Lessons from the pandemic, as shared by our top Catholic high school graduates

Catholic leaders locally and globally have said we can’t return to “normal” after the pandemic. Marking the one-year anniversary of COVID-19’s disruption of lives in the United States, Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka urged us in mid-March to choose “a new way of living” that incorporates deeper faith in Jesus Christ, the lessons learned from the pandemic, and understanding more fully “the eternal truth that life is a precious, fragile, and sacred gift from God.”

In this issue of The Catholic Post, 14 of the brightest young minds in our diocese shared the lessons they have learned as they completed their Catholic high school education during this historic time. We encourage a close reading of their thoughts, found on pages 6-9. Here we offer a summary of their wisdom as we continue the challenge to emerge better than “normal.”

  • Don’t take anything for granted, no matter how seemingly small or mundane.
  • Live in the moment instead of dwelling on what could have been.
  • Reach out to others and make connections.
  • Empathize with those who are profoundly suffering.
  • Cherish time with friends and family.
  • Don’t compare your experiences to others.
  • Find hobbies, be open to trying new things.
  • Do not become defined by COVID.
  • Appreciate the roles of educators.
  • Always look at the positives.
  • See past the negative and learn from challenging situations.
  • See the good in change. It can shape your future and transform your mindset.
  • Stop complaining, start doing to make the most of life.

This list is not exhaustive, and each of us can add to it. As the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ approaches this weekend, I hope to never again take for granted being able to receive Jesus in the Eucharist. Or to sing in church without my glasses fogging up because of wearing a mask — something I enjoyed for the first time last weekend.

What have you learned? Incorporate the lessons, and be better than “normal” going forward. — Thomas J. Dermody

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