human development, social justice and sustainable social systems

Things I’m learning from the coronavirus outbreak

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Sorting out my priorities

As a relatively healthy, young person, I am not feeling personally threatened by the virus yet. It is older people, those with underlying health conditions, and those who are more exposed and vulnerable (such as homeless people) who are most threatened. Noticing this, I feel my priorities being reoriented. The most fragile among us move to the top of my list of concerns, where they should be in good times and bad times.

Worshipping in the wilderness

Communion of only one kind, no sign of peace, and, in the parish where I go, no hymn books – many Catholics will be familiar with these measures already – and now there is to be no public worship at all. This is the experience of worship in times of isolation, in the wilderness, perhaps. Through the absence of the sensory features we are so used to and perhaps have even taken for granted, I’m learning again what ordinarily makes Mass a celebration of communion.

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About the author
Francis Stewart was born in Lancaster, in the North West of England. He attended St Bernadette’s Catholic Parish and studied at Durham University for his undergraduate degree (Combined Honours, Philosophy, Theology, Anthropology) and for his Master’s Degree (Christian Theology: Catholic Studies). He did 8 months of care work before becoming permanently employed with CAFOD in 2018.

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Francis Stewart

Theology Programme Advisor
Caritas England & Wales - CAFOD

faith and action