Looking back a few months ago, when I had heard of the coronavirus raging in another country, I did not worry or get stressed. I thought it was just another sickness that would pass quickly and not affect the United States of America. I was very wrong. COVID-19 has affected so many people around the world, including in the United States, in so many ways. I have heard many sad stories: One family’s dad died, while the mother was very sick in the hospital, along with their children sick at home; one of my friend’s uncles and then their godfather dying; grandparents having health problems along with being sick with COVID-19. Even if I could have looked forward in time a few months ago, I would have never imagined how much sorrow, grief and suffering many people would experience.

This is the time of suffering, grief and sadness. But this should also be a time to grow closer to God. Back before Mass was canceled in the Diocese of Albany, at my parish, The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, each Sunday my family would pile into our van, making sure to leave early, for my brother is an altar server, and especially if me and my sisters were singing. We had no idea that in a couple of weeks, we would no longer be able to attend Mass each Sunday and receive the sacraments. We just took Mass and the sacraments for granted. Now each Sunday as we watch live Mass with Father Michael Schmitz on our family TV, I wonder sadly when Mass will be reopened to the public again, and when I can receive the Holy Eucharist along with receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then I realize that Mass, and the other sacraments, will be back in good time.

Right now is not the time to try and see what the future will be like and wonder when life will go back to normal. Now is the time to deal with the present. Right now is the perfect time for prayer and the perfect time to grow closer to God and Jesus Christ. Read the Bible, study Scripture and Catechism; read about the saints. Grow closer to God, Jesus, Mary and the saints in heaven by meditation and prayer. Pray for the doctors and nurses risking their lives; pray for the people who are homeless and jobless; pray for the people who are grieving over the death of a loved one. Pray for those who are sick, dying and dead. Pray for the end of the coronavirus and pray for the strength to trust in God to help us to make it through this time of sorrow, trial, despair and grief.

Raelee Ostrander, 15, is a homeschooled ninth grader who lives in Princetown.