me to become even closer to my mother and during this time we have shared Sunday Eucharist and other celebrations, via YouTube.
I also continued the First Communion catechesis program in a virtual way, which has made me more knowledgeable about the new tools for this specific ministry. The parents of these children have been very involved in this task, so the collaboration between parents and catechist has been very positive in the midst of this difficult situation.
In my opinion, there is no experience, however hard it may be, that human beings have to confront that is not at the same time an experience of life for that individual and for others. Resilience has become a very fashionable word which implies that we have a series of human tools that enable us to overcome difficult situations.
Whatever it is, what makes men and women excel, I believe that God is there, is always helping his children, because he loves us with a radical love. This, for me, is most important and I see this come alive in my daily life.
This is an immeasurable love, the love of our Father who enables us to continue our journey and to overcome obstacles by participating in that love with provides us with strength to go on for another day.
María Merino y Alberto Trujillano.