Living with the Coronavirus Pandemic
at 76 Fifth Avenue London W10
How it has been for us — A few reflections under Lockdown. Little did we think that Lockdown would bring so many restrictions and last so long. The Scripture quote on our Mercy Calendar read: “Never grow tired of doing what is right.” (2 Thesalonians:3:13) We keep trying like many others to live this quotation! We acquired a new vocabulary: “Wash your Hands” “Save Lives” “Stay at Home” “Protect the NHS” “Social Distancing” “Wear a Mask” “Sanitizing” and many more. We adjusted to a new way of using our time: developing computer skills, shopping on-line, live-streaming and learning a new way of being Church. We endeavoured to live Mercy in Lockdown. Even though our movements were restricted, we tried to be the Face of Mercy to others as we responded to the needs of the local community who called at our door, asking for prayer. We kept in touch with the neighbours who are in and out of hospital and others recently bereaved. We have communicated by telephone with the housebound, the elderly and people living alone and in isolation. This was greatly appreciated. We too received many phone calls from parishioners with offers of help with shopping and other errands. We experienced the kindness of neighbours and parishioners who knocked on the door to say “Hello” enquire about our welfare and bring us gifts of food and flowers! Our Parish Priest phoned us daily. We called it our Daily Briefing! Margarita and the Parish Priest kept in touch with the Parents and children who were unable to receive their First Communion due to the pandemic. They were reassured that they were constantly on our minds and prayed for daily.
Gardening has been very important to us. The roses, tubs and pots at the front of the house have given much pleasure to passers-by who stopped to look and comment on them and have a chat. Friends provided us with bedding plants which kept Margarita busy in the back garden. It was a case of “I did the planting, Apollos did the watering but God made things grow.” (Cor 3:v6-7) The garden shed needed a makeover andMargarita set to painting. It is looking good! Because noise has abated since Lockdown we hear and see more birds in the garden. We were, for the first time, surprised by a blackbird that appeared at our kitchen door with a worm in it’s beak. For us this was unusual! By the time we got the camera it had disappeared. The exceptionally good weather has allowed us to sit and enjoy the garden more than in previous years. The garden was a place of relaxation with time for reading. We were fortunate to make a few visits to the Rose Gardens in Regents Park and On Thursday evenings we joined our neighbours by opening our door, ringing our bells and applauding our wonderful NHS. It was also a social occasion as we were able to communicate while keeping our social distancing.
On 8th May we celebrated VE Day 75 with a street party on the pavement outside the house as we joined our neighbours whilst socially distancing. Cakes and teas, etc, were in plentiful supply and the occasion was enjoyed by all of us. Many stories were shared. Even the Police gave us a wave as they passed by!
Because of “Lockdown” we were unable to celebrate the 125th anniversary of The Sisters of Mercy in our Parish. However we had many congratulatory messages from parishioners.
In the midst of all this activity during the pandemic, we have taken time to nourish our own spiritual needs by participating in Masses and Holy Hours streamed from various churches in different countries. We joined Pope Francis in prayer when he led the world in a Holy Hour and the Blessing Urbi et Orbi from the Vatican on 27th April. It was a very moving experience to watch him walk up the steps of St Peter’s alone and in the rain to pray before the Icon of Our Lady and the Miraculous Crucifix. We are fortunate to have the Blessed Sacrament reserved in our Prayer Room and receive Holy Communion each day. Our Parish Priest continually provides us with the Sacred Hosts.
We constantly thank God that we are well. We recently came across the following encouraging quote on an Irish website : “Do not lose heart for soon we will walk into the sunlight and rejoice in our freedom. We will see one another in a new light and greet one another as brothers and sisters, God will make a way.”
Scripture taken from The Jerusalem Bible © 1966
By Darton Longman & Todd Ltd & Doubleday & Company Inc
Sisters Margarita and Angela