COVID-19 Crisis Info/Spiritual Help Page

How Can We Help?

During the COVID-19 crisis, please know that despite the fact we cannot gather together in community to worship, we can hold each other in prayer. 


As Christians, we turn to God in times of fear and uncertainty as we do in times of joy and celebration. Please join us as we pray for God’s heart of love, mercy, and truth to dwell in us and show us how to face the challenges posed by the new coronavirus.


 All information usually in the bulletin is on this page, as well as a variety of other COVID-19 specific reflections & news.  Downloadable PDFs of the e-bulletins from March 22 and March 29 can be found here

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Quick Links on the COVID-19 Spiritual Page

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Readings

General Info During COVID-Crisis

Faith-based Reflections

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Masses Info

Faith & Coping During the COVID-19 Crisis

Faith & Coping During the COVID-19 Crisis

Church & Rectory Closed Until Further Notice

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 In response to the current stay-at-home order and at the direction of the Archdiocese of Chicago, St. Gertrude Church and Rectory will be closed until further notice. 


The Church will not be open for quiet prayer.  

Father Rich's Column for Sunday, March 29

News About Easter/Funerals/Weddings

Dear St. Gertrude parishioners,
 

It is not an understatement to say all of us here in the Rectory miss seeing all of you! We especially miss gathering together for daily and Sunday Eucharist! Perhaps one of the things this unique time will teach us is how much we take for granted our many freedoms and habits. When they are suddenly altered or not possible, we realize how much we rely upon them every day and every week.
 

The Governor’s order to stay in place is not only understandable but necessary for everyone’s health. And no one yet knows for how long we may be asked to continue in this way. But I did want everyone to be aware that we already have clarity from Cardinal Cupich and the Archdiocese about some things.

First and foremost, there will be no public Holy Week or Easter services. All of those services, including daily and Sunday Masses, will be offered at Holy Name Cathedral (without congregations) and can be accessed online. (A list of online and televised Masses is available here.)
 

In response to the new stay-at-home order, all funerals and all weddings are being postponed.

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More From Father Rich

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Gospel Story of Lazarus - Loss and New Life

This coming Sunday is the Fifth Sunday of Lent when we hear the gospel story of the raising of Lazarus. I encourage you to spend some time with this gospel, in particular, which offers us much for reflection about what it means to lose not only someone we love, but the life we knew, and how, in Christ Jesus, new life always comes forth from death. A daily reflection on the events of the day and our feelings and thoughts about them can be a great spiritual tool for giving thanks and for realizing God’s presence in our lives.

2020 U.S. Census

 One of the many items we need to pay attention to during this time is maintaining awareness of other activities that cannot be postponed. Uppermost is the 2020 Census. The census plays such a huge role in how representatives are distributed and how funds are allocated.  Please be sure to complete the 2020 Census form online or via the paper form you may have received in the mail. 

Archdiocese Staff

When the Archdiocese ordered all services to cease until further notice and all employees to work from home, or simply to stay at home, along with that was the commitment from the Archdiocese and every parish and institution to pay all employees their usual pay -- whether they are full-time, part-time or hourly employees. I applaud this decision! It will be so very necessary for all of us in the coming weeks and months to do whatever we can to assist those who have lost jobs or have had their hours and pay greatly reduced or eliminated.  

Sunday Offertory Collections/Parish Finances

As you know, our financial situation depends entirely on contributions, and especially the Sunday Offertory collections. If you are currently contributing electronically, please continue to do so. We have also received some Sunday envelopes that were either dropped off at Church or the Rectory or mailed in. Please try your best to contribute each week for the financial health of the parish.

The Archdiocese has now made available a new online giving option via the Archdiocesan website. You simply click on the link, it takes you to the website. Once there, you determine if you want to contribute via a credit card or a checking account. You fill out the form, including selecting the parish to which the contribution is going, and the money will be electronically debited. The site offers options for amounts and the frequency of the contribution.
 

If you prefer to make an offertory donation through cash or check, please mail them to the parish office, 1420 W. Granville Ave., Chicago, IL 60660.
 

The fact that this pandemic is occurring during our Lenten journey offers each of us important reminders about the role of faith, hope, and charity in our daily lives and in whom we place our trust. I believe we are being called by Jesus Christ to a renewed sense of solidarity. This is a time for unity in prayer, not for isolation; it is a time for hope, not despair; it is a time for generosity, not self-focus. “This is how all will know that you are my disciples-  if you have love for one another.” (Jn 13:35)
 

Thank you for doing your best to care for those in need as well as helping to maintain the financial health of St. Gertrude Parish. 

