Finding the blessing in a socially-distanced ‘Palm Monday Parade’


The word “blessing” is not one you hear much in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as he stands next to this parade, sprinkling holy water and offering blessings, that’s how Deacon John Devlin sees this moment.

“Oh, what a blessing, what a privilege to be here, to just to bestow a little blessing on people who’ve been away,” Devlin said.

Devlin is a deacon at St. Michael Parish. Monday night, St. Michael Elementary had a “Palm Monday Parade.” On the sidewalk are teachers and staff; in the cars are students and families.

“I think the kids were really excited to see their teachers again and with the beautiful weather out, it’s just a perfect time to come out … have some fun,” St. Michael Elementary parent Charlie O’Hara said.

There’s a connection that easily bridges any six-foot divide.

“If we could hug them that would be fantastic,” St. Michael Elementary Principal Lisa Huemoeller said. “We miss them so much. But nice to see them in person, and nice to see them smiling. I was expecting teachers to cry, because we’ve had a lot of tears over missing our students, but I was very surprised to see how many parents were crying.”

Dan Santella: Were your teachers crying?

“Yes,” Huemoeller said. “Hence the sunglasses.”

This parade is one way to focus on everything that still shines.

“It’s a way that we’re looking for the blessing in all of this, trying to make this as positive a situation as possible,” Devlin said. “And I believe that’s what we all have to do. I have to do it in my life, and hopefully you’re doing it in yours.”

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