Every Sunday, the list grows. At my multi-cultural, income-diverse parish, it now takes the lector several minutes during the Prayer of the Faithful to read the names of individuals and families from our parish sickened by Covid-19. This past Sunday, we prayed for 68 parishioners—"and family” for at least ten.
While some of us have the luxury to stay in our homes, many others cannot—and these are the members of our communities whose names we hear each Sunday. The pandemic is exacerbating and shining a light on the many disparities present in our national and global society.
What disparities am I referring to?
In addition, we cannot forget that the situation in many poorer nations is dire. Health infrastructure and basic medical equipment are woefully inadequate in many developing countries. The sixty percent of the world’s workers who are part of the informal economy are suffering severe losses of income, with women, children, migrant workers and indigenous populations hit hardest. Remittances, which help decrease poverty and contribute significantly to lower- and middle-income economies, are severely reduced. And children in many developing countries, where internet access is far from universal, have simply stopped receiving an education.
So, what can we do?
These realities are stark, and it is easy to feel powerless in the face of the structural injustices that create the disparities we are now seeing. Especially as we look toward Pentecost, we must reflect on the call to discipleship—a call that requires a commitment to accompaniment and work for justice. Here are three ways we can act in solidarity and begin to address the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:
Far from being powerless, there is much we can and must do. We may be physically distanced, but we can still work to overcome both isolation and disparity. Doing so is essential to living out the call to discipleship as followers of Christ.
Jill Rauh serves as Director of Education & Outreach for the USCCB Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and is a member of St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, MD.