Quarantine routine is a regular feature that asks political power brokers and public figures how their daily lives changed – and how they are still doing their jobs – during the coronavirus crisis.
National Director of Priests for Life Frank Pavone says the current coronavirus The crisis will lead to a strengthening of spirituality and a renewal of the faith, among all Americans, during an interview with Fox News on Saturday.
He described how his daily routine has changed and how he continues to minister in the middle of the closure.
Fox News: How has your daily routine changed since the start of social distancing measures?
Pavone: Since the social distancing measures started – which are an excellent way to help our nation and protect our families – have been instituted, my life has changed a lot. Because my ministry is a national and international “Priests for Life” ministry, the largest in the Catholic Church and active in approximately 70 countries, I am always on the go. I sometimes joke that I spend more time in airports than in churches.
And I make at least four trips a week and I speak to a large audience and I have sessions and strategic meetings, and I interact with the pro-life community. So all of a sudden it all stopped. Events were either canceled, postponed or transferred to virtual events. So I really miss it. Of course, in another aspect, we were already, as a ministry, very present online – video broadcasting, social media.
So using these methods to reach people during the period of social distancing, for us, was not something new. Not something we had to start learning. It was a place where we were already very well established. And it really helped our work a lot.
Fox News: What are the biggest challenges in doing your job during this crisis?
Pavone: I would say that the biggest challenge in doing our job during this crisis is that, no matter how effective teleworking – and we have our staff working from home – there are times when you just need your staff at seat.
If they work with certain equipment that you have at the main office or just to sit face to face, it’s really something unique. This is something that you cannot completely replace with things like Skype GoToMeeting or other electronic means of communication.
So not having the staff present – the full staff that is – at all times, is really a drawback. But it is the one that each apostolate and each enterprise, large or small, currently works with.
Fox News: What do you miss most about the way you did your job before it started?
Pavone: What I miss most is … person-to-person contact with pro-life people across America. Those who know the pro-life movement know that they are among the best people in the world – the most generous.
They sacrifice their time, their resources, often their reputation – to reach out to children who don’t even know they are fighting for them. And interact with these people, see their faces and listen to their stories, and hear their statement when I speak to a large group and answer their question in person. Being with them in front of abortion centers where we pray and offer compassion and intervention to those who feel that they have no other choice than abortion – these are the things that I miss the most and I have very can’t wait to come back.
Fox News: What surprised you the most about how life has changed?
Pavone: A number of things surprised me how life changed with the pandemic. One of them is simply the extent of the closure. How many aspects of life, really all aspects of life, have been affected. It was really surprising. And it was amazing how quickly and how quickly it happened. I mean I was going to go home for Easter with my parents. I am in Florida at the seat of our ministry. They live in New York. And we agreed quite easily that the right thing to do, of course, was that I would simply greet them from a distance for the Easter holidays.
But when you look at all the different aspects of life – all the churches, in particular – to see hope in Saint Peter’s Square and the empty square. These are unprecedented things. And just to think of how widespread this break has been, this limbo state in a sense, for all these different aspects of life has really been a surprising phenomenon.
The other thing I guess the word is surprising, but on the other hand, we know who we are dealing with, is how the Democrats, unfortunately – some Democrats – have politicized … this pandemic and didn’t have not done what Americans still do. And it is to come together. Especially when we have a strong leader like we now have at President Trump. To stay away and criticize, to guess what the president is doing – you know we all understand that people have political differences, but this is the time, as the Americans have done before, to come together in unity around those who are our duly elected leaders, to encourage them and to cooperate with them.
Don’t sit back and criticize them as if you could do better. Or to obstruct – even worse, as the Democrats have done in the House – measures which can bring concrete help to our fellow citizens and try, as the Democrats did for example under Pelosi in the House, to try to make abortion funding a bill that tries to help the victims of this pandemic? I mean, it’s totally shameful.
Again, we know what to expect from these people, but their behavior during this pandemic has surprised many people.
I would also mention the abortion industry. While medical services are limited only to those that are essential, in order to preserve medical equipment, medical personnel and space and prevent people from interacting unnecessarily – the abortion industry insists that abortions electives, which they always promote under the rubric of freedom of choice, essential? And even to the point of defying the orders of their governors and bringing their orders to court? It’s just bad behavior and a lot of people find it quite surprising.
Fox News: Are you worried that the virus may normalize the practice of not going to church in person?
Pavone: Some people have expressed concern that social distance and the consequent closure of churches and the lack of public services may, in fact, normalize the practice of not attending church and make it more difficult for them to attend. people come back. But no, it is not one of my concerns.
I mean, people will go back to restaurants. Why? Because we have a need. We not only need food. We need the social experience of a restaurant meal. Likewise, going to church is not a luxury. It is also a need. There is a deep human need to worship together. And of course, in the Catholic Church we have the sacrament of the Eucharist – which many Catholics receive not only every Sunday but every day.
They will return en masse to the church, once he is sure to do so again. And I am not at all worried that the worship of the house will become practically normalized. Now more people can learn about and benefit from the prayer and worship options available online. I think it would be a good thing, but it will not replace their felt need and desire to worship together in person.
Fox News: Do you think the virus will cause spiritual awakening or turn people away from the faith?
Pavone: It is interesting to ask whether the virus will cause a spiritual awakening and a deepening of the faith in America or a deviation from the faith. I believe we are already seeing the signs that this is leading to a deepening of faith. When our president declares a national day of prayer and people, including pastors, gather around it as they did. When we see people searching online for more prayer resources than they have ever done before and ministries, including mine, making more and more online resources available for prayer and worship – i have had the privilege of offering Mass every day online and will continue to do so during this pandemic – we see that people turn to their faith … in a special and strong way when things are not going well .
And we only have our faith to fall back on. The fact that this crisis took place, during what is the holiest time of the year for Christians and Jews – our high holy days – was spent in a very different way this year, which makes us really appreciate faith even more.
I said to Catholics who, of course, miss the experience of communion in the church, that every year on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, the church deliberately does not have mass. We abstain, if you like, from the presence of Jesus in communion on these days, precisely to recreate the experience that the apostles had when Jesus was taken from them, under arrest, then crucified and buried.
This year, we didn’t really need help. [We experienced] a little more of what these apostles experienced on the first Good Friday and Holy Saturday. And I am convinced that all this experience will make us, who are believers, look back and say wow. We really had a Good Friday experience. We really had this experience of uncertainty, absence, isolation and loneliness – with which our religion really began. It is an excellent opportunity for a renewal of the faith. And a revival of America’s spirituality.
Our nation is based on spirituality. Our founding fathers were men of faith. And they said it. And we have a president who very effectively echoes that. Going through a crisis like this, while the Americans – helping each other in our own country and also helping the world – can really bring about a revitalization of the faith that is at the heart of our patriotism. And this is something that is going to be very good for America.