In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic we are advised to keep social distancing. Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the lead doctors/scientists on the President’s Coronavirus Taskforce, has said he thinks the handshake is dead. One of our first directives as the pandemic was ramping up was to suspend the hand shake of peace during Mass, and to offer some other sign of peace. Of course, long before this trying time, our parents would remind us to wash our hands. All this is by way of saying that I’ve been thinking a lot about hands. I remember years ago visiting a church in Cuernavaca, Mexico where the Stations of the Cross were all drawings of hands—no faces, no other parts of the body—simply hands. I must admit that those images of the hands to this day remain seared in my memory as one of the most powerful images of the Way of the Cross.
Our hands speak so much. A handshake welcomes someone. A high five or a pat on the back offers support and encouragement. Folded hands lift up our prayers. Our hands speak so much. I want to invite you to use your hands to speak at this moment. I want your hands to offer encouragement and support. I want your hands to lift up prayers. Here is how you can lend a hand—or many hands.
Trace your hand on piece of paper, preferably on colored paper or color your hand on white paper, and cut it out. On your traced hands, write a specific intention for prayer or specific word of gratitude/support on each hand that you make. When you have a chance, either send your hands in to the parish or drop them off in the box marked LEND ME A HAND by the parish office. Let’s see how many hands of prayer and support we can collect. We will figure a way out to share the images of your hands as we at St. Julie offer our prayers and support to all those who are impacted by this pandemic.
Our hands speak so much; what will your hands say at this time.
– Fr Lou
Saint Julie Billiart Catholic Church
7399 W. 159th Street
Tinley Park, Illinois 60477 (map)
Fr. Tirso Villaverde, Pastor