Donating Blood

Since the stay at home order, the ability of the Red Cross and associates to host blood drives has disappeared, but the need for blood donations has not lessened. Please consider giving the gift of life! St. Gertrude has worked with Vitalant for many years (but this is a new name!). Click HERE for the link to their website where you can make an appointment: Please, donate blood if you can! 

Readings for Sunday, March 29

Fifth Sunday of Lent

Click HERE for an audio file of the readings.


First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel 

(Ez 37:12-14) 

Thus says the Lord GOD: O my people, I will open your graves and have you rise from them, and bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and have you rise from them, O my people! I will put my spirit in you that you may live, and I will settle you upon your land; thus you shall know that I am the LORD. I have promised, and I will do it, says the LORD.    


Responsorial Psalm 

(Ps 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8)

R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice!  Let your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.

R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

If you, O LORD, mark iniquities, LORD, who can stand?  But with you is forgiveness, that you may be revered.

R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

I trust in the LORD; my soul trusts in his word.  More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the LORD.

R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.

For with the LORD is kindness and with him is plenteous redemption; And he will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.

R. With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption.


Second Reading - From the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans  

(Rom 8:8-11)

Brothers and sisters: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; on the contrary, you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you. Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is alive because of righteousness. If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit dwelling in you.    


Gospel Acclamation:

Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ, king of endless glory.

I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will never die.


A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

(Jn 11:1-45)

Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who had anointed the Lord with perfumed oil and dried his feet with her hair; it was her brother Lazarus who was ill.


So the sisters sent word to him saying, “Master, the one you love is ill.” When Jesus heard this he said, “This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that he was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was. Then after this, he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and you want to go back there?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in a day? If one walks during the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” He said this, and then told them, “Our friend Lazarus is asleep, but I am going to awaken him.” So the disciples said to him, “Master, if he is asleep, he will be saved.” But Jesus was talking about his death, while they thought that he meant ordinary sleep. So then Jesus said to them clearly, “Lazarus has died. And I am glad for you that I was not there, that you may believe. Let us go to him.” So Thomas, called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go to die with him.” When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.


But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”


When she had said this, she went and called her sister Mary secretly, saying, “The teacher is here and is asking for you.” As soon as she heard this, she rose quickly and went to him. For Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still where Martha had met him. So when the Jews who were with her in the house comforting her saw Mary get up quickly and go out, they followed her, presuming that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and the Jews who had come with her weeping, he became perturbed and deeply troubled, and said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Sir, come and see.” And Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him.” But some of them said, “Could not the one who opened the eyes of the blind man have done something so that this man would not have died?”


So Jesus, perturbed again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay across it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the dead man’s sister, said to him, “Lord, by now there will be a stench; he has been dead for four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believe you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus raised his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you for hearing me. I know that you always hear me; but because of the crowd here I have said this, that they may believe that you sent me.” And when he had said this, He cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, tied hand and foot with burial bands, and his face was wrapped in a cloth. So Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”


Now many of the Jews who had come to Mary and seen what he had done began to believe in him.     

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Growing in Faith Reflection

by Madeleine Philbin

“At its most brutal, home is no more than one’s name." - I read that sentence years ago in an essay that had nothing to do with Lazarus. But I think of it whenever I hear the Lazarus gospel, this spare story, so few details - yet there it is, “Lazarus.” Jesus calls him by name.

Such a human thing to do, to NAME one another, and even to tame places and things by giving them a name. The poet Lisel Mueller captures this in her poem, “The Possessive Case.” Dr. Oliver Sacks writes about this when he describes how a person is called forth – awakened – from her seemingly incapacitated disordered state by the simplest human contact from a faithful friend, sometimes as simple as being called by name. "The awakened patient turns to the world, no longer occupied and pre-occupied by sickness," Dr. Sacks writes, "The world has become wonderfully vivid again."

If we can do this for one other - if our loving friendship has the power to call forth our beloved’s true self, and if we ourselves, in turn, can be summoned and steadied in dizzying times by hearing our name spoken by a true friend, well then, wow.

What might be possible when God is the one who calls us - by that intimate, uniquely human invention – our name?

Lazarus' story gives us a glimpse of the answer: nothing short of resurrection!

