The coronavirus has disrupted almost every aspect of public life, and the Church must walk with the People of God through this experience. As the days of social distancing wear on, people will 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.
We are already generating new content to meet this specific moment, and those pieces will be updated at the top of the page when they come out. You can also follow us on any social platform (@GrottoNetwork) to be in tune with our content stream for easy re-sharing opportunities.
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of June 15
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of June 8
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of June 1
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of May 25
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.”
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of May 18
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of May 11
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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of May 4
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.
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.
Stressed About Money? Here’s 5 Things You Can Do Right Now: Especially in this economic downturn, money can be a major source of anxiety. Here are 5 things you can do right now to help lessen that stress & take steps toward a brighter future.
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of April 27
4 Ways to Celebrate Mom During Social Distancing: With most of us still under social distancing orders, how can you celebrate your mom and make this Mother’s Day feel special? Here are four creative ideas.
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?
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.
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of April 20
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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of April 13
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.
How We Can Cultivate Communion in Solitude: For about a month now, we’ve been grappling with solitude in a new way. Read how this author is learning to befriend isolation and how it is moving him toward an experience of communion with others.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Pandemic Content from Week of April 6
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.
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.
3 Lessons From This Pandemic That Might Shape Our Future: It has been about a month since the pandemic began disrupting our lives. Here’s what to notice about how we are adjusting to this new rhythm of life — and what we might learn from it moving forward.
UPDATE: Grotto Content from Week of March 27
Don’t Forget to Love Your Neighbor During the Pandemic: How to stay other-focused in a time of social distancing.
How to Make Your (Limited) Trips to the Grocery Store Count: Advice on making your shopping more efficient to reduce your social exposure.
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.
‘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.
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.
Prayers for Healing: When you need healing, here are some prayers to lean on.
UPDATE: Grotto Content from Week of March 23
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.
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.
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 Work from Home with Kids Underfoot: Managing e-learning and a work-from-home arrangement can be taxing. Here are tips from someone who’s been at it for a while.
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.
What Good are ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ Anyway?: Is prayer a valid response to a crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic? Why? And how should we go about it?
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.
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.
UPDATE: Grotto Content from Week of March 16
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 New Mindset for Times of Uncertainty: An inspiring quote reframes how we think about social distancing and the obligations we have to one another.
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.)
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.
30-Day Self Care Road Map: Download this 30-day plan to build in self-care practices during this stressful time.
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.
How This Ancient Meditation Practice Changes My Day: This piece introduces readers to the Ignatian examen as a tool for staying grounded.
Responding to FEAR and UNCERTAINTY
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.
Why God Asks Us to Love Even When It’s Hard: Being threatened with illness can make us turn inward and become self-protective. This kind of love is the antidote.
6 Ways to Practice Intentional Living Every Day: Living intentionally can keep us grounded in God and others.
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.
Care for the BODY
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.
Care for the MIND
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
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.
What Good are “Thoughts and Prayers” Anyway: Why prayer is an appropriate response to a crisis like this.
Why Thoughts and Prayers Do Make a Difference: How praying for others moves us to act for them.
How I Found Joy in the Struggle: How sacrifice — “offering it up” — can transform your experience of suffering.
How I Found Value in Suffering: Suffering challenges our faith — here’s how one writer navigated those questions.
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 (& How Not) to Help a Friend with Depression: Signs of depression and how to respond if you see them manifesting in someone you care about.
How to Know and Help If Your Friend Has Anxiety: Signs of anxiety and what to do about it.
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.
How to Set Healthy Boundaries with Family: Closer contact with loved ones as we embrace social isolation won’t be a seamless transition. Boundaries can help those relationships stay healthy.
A Therapist Explains 3 Common Relationship Issues: More time at home can mean more intense time with loved ones — a mixed blessing. It’s not always easy to get along. Here are some tips on how to improve those relationships in a pressure-filled time.
3 Questions that Will Transform Your Relationship: We will all live in closer proximity in the coming months — this can help us get along better.
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.
What to Know Before Visiting Someone in the Hospital: Practical insights on how to care for a loved one who is seriously ill.
What We Can Learn from Older Generations: Older generations are most at risk in this pandemic — here are some points of encouragement to care for them.
Managing a changing WORK or SCHOOL ENVIRONMENT
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.
Working from Home — With Kids Underfoot: Insights from a work-at-home mom who has experience balancing career and kids.
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.
6 Ways to Kickstart Your Morning: Working from home can mean an unstructured day — here’s how to get it started right.
Managing EXTRA TIME
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.
Managing an ECONOMIC CRISIS
3 Tips to De-Clutter Your Life: Whether or not you are feeling the pinch of reduced income, this is a good time to examine your relationship with possessions.
3 Signs of an Authentic Minimalist Lifestyle: The slower pace of life imposed on us by the pandemic is a good opportunity to take on some minimalist habits.
Managing SOCIAL MEDIA
As more of our lives move from in-person contact to digital communication, we’ll need to be attentive to how we interact on social media. Here are some insights about how to use social media well.
4 Mindfulness Exercises for Dealing with Stress: If social media is causing anxiety in this pandemic, here are some alternatives.
A More Mindful Way to Communicate Online: During this period of isolation, relationships are being mediated online, so let’s be careful about how we communicate.
5 Architecture and Travel Instas to Beautify Your Feed: If you can’t travel because of the pandemic, you can travel virtually.
5 Hashtags to Cultivate Beauty in Your Feed: If you’re stuck at home, be intentional about finding and appreciating beauty.
10 Inspiring Twitter Accounts to Uplift Your Feed: Social media can be a dark hole of fear in times like this — these accounts can brighten your day.
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.