Yesterday I participated in the traditional Lenten blood drive at our parish. There was talk of canceling it but the need for blood has rarely been greater.
The parish was deserted. The school has closed, the holy water is gone and there is an eerie air of desertion. In many areas, mass itself has been suspended.
Normally this happens once a year, during the period between Good Friday and the Easter Vigil. At that time the Church falls silent in memory of Christ's death and no sacraments are offered.
We are not quite there yet, but the pulse of the religious community has slowed considerably.
News accounts can focus on runs on toilet paper or the cancellation of sporting events, but it is the loss of fellowship, the removal of awards banquets, club meetings and other social events that hits hardest.
Perhaps the arrival of this tribulation during Lent is no coincidence. Maybe a sign is being given for those who can see it.