Saint Agnes Parish COVID-19 Story

Welcome to the Saint Agnes Parish COVID-19 Story. We are building a parish story of COVID-19 observations, inspirations, guidance, and hope. Of course, this story is your story to build so please make submissions as often as you wish. We pray that this compilation, built by many Saint Agnes parishioners and friends, will become a source of inspiration, guidance, and hope for all who visit. Please note that we will use only your first name or a pen-name of your choosing when we post your story. However, we ask that you provide your real contact info so that we can contact you about your submission if necessary. This information will not be shared or used for any other purpose.

Read on! Our story, your story starts here! After you’re inspired to do so, please click here to submit an item.

An observation from a parishioner [6/7/20]: How wonderful to be celebrating Mass in our church again!  Registering for Mass?  Wearing Masks? Social Distancing? Sanitizing pews after Mass?  All just another part of normal.

A short story from Maureen [5/22/20]: Since March 13, my husband Gary and I have been visiting his Mother, Jean daily through the window of her assisted living apartment. She and the other tenants are not permitted visitors in order to protect them from the Corona virus.

At times, it has been difficult for us as we stand outside in the snow, wind, and rain but we know that it is even more difficult for her.  After losing her husband just this past October, she is now distanced from her kids and grandkids and as we all know from living through this pandemic, it is hard not to give someone you love a big hug!  But Jean’s prayers and music help keep her spirits up.  She misses the days when she and her husband sang in the church choir at Resurrection Church in West Mifflin but she keeps her keyboard near the window where she likes to play and sing along regardless of the weather outside!  God bless Jean and all the shut ins who are really shut in now!

An observation from m. [5/22/20]: This is taken from a piece from Alice Heinzen (a Catholic writer), whose “inspirational e-letters” I get periodically.

What have I learned in the past 7 weeks?
*I need a haircut.
*Repairing and painting walls is easier than I thought.
*The dust under one’s kitchen appliances is disgusting.
*The average time it takes to deep clean a closet is 10 hours.
*Waking up naturally rather than to an alarm is really nice.
Here’s what else I have learned. (These are more important lessons.)
*Zoom calls will never bring the same comfort as being there in person.
*A day without prayer is a day filled with anxiety.
*Cooking as a family feeds more than the body.
*People who wear a mask can smile with their eyes.
*Spiritual Communion makes me regret the times I took the Eucharist for granted. I had asked: “God, why us? Why are you allowing this pandemic to impact the world?” Now I ask in prayer: “Show me, God. Show us, God. What do you want us to learn from this situation?” Changing my perspective has restored my hope and internal peace.  –Alice Heinzen

Maybe her thoughts will resonate with you, too.

A Short Story from Audrey [5/22/20]: Last Tuesday (May 19th), we heard a lot of horn honking and police sirens. Running to the front porch, we saw a large line of cars, many with gold and purple streamers and large “congratulations” signs. The cars were filled with teachers, staff, and the principal from Queen of Angels School– led and followed by North Huntington police. All were honoring the eighth-grade graduate from Queen of Angels School who lives in our neighborhood! This “pandemic parade” brought tears to our eyes and smiles to our faces. What a wonderful heart-warming experience! I have attended many, many eighth-grade graduations. This was, by far, the Best Eighth-Grade Graduation, EVER!!! Blessings to the dedicated folks who planned this! 🙂

A Short Story from Nancy [5/21/20]: My son and I are both nurses. We live a different life at work nowadays. I work in a procedure area and completely dress from head to toe in protective equipment for each case. That means dressing and undressing approximately 15 times a day and spending approximately 5 hours of each day breathing my own exhaled air. We are very exhausted by the end of the day. Many thanks to all others going through this task daily. My son works in a Covid unit taking direct care of those whom are unfortunate to have the virus. He has been quarantined in our camper in his driveway for the last five weeks. He sees his family from the windows or when the weather cooperates and allows them to see each other from a far distance in the driveway. He also wears protective covering from head to toe at his job. Please keep in your prayers all of the medical personal working daily to keep others and themselves safe.

An Observation from a Mom [5/21/20]:The COVID-19 quarantine really caused all of us to stop our lives but as I reflect I’m so happy to have this time to stop running with my kids and spend time together in a different way. It’s come with its challenges for sure but I know that in many years from now we’ll reflect what we did and how we made it through this time and how we even started some new traditions. We’re busy people and I enjoy being busy and keeping my kids active and out of trouble. But this was a welcome break! When things do open up again I’m not sure what we’ll choose to partake in but I am confident we’ll continue some of the traditions we’ve created during quarantine and slow down and enjoy the smaller things. One big takeaway is that we won’t put anything off that we want to do, visit or see!

An Observation from Barb [5/20/20]: Aside from the obviously wonderful first responders who work for our safety and health, it has been inspiring to see all of the efforts being made by both celebrities and common folk, to care for one another. There are so many organizations that are raising money, others are donating food, and especially those who are helping to deliver food from desperate farmers seeing their crops die while people are in need. These wonderful acts of mercy help to combat all of the negative that tries to infiltrate our minds at a time like this. There are good people who are truly humanitarians in our midst!

