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Editorial | Joy, connections abound

Works of art in chalk that have popped up along the grounds of St. Cletus Parish in St. Charles are bringing smiles to staff and visitors there.

As detailed in the Review this week, the artworks are the creation of a Lindenwood University student and St. Cletus parishioner Jill Joeckel, who wants to extend a faith message and bring joy to people.

Joy is mentioned in 13 areas of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, including where it states, “The fruits of charity are joy, peace and mercy” (1839). Pope Francis said that since joy is a gift of the Spirit, it vibrates even in turbulent moments and in moments of trial.

We have seen moments of turbulence and trial in recent months, following the COVID-19 pandemic. But we’ve also seen joy as people reach out to one another, by providing food to others in need due to job losses; by waving at a neighbor out for a walk; by lightening the mood of someone who is isolated — making a phone call or sending them a message or a card, perhaps.

On May 13, St. John Vianney High School students teamed up with Cardinal Ritter Senior Services for a day of virtual bingo to bring joy to residents. Additionally, two residential facilities, Mother of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Life, paired residents with Vianney students who wrote more than 800 letters and made phone calls to seniors at the Cardinal Ritter residences as part of their junior year social service projects. Vianney students also prepared over 150 fabric masks to be donated to residents and employees.

The two Catholic organizations stated that they are proud to be living Christ’s calling to service during these difficult times. A written note or phone call spreads happiness to senior residents who are experiencing more isolation due to health and safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kevin Becvar, Vianney High School director of campus ministry, stated that “throughout our virtual social service project, we’ve focused on the following quote from St. Teresa of Calcutta: ‘Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.’”

Many others are spreading love and joy these days, even as social distancing is the norm. Examples are provided in the Review this week on the way Catholic high schools are honoring the class of 2020. Tamiko Armstead, president of Cardinal Ritter College Prep, wrote to her seniors about rescheduling graduation and prom, making sure their wishes are fulfilled. She added, “We love you. We’re proud of you, and for sure there’ll never be another like the class of 2020.”

Through this pandemic, we are realizing we are all one family under God and rediscovering the things that truly matter. More time together has brought a greater sense of peace and connection with each other. As restrictions end and businesses open, let’s continue to proclaim the Good News through our actions and maintain that sense of joy and connection with each other.

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