Bob Cox

Bob Cox

My thoughts are all over the place, it seems. The pandemic. Lacking holy Mass in St. Ann Catholic Church every Saturday/Sunday. The stay-at-home guidelines to protect us.

These are all for real.

It seems, though, a large portion of the population does not believe that this is a serious threat. But it is.

The statistics for this threat bear this claim out and prove it to be true. Florence County doubled its confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in just a week, from April 15 to April 22.

Please, follow the guidelines given to us by knowledgeable authorities. Stay at home. Wear masks when you need to shop. Save lives.

We seniors are in a high-level-risk category, and surprisingly, the two times I have had to venture to a store in the past four weeks I saw probably 60% of people over the age of 50, men and women, not wearing masks, not wearing latex gloves, and not social distancing. This does not make sense to me.

This brings my thoughts to my father. In 2000, he was on a ventilator fighting for his life for over six months before he died. It is not a pretty sight and something you don’t want to happen to you or a loved one.

Many people have been dying, and it could have been prevented. Don’t take the easy way out. Do the right thing even if you think it is a bother.

Let us look at St. Joseph, for example. He didn’t take the easy way out. Joseph easily could have given his wife, Mary, over to the Jewish leaders, as that would have completely shamed her and might even have caused her death. But he didn’t do that. St. Joseph showed his kindness as he thought he would just quietly divorce Mary. However, he listened to his angel instead. He did the right thing. He observed the guidelines given to him.

St. Joseph should be an inspiration for all of us, especially men, especially fathers. St. Joseph had great attributes, he was kind; he was righteous; he was courageous and faithful. He listened to higher authorities.

We all know that St. Joseph was the earthly father, the adopted father of Jesus Christ. St. Joseph nurtured and helped to raise the child Jesus, taught Him his carpentry occupation and was the principle guardian of the child Jesus. St. Joseph helped to feed Jesus and was a teacher for Jesus, leading Him on the path of life.

According to Father Stan Smolenski, director of the Shrine of Our Lady of South Carolina, Our Lady of Joyful Hope, in Kingstree, “Joseph’s responsibility was to support Jesus in developing a sound male identity, according to natural law. Mary could give Jesus his physical body but not his manly identity. That had to come through St. Joseph.”

In other words, St. Joseph taught Jesus how to be a man, provided an example to Jesus as to how to live as a man with a heart of love for all.

Needlessly to say, St. Joseph was also a wise man. He knew to follow instructions, and guidelines, even though it would be difficult. He listened to higher authority. This is exactly what we need to do in this time of our pandemic. Listen to our scientists, doctors, health officials and governors. They are trying to keep us safe and sound.

For one thing, my wife and I are following the issued guidelines. Don’t you think we want to be with our children and grandchildren? We know these guidelines are not going to last forever. We still want to be a good, loving example to our two children and their spouses and our six grandchildren. We miss them. They miss us. And we all miss not being able to go to our churches to partake in the holy Mass. But for now, we will have to settle for televised Mass.

I want to be like St. Joseph and live as a man with a heart of love for all. I want to be a wise man. I will use my wisdom and follow guidelines and instructions, just like St. Joseph did over 2000 years ago when he was the protector of the Holy Family.

Fathers and grandfathers, we need to be more like St. Joseph, the second greatest saint of all time! The feast day of St. Joseph, the Worker, was Friday. In his honor, be righteous, faithful, kind, courageous and wise!

Bob Cox is a deacon at St. Ann Catholic Church in Florence. Contact him and other board members at

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