I want to find hope in this morass.

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A yard with trees with a sign that says “Don’t Give Up.” Photo by Rosie Kerr on Unsplash

I found my son’s dead body on the evening of April 26, 2020. Quentin had turned 18 earlier in the month; it would be his last birthday.

Beyond saying he did not succumb to COVID-19, I am still not emotionally ready to discuss the details outside of therapy. I am unable to do much of anything anymore. Most of my days involve listening to the bland noise of sports television while doomscrolling through social media. Grief consumes me, and I struggle with eating, reading, and sleeping.

Whenever I close my eyes, I experience 3-D flashbacks of finding him and random scenes from his all-too-brief life. …


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Joe Biden, Official Portrait (David Lienemann, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

In the aftermath of the 2020 election, the Biblical book of Nehemiah offers an important lesson for how President-elect Joe Biden should handle the transition and beyond.

Nehemiah was a Jew who lived as an exile the Persian empire and served as a high-ranking official in the royal court. In the first chapter of the book, Nehemiah received word that the wall of Jerusalem lay in ruins. The exiles who had returned to the city were in a precarious situation because the city had no defenses.

After praying, the king gave Nehemiah all that he requested. He received permission, funding, supplies, and a military force from the king to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem. …


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Photo by Thays Orrico on Unsplash

The coronavirus pandemic has had troubling effects for people practicing their religion. Due to restrictions on the size of gatherings, religious services have been curtailed and canceled.

The quarantines and lockdowns have been controversial for Catholics who gather on Sundays to partake of the Eucharist. By receiving the sanctified bread and wine, Catholics believe they eat and drink the body and blood of Jesus Christ. The inability to gather for Mass means that Catholics have been limited in their ability to perform our most sacred rite.

Catholics refer to the Eucharist as “the Source and Summit of the faith.” This theological position comes from Lumen Gentium, a foundational document promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. …


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Photo by Morning Brew on Unsplash

In one of the most celebrated stories in the life of Christ (recorded in Matthew 16:13–28), Jesus asked his disciples about the scuttlebutt. “Who do people say I am?”

His closest followers answered, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

It’s not as if Jesus didn’t know what people were saying about him. You don’t have to be omniscient to realize what the rumor mill probably says about you.

Because Jesus never did anything without a purpose, he likely asked his original question to set the stage for his next inquiry. …


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Photo by Deleece Cook on Unsplash

These are difficult days for both parents and students. Parents have not been trained to teach students, and most children are accustomed to learning in a classroom environment with their peers and a trained teacher rather than at home

As an elementary educator, I have been fortunate to have spent the bulk of my teaching career in first, second, and third grade classroom. I’d like to offer 15 tips on how to create a positive learning environment in you home during the time of pandemic.

1. Establish Routines and Procedures

This is the first thing teachers do every school year with their students. You and your children need to know when, where, and how to do things. How do they get online? Where are the passwords? What are consequences for avoiding schoolwork or interfering with siblings as they try to learn? Do they get rewards for excellent behavior? How do they ask for help? What do they do when they are finished with an assignment? You can co-create them because your child needs to be engaged in the process. This is essential: Practice them several times and stick to them even when it is difficult. It will make the educational experience flow more smoothly for everyone as the year unfolds. …


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Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

A second grader in Georgia tested positive for COVID-19. A second grader. I taught second grade for several years, and this is just awful. How many other people have been exposed? The answer is everyone who has been in the school.

I’ve taught many children with significant support needs and others with serious illnesses. Some have had severe autism, microcephaly, asthma, significant allergies, compromised immune systems, ADHD, and more. To expose these children and their peers to COVID-19 is beyond irresponsible.

My teaching colleagues have dedicated themselves to children, and many have chronic illnesses that put them at greater risk for acquiring coronavirus. Back in March, schools went to remote learning, and people experienced how difficult teaching is. Parents experienced the challenge of teaching their own children without any training, and they voiced deep appreciation for educators. …


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Horrified.

On the evening of July 18, I tuned in to the Catholic broadcasting behemoth during the liturgy of the Eucharist. Like every good Catholic, I arrived late.

As the camera panned the congregation, I watched in shock as about 30 people (in addition to the altar servers and choir members) processed to the altar. Mostly elderly but with a couple families, fewer than half the people wore masks — not the priest, altar servers, or choir members

The most distressing part was that every person they showed on camera received communion on their tongue.

Whether electronically or in person, I rarely pay attention to the way people receive communion; it feels intrusive. Nevertheless, all I could see was this gathering of Catholics becoming a vector of coronavirus transmission, especially considering the high and growing infection rate in Alabama. …


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Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York sent a controversial book to all his fellow cardinals. The Next Pope is a thinly veiled attack against Pope Francis.

The author, George Weigel, is a right-wing Catholic author who works for an ultra-conservative advocacy group. His views on trickle-down economics, anti-immigration, and pro-American international policy have set him opposed to Pope Francis.

Weigel has disputed other popes for being too liberal also.

He once notoriously asserted that Pope Benedict did not mean what he wrote in the papal encyclical Caritas in Veritate. Weigel suggested that the reader can use a Weigelian hermeneutic to strike everything with a red pen that disagrees with his views. …


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Photo by Christian Liebel on Unsplash

The Catholic faithful are clamoring to return to closed churches. We want to spend time with fellow parishioners and hear sacred scripture proclaimed in the liturgy of the Word. But the primary desire is to receive communion in the liturgy of the Eucharist.

The Second Vatican Council has described the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Catholic faith, and most Catholics take that teaching seriously. At the same time, much catechesis has overemphasized receiving the Eucharist as a singular act disconnected from a wider life of faith.

The Church teaches that Eucharist is not an deed unto itself. It is not an act of worship separated from the rest of life of the Church. As the Source of Catholic faith, the real presence of Christ flows from the Eucharist into the life of the Church. …


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The Pool of Bethesda by Robert Bateman (1836–1889), Yale Center for British Art / Public domain

Since Italy has been suffering horrible effects of the coronavirus, the daily Mass celebrated by Pope Francis has been televised. This was begun because so many churches are closing to help mitigate the public health crisis.

This morning Mass is a quiet event with no more than 10 people in attendance. The Pope leads the Mass. An older vowed religious sister reads the first pericope and the responsorial Psalm, and a priest reads the Gospel in Italian. The Holy Father offers a homily, typically with no written notes.

After the Mass, there is a time of Eucharistic Adoration that lasts for about 10 minutes. …

About

Disabled Saints

A former elementary educator with a physical disability. @disabledsaints

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