- Madeleine Philbin for Growing in Faith 

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Suggestions to Deal with Anxiety

By KC Conway

KC Conway posted this reflection in the e-grapevine on anxiety and generously allowed us to post it here. 


It is important to remember that although the future seems so uncertain and frightening just now, that we have never had any certainty about the future. The future has always been uncertain until it replaces the present and becomes the past. No one has ever been able to predict it with any accuracy.  Anxiety will drive our thoughts to the most catastrophic places in an effort to gain control and provide certainty.  But anxiety has no better information about what the future holds than anything or anyone else.


Suggestions:

  • When you feel flooded by anxiety/fear/depression, say out loud, " I feel anxious or fearful or depressed."  That way you have acknowledged your feeling and then let it pass through you.  If you argue and wrestle with feeling states, they linger and often amplify.
  • If your anxious thoughts have a narrative, try not to engage with the content.  Try, instead saying, "that's just a story my anxiety wants to tell me."  Anxiety is very opportunistic and will seize on anything handy.  So, then engage with something else.  It could be a pleasant distraction, or a concrete task, or exercise.
  • Maintain a structure, at least during the week.  Get up, get dressed, make your bed and exercise for 30 minutes.  If you're still able to walk outside, take a good walk.  Be in touch with the natural world which is totally unaffected by our concerns and producing signs of spring.  Actually, the earth may breathe a bit easier than usual with fewer cars on the road.
  • If you are lucky enough to share your lives with animals, they are always in the moment and teach us to be the same.  Has there ever been a better situation for pets than sheltering at home?  So, spend quality time with your pets.  My dog is delirious with joy.
  • Limit the amount of time you listen to the news especially corona-related news.  Choose a time each day to check in with it and then maintain a boundary around it.  If you're watching TV and more news interrupts the programming, try not to engage.
  • Nourish yourself with beauty.  Listen to music, maybe focus on a period or composer so that you're learning something every day that will enhance your pleasure.  Read good literature - we all have lists of what we want to read and nows the time.  Most of the worlds great art museums have virtual tours.  We are lucky to live in an age when this is available to us at a safe distance--so we can have art in our lives.  Many of the national parks have video promotions or tours--we can have these beautiful places to ourselves magically.
  • Check in with the people you love and tell them you love them every day.
  • Allow yourself to grieve losses.  These losses could be personal or you could grieve for others who have lost so much.  Grief is common to all humanity and becomes unifying in its focus and empathic extension.  Grief is different from depression.  It is active and full --full of feeling, full of memory and ideation.  Depression is somewhat empty.
  • Pursue meaning.  As people of faith, we are lucky, meaning is always present.  Our God is a companion in suffering and suffered great loss for us.  Ringing of the bells at regular intervals places us in communion with one another and mirrors observance of divine office in monastic communities.  We are living monastic lives for the time being.  Faith also provides a long view.  The world has always been the world and its evils have always been present.  Todays evils aren't greater or more abundant, we just know more about them faster.  Our good isn't vanishing and isn't more anemic.  But the purpose and power of good-- is to be good, not to overcome evil but to face it with goodness.


Be well,


KC Conway

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Prayer & Coping

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Helpful Suggestions to Beat Stress and Anxiety

Need to find ways to ease stress and anxiety? Here are some ideas during these unsettling times. 


We'd love to hear from you if you have more prayers, articles, and music to suggest! Email stgertbulletin@yahoo.com to share your thoughts. 

U.S. Catholic Magazine

U.S. Catholic Magazine reporter Susan Salaz wrote Life under lockdown: 8 ways to handle staying at home, an article about Coronavirus canceling so much, but it has not stopped love, trust, faith, or hope. 

Lenten & Easter Music

Music can lift our spirits. Here are some suggestions of music for Lent and Easter from Mary Clare Barker, our Minister of Music. 

  • Go to www.hopepublishing.com
  • Type in Lenten Meditation in the search bar
  • Click on the PDF file ( to see the lyrics and music) and the arrow  (play) button on the recording icon and listen to the music. 

America Magazine

Kerry Weber, a writer with America: The Jesuit Review, recently wrote this beautiful Coronavirus prayer.

Fr. James Martin - Faith in the Time of Coronavirus

 Father James Martin, SJ, working from home, offers us spiritual advice on how to live in the time of coronavirus. He hopes that this may help all of us, especially those who are frightened or panicking. 

