The coronavirus pandemic certainly caught the world by surprise. Millions of people suddenly lost their jobs and were forced to distance themselves from friends and family. Panic set in, and there seemed to be no signs of hope or an end in sight. It was a scary period of time, and people were in desperate need of comfort and positivity. If people did not know who to turn to, Father George Rutler would encourage them to look to the Lord for guidance.
Rutler was born in 1945 and was reared in the Episcopal tradition in New Jersey and New York. He became the youngest Episcopal rector in the country when he headed the Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, he was officially accepted into the Catholic Church in 1979. In addition to being sent to the North American College in Rome, he obtained many degrees from universities including Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins University, Gregorian and Angelicum Universities in Rome, University of Oxford in England, and the Institut Catholique in Paris. He regularly preached to the students, faculty and townspeople of Oxford. Once he finished his education, he served as Associate Pastor of St. Joseph’s in Bronxville, Our Lady of Victory in the Wall Street area, and St. Agnes in Midtown Manhattan. Finally, in 2013, Cardinal Dolan appointed him pastor of the Church of St. Michael the Archangel in New York.
George Rutler has a history of comforting and providing care for individuals who are in a traumatic state. He was recognized as a hero for his brave efforts during the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11. After the plane struck, he ran 3 and half miles and grabbed holy oils to hear the people of New York’s confessions on a day where they thought they were all going to die. He also assisted the firefighters during the frightening events. He was honored by the City Council of New York and was made an honorary firefighter in the City of Dallas. In times of crisis, he turned to faith in order to provide a sense of safety and comfort to those in panic.
According to Time Magazine, depression rates have “skyrocketed” since the beginning of the pandemic. Due to various circumstances, including the loss of a loved one, losing a job, or financial distress, people have begun to feel more and more hopeless. When researchers surveyed 1,500 Americans, they saw a 28% increase in signs of depression, in comparison to numbers that were recorded pre-pandemic. Teletherapy has grown in popularity because people are so desperate for support. Due to these trying times, it can be very easy for people to feel overwhelmed and scared, but that is what God is there for. He is there as a shoulder to cry on, and people should be turning to Him now more than ever.
Father Rutler has written and published 30 books on theology, history, cultural issues and the lives of the saints. He wants people to use religion as an outlet to mend all of their stress. By practicing religion and following the Bible, individuals can feel a sense of hope, because God has a plan for every one of us. Although this past year has really tested everyone’s mental strength, religion can help people through even the darkest of days and bring us to the other side. Take time during the day or night to talk and vent to Him, and let Him guide you through this difficult time of life. By doing so, many people will realize the importance of embracing a deeper connection with faith.