Rituals and Resilience in the Time of COVID-19

Lyn Holt, Director of Youth Formation

Our time on this planet, our beautiful, “fragile island home,” as described in Eucharistic Prayer C, is marked for us each year by mundane things like schedules and routines, but also, and more importantly, by rituals and traditions. For all of our young people, and especially our high school seniors, the coronavirus has wreaked havoc in their lives, at a time when rituals and traditions play a large part in this singular trip around the sun.

These things might seem trivial, especially when compared to world events, serious illness and deaths we hear about daily, but the rituals that mark movement from one phase of life to another are important to our psyches and to our well-being. Not being able to mark the end of high school in the time-honored tradition of cap and gown, keynote speeches, walking across a stage to receive a diploma, creates a huge sense of loss in our youth (and their parents). Their school year has been disrupted and they did not get to participate in many senior traditions. The Reverend Dr. D. Scott Stoner of Living Compass says, “Rituals are essential for ordering our families, friendships, work, play, and personal lives. They help form our identities, both individually and communally. Rituals are how we pass on wisdom and beliefs across generations.”

I’m so glad that our graduating seniors have had (and always will have) St. Peter’s in their lives, as they have made many memories and participated in special rituals such as the Rite 13 Liturgy, J2A Urban Adventure, Holy Pilgrimage, serving as acolytes, walking labyrinths together, serving others through mission trips, and, being celebrated for whom they are, just as they are. They will be able to cope with these losses, thanks to their close connections with St. Peter’s and each other, and because they are prayerful, resilient and joyful. They have the added benefit of continuing friendships with their wonderful adult leaders of the past 5 years: Lorrell Meloy, Mac Meloy, and Mike Hoffman.

I salute our graduating seniors: Maurice Clarke, Rebekah McMillian, Lena Miano, and Christina O’Neill. They have been devoted to the youth program and to St. Peter’s, and have grown into amazing young adults. Please hold them in prayer but know that they will be fine as they navigate the future, even if their school years do not end or start in the traditional ways. They are a remarkable group of young people and a privilege to know.

Lyn Holt, Director of Youth Formation