Faith-Based Activities & Advice for Kids

Youth & Family Ministry

 As our isolation continues, I will send out grade-level appropriate activities to do when you need a break from the e-learning. Here is another daily resource for Lenten activities at home:


Through this unique crisis we are all facing, I have come to appreciate the advances in technology in the past decade. I am the first to admit that we are overly reliant on and addicted to technology in our society. However, I can't help but be grateful that I can use it to talk to family and friends, educate my children, and keep them entertained.

Please stay connected to your loved ones outside of your home, we all need this interaction to help us stay sane through this difficult time.

Stay safe, stay sane, stay well, and stay connected to God!

If you would like to receive my weekly Religious Ed newsletter for more activities and resources, please email me at jpotthast@stgertrudechicago.org to be added to my list. Thanks!

~ Jim Potthast, Youth & Family Minister

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Masses Online and Broadcast on TV

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Mercy Home - Sundays on WGN

The Mercy Home Mass is broadcast at 9:30 am on Sunday on WGN-TV and can be viewed at any time online.  

Holy Name Cathedral - Saturday Evening & Sunday AM

Beginning Saturday, March 21, the archdiocese will broadcast weekend Masses from Holy Name Cathedral in English, Spanish and Polish. These Masses will be available on their YouTube channel beginning at 4:00 pm on Saturday, March 21 and will continue until in-person attendance at liturgies is reinstated.  The recordings of all Masses will remain on their YouTube channel.

St. James Chapel - Daily Mass

Daily Mass will be celebrated and broadcast from St. James Chapel on weekdays. These Masses are available on their YouTube channel.

St. Joseph Parish - Saturday Evening & Sunday AM

St. Joseph in Libertyville will offer live-streamed Masses at on Saturdays at 5:00 pm and Sundays at 9:30 am. 

Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame's campus in South Bend, Indiana - Daily Mass

At 9:00 am Chicago time, Mass will be streamed from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame's campus in South Bend, Indiana. Additionally, daily Mass is streamed at 10:30 am Chicago time.  Archived Masses from CatholicTV can be found here

Loyola Academy - Daily Mass

Loyola Academy will stream weekday Masses aat 8:00 am on the school's website.

St. Sabina - Sunday Sermon

 St. Sabina's will livestream Fr. Mike Pfleger's sermon at 10:00 am. 

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Daily Scripture Readings & Stations of the Cross

Readings for Monday, March 29-April 5

Here is the list of readings for this for parishioners that prefer to look them up:

  • Monday: Dn 13:1-9, 15-17, 19-30, 33-62 [41c-62]; Ps 23:1-6; Jn 8:1-11
  • Tuesday: Nm 21:4-9; Ps 102:2-3, 16-21; Jn 8:21-30 
  • Wednesday: Dn 3:14-20, 91-92, 95; Dn 3:52-56; Jn 8:31-42 
  • Thursday: Gn 17:3-9; Ps 105:4-9: Jn 8:51-59 
  • Friday: Jer 20:10-13; Ps 18:2-7; Jn 10:31-42 
  • Saturday: Ez 37:21-28; Jer 31:10, 11-13; Jn 11:45-56 
  • Sunday: Mt 21:1-11 (procession); Is 50:4-7; Ps 22:8-9, 17-20, 23-24;Phil 2:6-11; Mt 26:14 — 27:66 [27:11-54]  

Click HERE for online Stations of the Cross. 

Mass Intentions

Mass intentions for scheduled mass will be transferred to the private masses the parish priests (Fr. Mike Bradley, Fr. Mike Gabriel, and Fr. Rich Prendergast) will say during this time. 


If those who requested/scheduled these Masses would prefer to have them moved to a different date, please leave a message at the Rectory at 773.764.3621 or email stgertrude1420@stgertrudechicago.org. Sr. Judith will re-schedule them. 


  • Monday, March 30 - Gary Glasch +
  • Tuesday, March 31 - Living & deceased mothers and fathers of St. Gertrude parishioners
  • Wednesday, April 1 - Doctors, nurses, and medical staff working to stop COVID-19 
  • Thursday, April 2 - Those sick from COVID-19 
  • Friday, April 3 - Purgatorial Society
  • Saturday, April 4 - Minh-Chan Phan +, Caprice Boylan +
  • Sunday, April 5 - Parishioners of St. Gertrude, Revs. Philip Reiley + & Sylvester Eye +

(+ indicates the person is deceased)

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Volunteer Opportunities

Looking for something to do?

