March – Random Acts of Kindness in the time of Coronavirus
Last weekend I was giving the annual Jesuit Missions parish appeal at St Peter’s and St Joseph’s churches, Stonyhurst. It also gave me a very brief opportunity to visit the College. Outside the Chaplaincy at Stonyhurst was a wonderful sign reading: Random Acts of Kindness for Lent. The flip chart, placed strategically in the frequently travelled corridor by Lay Chaplain Catherine Hanley, features a Random Act of Kindness each day. The one for Day 16, said, ‘Pay people compliments: make someone smile today!
The theme of support in the community did not end there. As Parish Priest Fr Tim Curtis SJ concluded each of the weekend Masses, he gently pointed to the uncertainty facing us all in the time of Coronavirus and the need to support one another as a community. To this end, he suggested that everyone choose a buddy to telephone/Skype/Facetime each day, just have a conversation and to see how they are getting on. He also suggested that it might be appropriate to finish with a prayer.
In times of adversity we are reminded that we are part of a community and that our faith calls on us to support one another and it gives us hope. Technology provides us with a wonderful way to do this, even if we cannot meet in person because we are working from home, self-isolating or not in our usual surrounding because of travel restriction. Imagine how the world would be transformed if each of us, every day, performed one random act of kindness or checked on a buddy to make sure that they are doing alright. Perhaps we need to add this to the list of suggestions on how to deal with Coronavirus!
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. (Romans 12: 9-13)
‘Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.’ – St Teresa of Calcutta