I’ve posted about Deacon Timothy Flanigan in the past, and now he’s in the news once again, talking about the coronavirus and how to avoid getting it and spreading it.
RICK SNIZEK: Should large gatherings, such as weekend Masses in particular, be avoided if more positive cases are identified locally? How best should the faithful continue to receive the sacraments?
DR. FLANIGAN: Keeping our churches and schools open is a very high priority. Life should go on. We have to keep calm and carry on. We all play key roles in our families, in our communities, and in our work. We can all go to Mass safely. One way to decrease spread of the epidemic is not to go into places where there’s huge crowding where people are pushed together in very close spaces. This is not the case for our churches. When I look out every Sunday, the centers of all of our pews are empty. There’s plenty of room for all of us to go to church and keep a reasonable distance. We should not shake hands during the sign a peace, but should give each other a huge smile. Feel free to wave. This is a good time to forgo receiving Communion from the chalice. We can all cross ourselves when we enter and leave church without dipping our finger in holy water that is shared by everyone.
RICK SNIZEK: What role should faith play in helping people stay focused and healthy, and minimize unproductive fear and anxiety during such times? How does your faith help you to meet the challenges you face as a medical professional?
DR. FLANIGAN: Many of us feel that we are alone. We do not have close friends or family. When we become overwhelmed with the challenges of Covid-19 we should spend a few moments in silence and realize that Jesus is with us. He was alone while he suffered his death on the cross, except for Mary and John who were at his side. Jesus suffered so that we are never alone in our suffering. He carries our cross with us. He will never desert us. When we feel like giving up and are overwhelmed by fear, we should look to the face of Jesus and put ourselves in his hands. He will help us carry on when we feel that we cannot.
And read more about him here.
I got to meet the Doctor Deacon five years ago, when I spoke at the diaconate convocation in Providence.