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Reflections In A Time Of Sheltering In Place

Reflections in a Time of Sheltering in Place

Fr. Bill Dorrmann shares his “New Normal”

The Covid-19 Virus first came to my attention as our St. John’s Parish Pilgrims (St. John the Baptist, Harrison) were boarding a flight on our return home from San Salvador. We formed a twining covenant with two churches there and we make a yearly visit to see our sponsored students, pastors, and parents. While in the boarding line, a woman randomly took temperatures and provided everyone with information about the COVID-19 virus. Hearing that it originated in China, I thought very little about how that may affect us.

A month later, the “shelter in place” order came from Governor DeWine. So now I have a monastic kind of life: much silence in my apartment, time for prayer, and sufficient rest. Parishioners of St. John the Baptist Church very kindly bring food and offer to assist with my needs.

As a retired priest, I would normally have few priestly duties except for offering weekday Masses and Confessions. So now, living sheltered at home, I have time to adjust to my new quiet life. I often find it to be very suitable as an introvert.

I do miss singing with the choir at 11:00 a.m Sunday Mass, the gathering of people, and being available to help as needed. I now celebrate daily Mass at home with a fellow retired priest, then we share the supper graciously provided by parishioners. Holy Mass in this privacy of home gives time for reflection on a deeper meaning of standing in the presence of The Lord who indeed renews His one perfect sacrifice through us. An awesome experience! Although Holy Mass is not available to all, we offer it for all, especially those most afflicted by the pandemic.

My Reflection and Memories of my dear friend

On March 11, my priest-friend and I visited Archbishop Pilarczyk at The Little Sisters of The Poor, finding him sitting in the lounge while listening to classical music as he loved to do. We thanked him for his 25 plus years of serving us as chief shepherd, and I wondered whether this might be the end-of-time for him. Parkinson’s had visibly taken its toll as he acknowledged our remarks with muffled speech – quite aware of our words of thankfulness for his ministry.

I do remember Daniel Pilarczyk coming to the Seminary in 1948 as a sophomore, having skipped freshman year after attending Sacred Heart Latin School in Dayton, Ohio – his home town. Even then, he showed his writing ability by entering an article in the Semscript, our Quarterly Publication, showing his youthful writing skill. In our second year of college, I was amazed at this young fellow’s courage to make his presence known.

Rest In Peace Archbishop Pilarczyk

On March 22, Archbishop Daniel passed into Eternity. The Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Cathedral, which I, with much sadness and tears, viewed from my computer. I watched as Archbishop Schnurr presided and paid a fitting tribute to his predecessor.

As I reflect on his life, I thank God for bringing one of our local men to the priesthood and such a high ministry in the Church! As so many have said, he was an inspiration to me and his memory gives me the courage to continue my limited ministry so long as God permits.

In this time of trial, I’ll soon observe my 65th Anniversary of Ordination to the Priesthood. During this time of retreat, I pray that God gives me an understanding heart, and the ability, like our beloved Archbishop, to say and believe: “God loves us so much that this life of Jesus, that we have been given to share, will never end. God wants us with Him forever. NO MATTER HOW CONFUSING AND PAINFUL OUR LIFE MAY BE, WE HAVE GOD’S GUARANTEE OF FINAL FULFILLMENT. In the most literal sense, God has promised us that everything is going to be alright.”

May Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk rest in peace, and may we soon have a vaccine for this virus.

God Bless,
Father Bill Dorrmann

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