As our national and global shared experience of COVID-19 continues, the beauty and grace of the Catholic faith’s consistent ethic of life has never been more evident. Common calls to prayer for all suffering people from Pope Francis, Bishop Solis and others reflect our belief that every life is valued and worth protecting. Catholics can put our pro-life beliefs into practice at this time of global crisis, uplifting the voice of the most vulnerable – the unborn, elderly, ill, immigrant, incarcerated and destitute.
Concerns and opportunities to help seem to arise and change daily. Social distancing has left many of us with more time on our hands to learn about the struggles of others and to take action to help protect life. Now is a great time to get to know your state legislators and congressmen’s offices through phone calls and emails in support of vulnerable neighbors.
Here are just a few of the many places you can find out more about the needs of the most vulnerable and take charitable and/or advocacy actions:
Elderly: We know that those over 60 are most vulnerable to COVID-19. Learn more about prevention and assistance for your elderly family members and neighbors and those living in assisted living centers, including people with disabilities, at https://acl.gov/COVID-19.
Immigrants: Millions of individuals and families within our borders have no legal access to health care, unemployment insurance or other means of protection from the impacts of COVID-19, nor are they able to return to their home countries. Find out more about the effects of this crisis on immigrants and how you can advocate for the dignity and sanctity of their lives at www.justiceforimmigrants.org.
Pregnant Women: Because COVID-19 is new, the impacts on pregnant women are not yet well known. Up-to-date information is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/pregnancy-breastfeeding.html. In addition, consider a donation to your nearest pregnancy resource center, which assists women in need of support during an unplanned pregnancy.
Incarcerated: Even if you don’t know an inmate, you can take action to support the sanctity of life for prisoners. The Prison Policy Initiative suggests five policy changes jails and prison could make to help protect the incarcerated from the impacts of COVID-19. The initiative keeps track of state responses to their suggestions. Learn more about the policies and where Utah stands, then contact your local jail authority and encourage them to preserve the dignity and sanctity of life within their programs. www.prisonpolicy.org/virusresponse.html.
Homeless: As mentioned in the Intermountain Catholic last week, no other population is as vulnerable to COVID-19 as those with no home within which to shelter or who are living in dorm room-style settings. For the latest information on how service providers are protecting the health of their clients and guests, visit endutahhomelessness.org.
Every homeless services provider is in great need of financial assistance to purchase critical supplies, such as gloves, masks, disinfectant, laundry items, etc. Learn what their critical needs are and how you can help at ccsutah.org, voautah.org, and theroadhome.org.
Yourself and Your Family: The best source of information is the CDC COVID-19 page at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html, including how to care for someone who is sick in your own home. Prayers, online Masses, spiritual readings for troubled times and other resources are also available at http://usccb.org/.
The situation changes rapidly for all of us, but these few resources should remain up to date and offer a moment to reflect on our consistent ethic of life and the opportunities we have to put that ethic into meaningful action on a daily basis.
Jean Hill is director of the Diocese of Salt Lake City Office of Life, Justice and Peace. Reach her at email@example.com.