March 20, 2020

On October 2, 1918, my great-aunt, Lidie Kelly married Thomas Montague.  They each went to their own homes after the wedding instead of heading off on a honeymoon.  You see, Thomas was Irish Catholic, Lidie was Irish Protestant, and they weren’t ready to admit to family that they were married.

Then, on October 14, Thomas died from the Spanish Flu. They never even got to announce their marriage.

They lived in Philadelphia, just blocks from Broad Street, where there was a big Liberty Bond parade on the Saturday before their wedding, on September 28.  By October 1, there were 635 new cases of the flu.  In six weeks, 12,000 people died in Philadelphia.  One of them was my great-uncle Thomas.  

St. Louis cancelled their Liberty Bond parade, and there only 700 people died.

I hear from our Florida members that there people are struggling to understand what staying home can mean.  The beach is great, the sun is wonderful, it’s spring break everywhere.  People want to go out to eat.  Back here on the Southcoast, we’re getting a little stir crazy.  We want to see one another! Now!!!

It’s hard, but it’s the right thing to do.  Go home.  Stay home.  If/when you go shopping, stay away from others.  This is our sacrifice, our duty.  Christ tells us not to turn away from the hard stuff, even if the hard stuff is something as unexciting as staying home, staying away.

Yesterday, I asked if you wanted daily meditations to continue or if you’d rather go to twice a week.  Every response I got was for daily – so long as it wasn’t a burden on me.  And it isn’t. 

I also asked about interest in a weekly on-line meeting, a kind of conference call with video, to allow us to meet together. I’ve only had one person respond to that offer.  If I get a few more responses (email to I’ll put something together.  In the meantime, don’t hesitate to be in touch.

Rich Cotton tells me that Tobey says that Donald Hall is improving; let’s continue those prayers for healing.  

God of compassion,
be close to those who are ill, afraid or in isolation.
In their loneliness, be their consolation;
in their anxiety, be their hope;
in their darkness, be their light;
through him who suffered alone on the cross,
but reigns with you in glory,
Jesus Christ our Lord.