Sara Rose Smith of Custer County, Neb., is enriching her faith life during self-isolation by watching live-streamed church services. Photo courtesy Sara Rose Smith

Youth looking to faith to cope with pandemic

By  Sarah Wentzell, Youth Speak News
  • April 1, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Catholic youth around the world to cope with Mass cancellations, isolation and increasing fear. Yet even in this darkness, their faith is lighting the way. 

For Megan Davignon, a 21-year-old from Delta, Col., the greatest obstacle has been the shutdown of churches in her diocese. With all parish events cancelled, she is no longer able to receive the sacraments or attend Mass. She is relying more than ever on her belief in God to help her through this pandemic.

“My faith has always been my anchor and guiding star, but never more so than in times of crisis. My faith helps me by guiding my decisions and helping me remain calm and patient amidst all the panic.” 

Davignon was was one of the young people Youth Speak News reached out to through the Seton Home Study School, where I am also a student.

The aspiring liberal arts undergraduate sees a parallel between the Lenten journey undertaken by Christians each year and a society weathering a pandemic.

“Lent is meant to be like a desert and the world right now is certainly reflecting that.” 

Davignon also says the pandemic has taught her not to take things for granted.

“A month ago, I never would have thought that I wouldn’t be able to go to Sunday or Easter Mass, go to a restaurant or the library, or have to deal with such panic at all the markets because of an illness. It’s taught me to have a greater appreciation for Christ in the Holy Eucharist, my health and all the little things we use but don’t think about in our daily lives.” 

In Halifax, N.S., Seton student Sofia Allen is finding the quarantine difficult.

“Because we are not allowed to meet up (with friends) at this time, it is more difficult to encourage one another and hold on to hope.” 

The 15-year-old said that living through the COVID-19 crisis reminds us of our fragility and how we must depend upon God. 

“This pandemic shows that regardless of how far we have come in the fields of medicine and other modern advancements, we do not have all of the answers to life’s problems, and so it is a lesson that we are, and always will be, heavily reliant on God.” 

For other youth, undergoing self-isolation forces a painful separation from loved ones. Faith Molino, a 15-year-old homeschool student in Ellicott, Md., has decided to self-quarantine, and this means she is no longer able to visit her grandparents. 

“What brings me the most comfort, I think, is that so many people are united in prayer at this time, praying for the victims of COVID-19, their family members, and those searching for a cure for this virus and taking care of the victims.” 

Sara Rose Smith, a 14-year-old Seton Home Study School student from Custer County, Neb., says the pandemic has helped her to practice empathy.

“I am learning that precautions must be taken whether I like it or not. I have learned to not just think of myself but others.”

Smith recommends relying on faith as a source of hope. 

“I know God has a reason for everything. It may seem strange and scary and confusing, but it will all work out. I keep awaiting the day when I can celebrate Mass once again, and that will be a grand celebration that I hunger for.” 

(Wentzell, 16, is a Grade 11 student in Seton Home Study School in Thunder Bay, Ont.)

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