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Fr. John Cusick was in the seminary class behind me at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein Illinois. John is as great an individual and as fine a priest as I have ever known. I wish I had half of his energy.  He was the full-time Director of Young Adult Ministry in the Archdiocese of Chicago for those in their 20’s and 30’s. 

Fr. Cusick recently received his second vaccine shot. Here is what he posted on his Facebook page:

I was asked if I could walk down past the last curtain and take a seat. There were many chairs lined up in three rows comprising about 20 chairs per row. I walked all the way down to the very end. I needed to be by myself.

 I made one brief phone call. I then attempted to send two text messages. I tried to type the messages, but I was having a hard time reading the letters.

My eyes were filled with tears. I tried wiping them away, but other tears replaced them.

I was in the midst of the most profound positive experience of the last twelve months. I had just received my second Covid-19 vaccine shot. I was overwhelmed. I needed to be off by myself during my “observation” time.

I sent my two texts. I put my phone away. I sat with my head down in silence.

Using my mind, my heart and my tear glands, I spoke a prayer as sincerely as I ever prayed before.

I prayed for scientists, the women and men who allowed this moment to occur. I prayed to my God who believes in me and loves me in thanksgiving for the giftedness, talent and determination of these unnamed and unknown people who created that liquid that was pushed into my arm.

The tears have gone away, and my left arm is still a bit sore. That profound gratitude has remained within me.

Today I will look back at the past 12 months and I will call to mind and give thanks for the myriad of nameless people whose titles have entered my vocabulary since 3/20: frontline workers, essential workers. There are some common titles that have taken on special meaning: nurses, docs, caregivers to name but a few. There are so many who, in this time of darkness, have been men and women of hope, promise and life.

And because of all these “titles” and those many scientists, they continue to keep alive a glimmer of hope and light at the end of the tunnel.

So today my Lenten prayer and reflection will be a hunt for the goodness and hope found in so many “nameless” people who continue to offer me so much hope.

May I go and do the same.

Join me?

John Cusick


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