Looking for something to do? Care for Real is always in need of volunteers! Please reach out to Karen at volunteer@careforreal.org. She is overseeing scheduling and shifts available.

Our Heart to Heart Director, Jane Callahan-Moore, is also helping coordinate outreach to the elderly and shut-ins, including shopping and bringing food to those unable to get to the store. You can contact Jane by emailing her at jcallahanmoore@stgertrudechicago.org.

Our Alderman, Harry Osterman, is coordinating local needs and service opportunities. His website has information on getting help during this crisis and giving help. Below are quick links to urgent community issues:

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Please Pray for our Parishioners & Friends

  • Walter Bradford
  • Ester Bugler
  • Maggie Callaway
  • Aida Calvopina 
  • Geraldine Clark
  • Connie Cool
  • Mary Fitzgerald
  • Joan Harrington
  • Gina Heidkamp
  • Maria Hertl
  • Bernice Kiedysz
  • Karey Myers  
  • Margaret O’Sullivan
  • Don Piven 
  • Charley Scantlebury 
  • David Sierzega 
  • Richard Seitz 
  • Peggy Stoffel
  • The Sullivan family 
  • Elinora E. Tolentino
  • Norma E. Viray

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Prayers During the Health Crisis

Prayer to Mary

Holy Virgin of Guadalupe, Queen of the Angels, and Mother of the Americas. We fly to you today as your beloved children. We ask you to intercede for us with your Son, as you did at the wedding in Cana. Pray for us, loving Mother, and gain for our nation and world, and for all our families and loved ones, the protection of your holy angels, that we may be spared the worst of this illness.


For those already afflicted, we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance. Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful, wipe away their tears and help them to trust. In this time of trial and testing, teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind. Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts. We come to you with confidence, knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother, health of the sick and cause of our joy. Shelter us under the mantle of your protection, keep us in the embrace of your arms, help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus.  


Amen.

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A Prayer From Pope Francis

O Mary, you shine always on our way as sign of our safety and hope.

   We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick,

   who at the foot of the Cross bound yourself to the suffering of Jesus,

   keeping strong in your faith.


O Salvation of the Roman people,

   you know what we need and we are sure that you will provide it for us

   just as at Cana of Galilee the joy and feasting could return

   after that moment of trial.


Mother of Divine Love, help us,

   to conform ourselves to the will of the Father

   and to what Jesus tells us, He who took upon Himself our sufferings

   and is marked by our sorrows and so lead us, toward the Cross,

   to the joy of the Resurrection.

   Amen.

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Prayer for People with COVID-19

For Those that are Sick or Facing Quarantine

Jesus, during Your ministry on Earth, You showed Your power and caring by healing people of all ages and stations of life from physical, mental, and spiritual ailments. Be present now to people who need Your loving touch because of COVID-19. May they feel Your power of healing through the care of doctors and nurses.


Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them. 

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Prayer for Medical Professionals, Caregivers, & Researchers

Father, we seek Your wisdom daily. Be with people making decisions that affect the lives and futures of our families, communities, countries, and the wider world. Inspire and invigorate people developing better tests to diagnose the virus, vaccines to prevent it, and protocols and communication to eliminate the disease’s spread. May truth and empathy be the touchstones of people setting policies for our protection.


Take away the fear, anxiety, and feelings of isolation from people receiving treatment or under quarantine. Give them a sense of purpose in pursuing health and protecting others from exposure to the disease. Protect their families and friends and bring peace to all who love them. 

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NCA Info

Ideas for Activities

If you’re looking for helpful things for your kids to do at home, we have streaming character and fitness videos online! We usually provide these videos for teachers at school, but they are available to everyone for the time being!

There is no cost to register and the site offers 75+ videos with character topics and fitness exercises (PBIS, SEL, STEAM, etc.)

Also, on our Instagram page, ChooseBooster, we will have a daily Booster storytime at 8:00 am and a Daily Family Fitness Break at 11:00 am!

Syd the kid has created a fun little video as a teaser for what your students will see when they join in for the fitness breaks or if they missed the first couple.  

NCA Has Meals Available to Students and ANY Families with Children

NCA is distributing free pre-packaged breakfast and lunches from our lunch provider, Aramark. These lunches are for our free-and-reduced-lunch students and also for any family with children between the ages of 2-18 in our community who could use some extra assistance in getting food for their children. We also provide milk with each of these meals.  


Please let Fr. Rich know at rprendergast@stgertrudechicago.org if this would be helpful for your family and we will figure out the details.