The coronavirus has disrupted almost every aspect of public life, and the Church must walk with the People of God through this experience. People certainly need inspiration and insight from faith, and they will also need support and expertise around the human dimensions of this crisis.
Grotto is uniquely positioned to help Catholic ministers bridge this digital gap with content that serves people where they are in this difficult moment. In a crisis like this, people need help coping with every aspect of life — not just spiritual guidance. If the Church can accompany people through this difficult moment, we’ll go a long way to build trust with them.
Our message to our ministry partners has always been to treat the digital world as a real place of encounter, especially with young adults. The online space is just as important as the in-person spaces where we meet together. So there is a great opportunity here to continue your ministry and care for your community by engaging them and serving them online.
Grotto is built as a gift for the Church, so please freely share any of this content to serve your community of faith — simply tag us @GrottoNetwork if you are sharing on social media, or offer a link or attribution to our website GrottoNetwork.com.
And, as ever, please reach out if there is any content or expertise that we can offer to assist you in reaching your community of faith in this challenging moment. Contact Josh Noem with any inquiries (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Responding to Fear and Uncertainty
An Open Letter to Anyone Sick with Covid-19: Sick with Covid-19, Josh is grappling with the fear and uncertainty of what is going to happen to him. Turning that fear into solidarity is proving helpful in pulling him through the experience, so he wrote this letter to anyone else who is sick.
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?: Does everything happen for a reason? Or does it just… happen? This author opens up that challenging question and its implications here.
Faith Brings Light to a Darkened World: How faith gives us a different way to see the world in times of darkness.
How to Use Your Fear in a Way that Helps You: One of the most difficult aspects of this pandemic is the uncertainty and fear — here’s how to cope.
Inner Strength of an Ironman Champion: Here is a good description of the interior dispositions we’ll need to thrive — not just survive — during this pandemic.
4 Tips for Staying Joyful in a World that Glorifies Stress: The pandemic is turning our world upside down — here’s how to stay rooted in joy.
How I Realized the Value of Vulnerability: Why being vulnerable is a sign of strength, not weakness.
6 Ways to Practice Intentional Living Every Day: Living intentionally can keep us grounded in God and others.
What to do with Your COVID-19 Fear and Anxiety: If you’re finding the fear and uncertainty around this pandemic overwhelming at times, here are some practical skills to help you cope.
How to Use Your Fear in a Way that Helps You: Fear doesn’t have to be a paralyzing experience — here’s how to transform it into motivation and focus.
3 Lessons From This Pandemic That Might Shape Our Future: Here’s what to notice about how we are adjusting to the rhythm of life in a pandemic — and what we might learn from it moving forward.
We’re in the ‘Why the Hell Not’ Stage of this Pandemic: As the pandemic turns life upside down, this writer takes a moment to wonder why we haven’t turned some aspects of life upside down before this.
My Pandemic Journal is Changing the Way I See the World: This author found himself writing more often in his journal once the pandemic started. Find out how it has helped him here.
Facing Pandemic Panic? Pick Up a Book: Consuming any news during this pandemic is exhausting. This writer dealt with the chaos the old-fashioned way: getting lost in a book. Here’s how it helped.
Inviting Hope into Our Lives in the Midst of Crisis: Maya Angelou once famously wrote, “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.” So, what does it look like to “invite” hope to stay in our lives, especially now?
3 Ways to Distinguish Worry from Anxiety: Knowing the difference between worry and anxiety can help us more clearly distinguish the normal strain of day-to-day life from those situations when we might need to seek the help of a professional.
What it Means to Live Without Fear: Pope St. John Paul II learned to live without fear. When he was elected pope, his first words to the public were, “Be not afraid!” Read how his life embodied that message — and how ours can, too.
What Would You Do if You Had a Week to Live?: Robert suffers from asthma, and the pandemic has ushered in some difficult questions for him as he faces an increased risk of death to COVID-19. Read his reflections on what it means to live well and hope for the future when the danger of death seems closer than ever.
How to Craft a ‘New Normal’ Out of the Pandemic Wreckage: What does “normal” mean for us as pandemic restrictions lift? Some of us are waiting for an “all-clear” announcement, and some are ready to venture out to reclaim a bit of freedom. Here are some principles to guide your thinking in this “in-between time.”
5 Fears to Let Go of When Asking for Help: Most of us are worried to ask for help because it makes us feel vulnerable. Here are 5 fears to let go of when you are in need of support from a friend or family member.
Responding to Social Isolation
Why Solitude is Necessary for a Healthy, Happy Life: Social isolation is causing us to spend a lot more time alone, but that can be to our advantage if we approach it with the right mindset.
