For the second year in a row, my Christmas plans got changed at the last minute. Last year, I started feeling sick the evening of the 21st and got a positive COVID test on the 24th. (It was not fun to quarantine over Christmas.) This year, our superiors prudently canceled our gathering due to the spread of omicron.
Our Usual Christmas Gathering
Usually, right around Christmas, Legionaries from around Canada and the USA get together for our study week. (It’s similar to a diocesan convocation. We are all together for fraternity and have a theme of presentations for continuing formation.) This works for a few reasons. First, we have a boarding school in Wisconsin that is empty over the holidays. Second, the week after Christmas is generally a downtime for ministry we do like schools, retreats, spiritual direction, etc. Third, Wisconsin is pretty central. Many are able to arrive for Christmas itself but others come right after. I look forward to catching up with everyone else as this is often the only time of the year I’ll see other Legionaries working elsewhere in the US and Canada.
Obviously, this involves a decent amount of driving or flying by various Legionaries. The various locations and travel create a risk of spreading airborne viruses. Most years, this risk is pretty low. It is worth taking a low risk for the good sought by the gathering.
This Year’s Christmas Gathering
This year, we got a note on Tuesday evening that our gathering would not happen. The note said that there would be a webinar for a few points, but no physical gathering. The reason given was the spread of the omicron variant of COVID. We want to avoid becoming a super-spreader-type event. This seems prudent. I don’t know everything, but signs show that the omicron variant is spreading fast in the USA now and may skyrocket more in the coming days. I’m disappointed as I have not seen many LCs for 2 years now, but I understand. This indicates how seriously we take omicron.
Prudence is about judging the right act in particular circumstances. Our gathering is more people in close contact and from more parts of the country than most people’s Christmas. Although I think this is prudent in our circumstances, I don’t know your circumstances and you each need to make your own prudent judgments in your particular circumstances. For example, my parents and the rest of their kids & grandkids will be together for Christmas. But, other than one brother-in-law who has been out of town, everyone else is 3 nearby households. Thus, their risk is dramatically lower than the risks associated with the LC gathering. Prudence often comes to different conclusions with different circumstances.
Have a great Christmas with your family. Merry Christmas!