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We’re here for you during the coronavirus pandemic

First slide

As the world comes to terms with the coronavirus pandemic — the fears, anxiety, isolation, inconveniences and economic fallout, not to mention the COVID-19 illness itself — we must strive to find the new normal.

No one knows what lies ahead. How long will this be a constant threat looming over our heads? How can we ever feel comfortable going out in public, and when will that be? Will they be able to help all those suffering from this? Will they find the necessary medical equipment, medication or a vaccine?

This crisis has brought out the best in people throughout the diocese. We have the privilege of being able to share these stories with you. How do we do that? As you read this — online or in the weekly print issue delivered to your mailbox — you might be interested in a behind-the-scenes glimpse of business as usual for the Catholic Herald in this new normal.

We went to press a day early for the last issue and began teleworking on St. Patrick’s Day, from our dining room tables, living rooms or bedrooms, wherever the WiFi is strongest, from throughout the diocese and beyond, even Annapolis.

Every member of the Catholic Herald staff is up and running remotely to ensure all our work is being done. Our “switchboard” is being manned and customer service is in place, as is bookkeeping, production, graphic arts and advertising. With most if not all events canceled, the advertising sales staff is getting creative with online advertising and print ads for emerging businesses and employers to reach their target audience among our 120,000 subscribers.

The virtual newsroom is buzzing early in the morning to very late at night. We have daily conference calls, some video and some on phone lines ranging from an hour to more than two. We are strategizing coverage of the pandemic, what the local Catholic community is doing in response, how you can help, and places to look for the help you might need or for inspiration.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made recommendations on social distancing, and the commonwealth tightened restrictions, we have abided and seen parishes in compliance and being creative.

Check out Zoey Maraist’s story on “Creative confessionals keep the light on for penitents." You can find a priest confessor from the comfort of your car. There’s even drive-up eucharistic adoration.

We hear from the frontline heroes, as Zoey chatted with medical professionals, a grocery store clerk and a hospital chaplain — so many people doing their part to keep us safe.

Local Catholics are asking about Holy Week. Read the latest from the bishop’s office on his plans to livestream his Masses

Leslie Miller brings us a story of how parishioners are stepping up to help the elderly and those at-risk in their communities. The Knights of Columbus in Arlington have a list of needs and a list of volunteers at the ready to deliver prescriptions, groceries or to check in by phone.

Social Media Coordinator Mary Stachyra Lopez brings us a story of love in the time of quarantine as families improvise to stay in touch virtually during the pandemic. She’s all over social media with posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at all hours.

We’ve got tips for homeschooling; coping with work and school under the same roof; dealing with anxiety and depression; taking virtual museum tours; and ways to help by donating money to food banks or donating blood or donating through your parish online giving program so your pastor can pay the bills, and many more stories.

Staff members are teleworking, except for the occasional photo or interview; everyone is maintaining social distance by taking photos from their cars and conducting interviews via email or phone. I have told them repeatedly: No story, no photo is worth putting themselves at risk.

If you’re lucky enough to have the gift of faith, rely on that and bolster it. There are abundant resources out there from the Arlington Diocese, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and just about any other religious entity you can think of. Start with the websites catholicherald.com and arlingtondiocese.org, and if you need help finding something more, reach out to us at feedback@catholicherald.com.

Join us in prayer. We begin our conference calls with a prayer. We will keep you, our readers, in prayer and, if you have a minute, please keep us in your prayers.

Know that we are doing our best to bring you stories that inform, engage and inspire you. We hope our efforts make a difference for you and your families as we all go through this.

Let us know what you’d like to see in the Catholic Herald. We are all in this together, let’s be kind to each other, be forgiving, be encouraging and be there whether in a phone call, a few flowers from your garden left on a doorstep or a quick prayer that no one else hears.

Thank you for being part of the Catholic Herald community.

 

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© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020

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