Anyone just SICK of hearing about how this Spring, the Spring of 2020, was unprecedented? I am. At first “unprecedented” seemed exciting…and then after the long slog of months with no Mass, Distance Learning, parks closed, end less Zoom calls… we all realized that “unprecedented” just means miserable.
And parts of these months in quarantine were miserable. I, for one, fell utterly and completely confirmed in my decisions NOT to homeschool my children and I pray every day that my kids can go back to their incredible Catholic School this Faith (please Jesus!).
But, if I can get out of the current crazy for just a minute, I am forced to admit that quarantine was beautiful too.
Never before have I hungered for Jesus so greatly, or really so clearly understood the Eucharist.
Never before has my family enjoyed so much uninterrupted time together.
Never before has my husband been around for so much for the first year of one of baby’s lives.
Never before has my husband been able to eat lunch with us every day.
And, never before have I been so in touch with the strengths and the weaknesses of my family.
As the world opens up I feel a frenzy pulling me in two opposite directions:
- I am desperate to get out and get to Mass and see all the people I missed and hug everyone (trying to constrain myself on this last point).
- I am desperate to hold onto what we learned and accomplished during quarantine. I want to preserve our family closeness and the ways we have been able to bring the Faith into our lives more fully.
Anyone else struggling with the same feelings?
In an effort to gage your feelings on all of these things, we sent out a survey. Thank you to the nearly 300 people that took a minute to respond. It was an honor and a joy to read through your responses and hear about your experiences. After reading through I feel so strongly that even though we were separated, we really were all experiencing the same thing!
Because it was such a gift to read through these thoughts, I wanted to share them with you.
Our incredible content manager, Megan, worked hard to make sense of the responses so that we at Catholic Sprouts can use them to serve Catholic Parents better. Quarantine changed everything. Thank you for helping us better understand the new world we now live in.
One last note before I get to the survey results. We asked for people to offer feedback anonymously and although this was the right choice, I am sad that I have no way of thanking each person that wrote in! Below are many quotes taken from the survey. Again, the survey was anonymous, so I can’t credit each quote back to the person that wrote it. But thank you again, for your powerful and beautiful thoughts and experiences!
Here’s what we asked:
“What did 2+ months of quarantine with your family help you realize about your Faith and your Family? (ex: any realization about teaching the faith, practicing the faith together, wounds, things that were missing, etc)”
Here’s what you had to say:
6 recurring themes:
- The Domestic Church (90)
- Hunger for Sacraments (61)
- Shifting Priorities (49)
- Prayer (41)
- Trust/Faith (23)
- Community (18)
Direct quotes from the survey on each of these topics:
“I realized that I do not know enough about our faith. I went to Catholic School and received all the sacraments, but yet struggle to truly live out the faith in my life. Beyond prayer, I am looking for things we can do together as a family to actively be Catholic.”
“My husband and I have always felt that, although we are practicing Catholics, we fail to catechize our children enough. We always wonder if we are filling in all of the gaps, or if we even explain all of the things that we know about the faith?! We are trying to explain more, but with so many children at so many different ages, workbooks are proving to be difficult (and we are not normally a homeschooling family). We have turned to things such as your podcast and Christian shows for our catechism. The children love it, and crave more. Great conversations have come about.”
“That there is so much information we could use, but the material we used the most was simple. One of our favorite times during the day now is to sit down and read the gospel from mass out loud and discuss it. Even the littles like to say something even if it’s the same thing they said the day before.”
“Nothing is as important in life as family life, where saints are formed”
Hunger for Sacraments
“I realized how much we rely on mass. I also realized how different my kids’ needs are. I also realized I drive all of the spiritual rituals in our home and I don’t like that. I am not very persistent. And my mood often drives our “routine” of prayer instead of it being a consistent habit.”
“I really do love going to mass. I am not just faking for the kids, as I had suspected at times!”
“We were just able to attend Mass for the first time in 10 weeks last Saturday and as we were getting ready my thirteen year old son said, “I know I should always be happy about going to church, but today I’m really excited.” I’m hopeful that this time makes us more grateful for the blessings of the sacraments and reminds us of how privileged we are to have them freely available to us.”
“We discovered a deep, deep longing for Jesus that we had been too busy to realize before. We also found how reliant we are on the Church to make real the liturgical seasons. We attempted, as best we could, to replicate the celebrations of Holy Week and Easter, but it was just not the same. We need the rhythm and stability that the Church provides!! We are so very thankful to Catholic Sprouts and others who helped us keep the faith alive for our children.”
“I realized that I thought we were doing pretty good with how we spent our time outside of our home, but it turns out that we are busy. Yes, we are busy doing good things, but we have looked at our cleared out schedule and it has been comforting to be home.”
“Family time is really about being present and even through quarantine, if we spend too much time on our phones/computers, we can waste a beautiful blessing in disguise God bestowed on our family. Also, that it is easier to practice the faith together as a family when we slow life down a little bit and are intentional about making time for family prayer.”
“Busyness helps us avoid discomfort and big internal struggles. AND We are made to be in communion with others.”
“We didn’t pray enough as a family and we didn’t pray with conviction and desire to grow closer to God and to listen to Our Lady and make sacrifices and pray for the whole world.”
“I realized how much my children appreciate the routine of prayer, especially as we visited the Mary statue at the church by our house most days for our daily outing. Also the routine of listening to Catholic Sprouts didn’t hurt.”
“We do a lot of “learning Catholic things,” and not a lot of actual family prayer. We are working on praying together as a family beyond a blessing before meals.”
“This time has brought home my continued need to work on trusting God fully. While we were not fearful or panicking, and honestly for our family this has been a great time for many reasons, it still was a powerful reminder that I need to surrender EVERYTHING to God.”
“I learned how little trust I had in Jesus and others in general. Through this I’ve learned how to place my trust where it truly belongs and to have peace knowing that Jesus will get us through everything the world can deliver. I’ve had a tendency to avoid bad emotions instead of facing them but with so much happening and no where to go to avoid I’ve learned how to process them.”
“The time in quarantine has taught me how often you can be in the same space with people and yet still not be present to them, how things we count on can change but our faith can pull us through that, how fear is real but there is a beauty in experiencing that fear while pulling even closer in faith, how resilient and strong our family unit is, even in limited or even absence of the outside world.”
“That we all need the grace of communion and the fellowship of a community. We were not made for isolation, we were made for relationships.”
“I just missed Jesus and the community. I have felt like a ship with no rudder.”
“I need a larger support community than just my husband.”
I hope that reading through these responses was as helpful and hopeful for you as it was for me! God really can use all things for His glory, and He used quarantine. No question about that. The only question now is will we allow this experience to change our hearts and lives for the better? Will we be changed?
I am sorting this out for my own family right now, as I’m sure you are likewise doing for your family.
Just please know that over here at Catholic Sprouts we are listening and eager to hear your thoughts and ideas. We are ready and willing to do anything and everything we can to support and empower Catholic Parents.
Because we are raising saints.
your sister in the small things,