daffodils in flower box

The daffodils in the flower boxes outside the Pleasant Street Friary were planted last fall by Fr. John Quigley, OFM.

I have found aspects of this pandemic to be like the longest Lent that I’ve ever gone through, complete with a frequent reminder that I am dust and unto dust I will return. Certainly my own wrestling with the disease of Covid-19 last June left me aware that this disease could take a variety of turns. I am grateful today that I did not have adverse effects of which I am aware.

Blooming tree

Spring blooming tree outside the friary.

One of my dreams as I was in quarantine with the disease was to go out running again. It’s an exercise that I really enjoy, and thanks to God’s help, I have been able to do that freely. My biggest dream now is for us friars to be able to get together in Chapter at some time before 2023, to have a time to remember the goodness of our Province, to grieve over the loss of our Province, and to begin to celebrate the current connections of brotherhood moving into the New Province.

Yes, I also long to be at a big gathering of my family that is joyful and unmasked and for us to be able to hug each other. While I don’t think that will be this Easter, it may happen this summer. I look at the blooming tulips, crocuses and full opened daffodils from the bulbs that John Quigley planted last autumn in the flower box in front of Pleasant Street. Blossoms are bursting forth on the tree outside our window.

I trust that after every Lent there is an Easter. This quarantine made me aware of greed, angry judgments and division that plague our country, with my own collusion in that. I am looking forward to the blossoming of a new time, a springtime that promotes and reverences the connections between cultures, faith, and different experiences of being human. We are brothers and sisters to each other. That’s more of my ultimate post-pandemic dream.

(Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM, is the Provincial Minister of the Province of St. John the Baptist.)