What Happens When We Reconnect with Nature: If you are isolated at home, getting some fresh air at your local state park might not give you social contact, but it has other significant benefits.
5 Signs You’re Fighting Chronic Loneliness: This pandemic might lead to an economic recession; it will almost certainly lead to a social recession. Here are signs you are lonely.
What it Feels Like to Live in Loneliness: This author has wrestled with loneliness and has come through it on the other side with a deeper sense of how God is present to him.
How I Learned You Don’t Have to Suffer Alone: The uncertainty and anxiety from this crisis is having a big impact — here is some encouragement to reach out if you feel like you can’t handle the stress.
Why Silence is Paramount for Health (& Happiness): Don’t fill your days with distraction. Be bold enough to embrace silence in these uncertain times.
Learning from the Self-Distancing Experts: Monks and nuns have been practicing social distance for centuries — see what we have to learn from them.
A Guy’s Guide to Thriving in the Era of Social Distance: Tips for guys to handle how the pandemic is disrupting their friendships, which so often rely on in-person, low-key hangout time.
How to Thrive in Isolation, From a Cancer Survivor: This cancer survivor endured treatment that meant she couldn’t come within 15 feet of anyone else. Here’s how she coped.
How to Adapt Your Party for the Social Distance Era: Sheltering-in-place doesn’t mean you have to miss out on that bachelorette party or birthday celebration. Here’s how to connect.
How & Why to Stay Socially Connected in the Pandemic: Social distance does not have to equate to isolation — adjust your mindset to stay social with loved ones.
How We Can Cultivate Communion in Solitude: Read how this author is learning to befriend isolation and how it is moving him toward an experience of communion with others.
Care for the Body
I Am Not a Failure for Gaining Weight During this Pandemic: Steph works diligently to manage her weight and self-image, but during this pandemic, she found her life falling apart in many ways. She’s learned to appreciate that even though her body is gaining weight and doesn’t look like it once did, it is still strong — and is carrying her through this part of her story.
Self-Care Basics: Why It Matters and Where to Start: This pandemic will have a huge and lasting impact on our health if we don’t intentionally take care of ourselves.
5 Tips to Help You Not Hate Running: As most gyms are closed, keeping an exercise routine might involve running for the first time.
4 Ways to Exercise Outside during the Pandemic: With gyms being closed, we’re all getting tired of trying to figure out ways to stay in shape in our basements. Here are some ways to get out into the fresh air to get your heart pumping.
Care for the Mind
What I Learned from a 30-Day Journaling Challenge: This author decided to try a journaling challenge that provided daily prompts. Over the course of 30 days, she discovered that the practice helped her unwind and learn new things about herself. Here’s what she discovered about the value of journaling.
How to Kick Your Bad Habits — Once and For All: We all know which bad habits we’d like to kick — those hangups that keep us in a rut. A licensed therapist has 6 approaches to help you finally find freedom from those fixations.
I’m a Suicide Survivor — Here’s How I Began to Recover: Depression led Kristen to attempt taking her own life. This is the story of how she found hope on the other side by coming to view it as a medical problem that required healing and help.
Journaling to Better Mental Health: Where to Start: Self-care is of the utmost importance — especially now — and jotting down your thoughts and feelings in a journal has huge mental health benefits. Here, certified therapist Julia Hogan explains where you can start.
7 Steps to Sharpen Your Focus: The distractions we face today seem infinite, so how do we crack down and get to work? This author provides 7 tips to help us focus.
The Complete Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health: Mental health is a fundamental factor in our day-to-day wellness. Here is a comprehensive guide to managing self-care, handling stress, reversing burnout, and considering therapy.
A New Mindset for Times of Uncertainty: An inspiring quote reframes how we think about social distancing and the obligations we have to one another.
30-Day Self Care Road Map: Download this 30-day plan to build in self-care practices during this stressful time.
The Positive Impact of ‘No’ During this Pandemic: We’ve all been saying “no” to a lof things in this pandemic. Rather than grieve what we’re losing, it might help to see how each “no” is also a “yes” to something new.
How One Livestream Changed My Quarantine Experience: While concerts and in-person gatherings are on hold, the availability of livestreaming performances and conversations with our favorite creatives can fill an important gap.
Free Download: Prevent Stress From Running Your Life: We asked a licensed therapist to create a guide to help us identify the stressors we face, and strategies to cope with them.
5 Times Self Care Isn’t Selfish: The disruption from the pandemic causes low-grade stress that will take a toll on psychological health over time. Taking care of yourself is not a selfish thing to do.
How Prayer Affects Your Mental Health: This is a really good time to develop a prayer practice.
