It was a September Tuesday. I was driving into the parking lot of the DC office when the news broke – – seemed a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Towers. In the office, a phone came in as I arrived at my desk. A buddy from Connecticut called, we both made mention of the plane crash but did think much about it, not knowing the magnitude of it. Most of the phone was trash talking about my then-Super Bowl defending Ravens and his NY Gi-AINTS. As the call as completed, a CNN news flash email came through indicating a second plane crash. Still the first into the office, I walked over to the break room, turned on the TV, fiddled with the rabbit ears for better reception and watched 9/11 unfold before me.
Whatever already on the to-do list changed that day. We all moved back-and-forth from that static-y TV screen and our computer screens trolling the internet for resources as we built a web page for youth ministers to help young people process the tragedy.
Since that day, there has been a progression of similar dark days times of horror or terror. In 2004, an Indian Ocean earthquake the day after Christmas forms a tsunami killing many. August 2005 finds Katrina hitting the Gulf Coast. Virginia Tech goes into a shutdown as a shooter strikes in the spring of 2007. Four years later, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster impacts Japan. In 2012, a summer’s night is disrupted by a joker shooting inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado as is a winter’s morning at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A bombing the next spring disrupts the Boston Marathon. What’s next? Will Ebola go beyond the African continent? Will ISIS attack a western target?
If the next dark moment occurs… WHEN it occurs, based on past performance, look to these sites for resources:
- Nationally: Project YM will try to have resources as will LifeTeen, Busted Halo, the USCCB, and the NFCYM.
- School-wise: Look to the NCEA, the Ignatian Educator, and The Atlantic.
- For Parents: Sticky Faith, Parents,
- How to Help: Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities (national or local,) and other organizations. (But always watch and check in on an organization and Church Teaching. Remember how we participated but clarified in the ALS Water Bucket challenge.)
As I drove home that September Tuesday afternoon, the streets were disturbing clear and empty. DC had evacuated long before we had left our offices. In my memory, there was a positive feeling of having “done something;” the resources we had provided were implemented as early as the evening of 9/11, primarily on the west coast.
One of our roles in times of crisis can be a “content curator,” one who opts to do a portion of their pastoral care effort by ensuring that resources for programming, prayer, and response are placed in the hands of those in need empowering them to engage in the “catechetical moment.”