A Prayer from Therese [5/18/20]: This is a prayer that I have found extremely helpful through this time of “staying in place.”

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
on your own intelligence do not rely;
In all your ways be mindful of HIM,
and HE will make straight your paths.  Proverbs 3:5-6

An Observation from Anne [5/18/20]:  I feel like the biggest “blessing” I have received from these weeks of living a very unusual routine is the connectivity I’ve found with all my children and grandchildren through a weekly Zoom session. It took awhile to get everyone on the same page but each week we got better at it and now we all really look forward to sharing with each other on Sunday evening as the week is getting started.  It has been so energizing and I truly pray that it continues when we get back to public gathering and we don’t forget the importance of making time for family!

An Observation from Patrice [5/17/20]: I am more grateful for my family and friends. In the last few months I have connected more with others that I may not have seen or talked to for quite awhile.  I pray for those who have had the virus and all the impact that may be very difficult for them and their loved  ones.  I have also noticed the kind and generous acts of individuals and groups to assist people in need. I also am thankful for my favorite nurse who has such compassion and kindness for others and continues to be there working hard and helping others.

A Short Story from Eileen [5/17/20]: Covid- 19 became real for me when my daughter who is an ICU nurse cared for one of the 1st covid-19 patients in Allegheny County. The things that she had to endure broke my heart. I had such a strong desire to do something to help in some way but I am not a medical professional so I was unsure how I could help out. Being a seamstress for 40 plus years and by the grace of God I was given the idea to help by making masks for those medical professionals whose supplies were dwindling down to nothing. With a group of about 9 people from my street we formed “The Bristol Lane Gang” and each one of us shared their own talents in helping to put together 265 masks that we donated to a group of volunteers called Sewing for Angels who donates masks to the medical professionals in the area. Since those donations were made I continued sewing because my sewing business was not considered essential. The phone just kept ringing off the hook once people knew I was sewing masks. I’ve had orders of 50 at a time but most orders were 10 and under. To date, I along with the help of my Bristol Lane Gang members have made over 700 masks. Yes I am looking forward to getting back to doing the sewing projects that I’m used to working on.

A Thank you from Carol (5/17/20]: During this pandemic, Sandy Monier, our pastoral care minister, reached out to the pastoral care team to call our parishioners that we thought would need help or just a person to talk to. I did call many of our parishioners and felt so blessed to help them any way that I could. Just informing them that we had online streaming changed their lives in a positive way. Thank you for giving me the privilege to be of assistance. God Bless.

A Thank you from Carol (5/17/20]: Bill and I want to extend our sincere appreciation for the thoughtfulness and heartfelt contact that St. Agnes has given us throughout this COVID-19. Mary Blythe has been an inspiration conveying dates, mass times, notices and so much more to keep us abreast of the happenings in the church. Monsignor Paul has been a true blessing to both of us with his online masses and musings. Because of your love for your parishioners, we were able to keep our Catholic faith strong and committed to the Blessed Mother, and the Holy Trinity. We are in the yellow phase with more to look forward to because of your love and concern for all of us. Looking forward to one on one with our Lord. God Bless You All.

An Observation from Bee [5/17/20]: Isn’t it amazing how you can see the smile behind the mask? I love to look into people’s eyes!

 A Thank you from Nancy (5/12/20): Many thanks to all those who have made going to Mass in our living room so special. We very much miss going to Church for Mass and seeing all our fellow parishioners and families weekly but the Masses online have greatly been appreciated. Every aspect of the Mass is addressed with special attention which has added to the viewing at home. The music and prayers with attached words is such a special touch we have not seen on any other Masses. The flowers and attention to Mother Mary this past Sunday was simply beautiful. The homilies have been excellent with much attention relating to the present times we are in now. The video expertise is highly noticeable, with ease in changing from one scene to another and great sound. The communion prayer is a blessed touch much appreciated. All in all there is a professional and sacred touch to each entire Mass that makes us feel as though we did attend in our Church, St Agnes. We are proud to share our Mass online with all in need. Thanks to everyone involved. You have all gone “Above & Beyond” to make a difficult situation more enjoyable.

A Thank you from Rose Ann (5/3/20): I like Saint Agnes’ Sunday Masses because the words for the songs and prayers are included. I really like to sing and pray along just like being in church. Thank you!

A Thank you from Michelle (4/24/20): On Holy Saturday we were driving down Pennsylvania Avenue and spotted someone dressed as the Easter Bunny standing on the side of the road and waving. We turned around and drove back so that we could slow down and give our young son a better look. Thank you Mr. Easter Bunny! In this year of much uncertainty, our son was especially happy to see you!

An Observation from Mary (4/13/20): Shortly after schools started closing we began hearing about teachers who called the parents of their students and told them that they would be “driving by” to say hello and that’s just what they did! What a joy to see the kids smiling and waving at their teachers who drove around the neighborhoods waving to their students with a nice “Hello!” What a beautiful way to say, “We care!” Thank you Norwin teachers! You’ve really shown us that you care!