The Unexpected Benefits of Daily Routines: How to keep your day grounded with routine when everything else is changing.
Care for the Soul
What ‘Fixer Upper’ Can Teach Us About God’s Will: Fixer Upper is a hit show for any fans of the HGTV channel. As Catherine was bingeing this show with her roommate, they started a side-conversation about how to find God’s will for their lives. The design and renovation work that Chip and Joanna share in the show changed the discussion and offered a new way of understanding their relationship with God.
How to Start (and Sustain) a New Prayer Practice: Perhaps you are used to reciting prayers before eating a meal or asking God for special intentions. But what about starting (and sustaining) a personal prayer practice? This author explains how she challenged herself to do just that.
Learning to Pray Through My OCD and Perfectionism: When you have perfectionist tendencies, prayer can sometimes feel like a transaction. This author explains how she struggled with the idea that if she just prayed hard enough, she could earn God’s protection and care.
Turn to These Prayers to Help You Forgive: Sometimes hearing someone say, “I’m sorry” doesn’t cut through the pain they’ve caused. Here are some prayers and insights that might help you find a way to forgive.
What the **** Lord? And Other Prayers: Two years ago, Ricky’s mother died from cancer. In the weeks after, he wrote this piece about wrestling with anguish and loss, and how he struggled to relate to God through her sickness and death.
How This Ancient Meditation Practice Changes My Day: This piece introduces readers to the Ignatian examen as a tool for staying grounded.
3 Saints to Turn to in this Pandemic: Here are 3 saints who can help establish a routine, keep up with chores, and preserve wonder and delight during this pandemic.
The Saint Who Became a Leper: If you’re looking for some pandemic inspiration, take a look at St. Damien of Molokai, the missionary who went to the ends of the earth to quarantine with lepers.
Priests Visiting the Sick are ‘Saints Next Door’: Pope Francis called them the “saints next door” because they are risking their own health to visit those who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Read more about these priests’ global impact.
This Saint Found Peace During Quarantine — So Can We: While on a voyage to Italy, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and her family had to be quarantined during a yellow fever outbreak. Here is what we can learn from her experience.
This App Guides You in Prayerful Meditation: For anyone not used to prayer, this is a great time to begin a practice. This app walks you through getting started.
How a Little Bit of Faith and Move Mountains of Worry: How faith can give us a way to respond to fear and anxiety.
Caring for Others
How to Nurture Your Marriage Through a Pandemic: The pandemic is straining marriages and divorce rates are soaring. Here are some insights to help you maintain a healthy marriage in this stressful season of quarantine.
Quarantine Doesn’t Have to Threaten Your Marriage: In this time of social distance, we’re all feeling the pressure of spending more time together in the home. That kind of proximity can actually deepen your marriage if you have the right mindset.
Prayers for Healing: When you need healing, here are some prayers to lean on.
Don’t Forget to Love Your Neighbor During the Pandemic: How to stay other-focused in a time of social distancing.
6 Ways Local Businesses Can Use Your Help Right Now: In the wake of the pandemic, businesses have had to lay off workers or close their doors. Here’s what you can do right now to support them.
10 Ideas for Couples to Date-at-Home Together: Your relationship with your S.O. doesn’t have to suffer just because you can’t go out on the town right now. Here, this author provides 10 ideas to maintain your connection at home.
Make Community Mean Something in this Pandemic: Will this pandemic lead to a renewed commitment to community? There’s a heightened awareness of social connection right now, but what we need is solidarity. Here’s the difference — and how we can make our connections count.
3 Ways to Help a Friend with a Mental Illness: The uncertainty and fear from this crisis is a real burden for those who suffer from a mental illness. Be sure to check in on them and care for them in this challenging time.
Why I Write Letters of Encouragement to Strangers: Ways to make an impact even if you’re isolated and can’t get out in the community to volunteer.
5 Tips for Facing Conflict (Instead of Avoiding It): With social distancing and stay-at-home orders, we need to get more comfortable with dealing with conflict if we want our relationships to thrive.
Managing a Changing Work or School Environment
Preparing for a Job Interview? These Improv Skills Can Help: Companies starting to recover from the pandemic are looking to hire. This author explains how improv exercises can actually help you crush your next job interview.
4 Tips for Sharing a WFH Space with Your Spouse: Sure, you live with your spouse, but now you’re working with them, too. So how do you share a confined space without getting annoyed with one another’s different work styles and routines?
A Better Way to Handle College Stress: Many colleges have suspended in-person classes. With this disruption to their studies, many college students are uncertain how their education will unfold for the rest of the semester.
3 Essentials for Successful College Studying: The learning environment may have moved online, but the fundamentals of good study habits remain.
The (Super) Power of Habits and Routines: Working from home requires discipline and routine.
4 Ways I Reclaim Control of a Crazy Busy Week: Work patterns are changing — here’s how to keep your head straight.
How to be More Productive in the Age of Information Overload: With more work happening digitally, here’s how to retain productivity.
How to say ‘No’ at Work: The pandemic is having a huge economic impact, which will affect professional roles. Here are some things to ponder as you weigh what you can and can’t do at your job.
Managing Extra Time
5 Valuable Lessons from ‘The Great British Baking Show’: Have you ever watched a show that inspired you to be a better person? This author explains what ‘The Great British Baking Show’ taught her, and how the series helped her through a difficult time in her life.
What Monks can Teach Us about Intentional Living: Social isolation will give us all more time and energy for ourselves. Don’t squander it.
What is a ‘Restorative Niche’ and Why You Need One: Sustain self-care in isolation with hobbies that nourish your spirit.
10 Books That Will Make You Rethink Your Life: More free time = more reading. Here are some recommendations.
5 Questions to Help You Pick the Perfect Hobby: The extra time we gain from cancelled events and gatherings leaves us with time to explore new interests.
New Hobby Helped Me Find Wonder in Nature: Stuck at home? There are some unexpected benefits to the age-old hobby of watching birds.
Why Leisure is Essential to a Healthy Lifestyle: Why the down-time many of us are being forced into might not be a bad thing.
Top-10 #Quarantine Life Posts: A humorous look at how people are imagining our quarantined life to unfold. (This would make a good social post on its own, or you could re-share any of the links within this list.)
‘Hygge’ Practices to Cozy Up Your Home: We are all spending more time at home, so here’s how to spruce up your place to make it more cozy.
Build Us a Home: An Appreciation of John Prine: One of the many victims of COVID-19 was legendary songwriter John Prine. Here’s what made him special, and why his songs are an American treasure.
7 Stay-At-Home Ideas to Keep you Occupied: Bored at home during this pandemic? Here are some ideas for how to use your time in lock-down to develop a new lifelong skill or habit.
6 Tips for Exploring Your Creative Side: Fight monotony (and anxiety) in this pandemic by exploring creativity. You don’t have to be an artistic person to be creative — skill and talent have little to do with it. And adding some creativity to your day will enrich your interior life and enliven your experience.
This Quarantine Doesn’t Have to be Productive: Social media is telling us to learn a new skill, bake something new, and accomplish everything else while in quarantine. But just sticking to a basic routine is in itself resilience — this author explains more.
6 Tips for Getting Your Passion Project Off the Ground: Do you have goals or dreams or projects you’ve been putting off for years because you can’t seem to find the time or focus? Now’s a great time to dive in — here’s how.
How to Stay Motivated While We’re Staying Home: Is idleness creeping up on you as this pandemic drags on? It’s not too late to take on habits that can keep you grounded and motivated.
5 Ways to Use Beauty to Thrive During the Pandemic: One way to battle the anxiety and uncertainty of this pandemic is to cultivate beauty. Here are 5 things you can do to bring more beauty into your living space.
15 New Games for Your Next Night In: Board games are enjoying a revival in the pandemic lockdown. Here are 15 ideas for how to spend an evening at home without being glued to a screen.
VIDEO: Planting Hope Through Urban Gardening in this Pandemic: Videographer Katie Rutter and her husband, who is a plant biologist, are planting hope during this pandemic — one small seed at a time.
3 Reasons it Hurts to Lose Sports During the Pandemic: With the loss of the end of the NBA and NHL seasons, and the start of MLB, sports fans are hurting. Here’s an appreciation of how sports shape our lives in positive ways — and why we can’t wait to get them back.
The pandemic is closing many restaurants and eating establishments, and many of us are turning to in-home meals for sustenance. If you’re new to cooking, or haven’t been doing it long, that can be a difficult task to do well. Here are some tips.
4 Ways to Make Almost Any Meal Better: Master these fundamentals, and you can turn any meal into a delight.
5 Things Every Beginner Cook Needs to Know: As more people utilize social distancing, cooking meals at home will become a necessity. Here are tips for those beginners out there.
DIY Sourdough Bread: With time on our hands, finally figuring out how to work with sourdough has become the internet’s favorite DIY project. Here’s how to get started.
Can We Stay ‘Green’ During the Pandemic?: Have you caught yourself eating more takeout during the pandemic? What should we do with all the single-use plastics and styrofoam? Here’s how we can stay “green” while supporting local businesses.