A year ago, our front page carried a photo of the emptied baptismal font at Holy Redeemer Parish in North Portland. In the background, Holy Cross Father Pat Neary walks to the altar to celebrate Mass amid new fears of something called coronavirus.

Little did we know the next 12 months would be akin to a sustained root canal. We agonized over the death of loved ones, suffered persistent anxiety, managed manic children, got evicted and lost businesses. We endured withering partisan bickering over, well, everything.

As we heal, there is some solace. Here are three positive lasting effects the past year will have on western Oregon Catholic life.

• First is the quick advance of technology. Parishes began with taping cell phones to music stands to send livestreams of the liturgy out to people who hungered for the Eucharist. Now parishes have upped their game with multiple cameras, better microphones and prayers posted on the screens. Archbishop Alexander Sample began giving Friday evening talks from his home chapel. The Chapel Chats now attract thousands of viewers from across the country. Recently, Oregon Catholic Press released an app that allows people to find songs, readings and prayers for liturgy wherever they are.

• Second, there is a new comfort over church cooperation with the public sector. The archdiocese became a major distributor of federal food boxes to people in need during the pandemic. Catholic Charities of Oregon has worked with Multnomah County and the City of Portland to address homelessness while Providence Health and Services has partnered with civic leaders on access to care.

• Last, like war buddies, we got through the pandemic together. That should form a lasting bond in families, parishes and even whole neighborhoods and cities.

Like the empty font in that year-old photo from Holy Redeemer, the coronavirus has taken up the foreground. But like the intrepid Father Neary, we as a Catholic people have continued to adapt and move forward. In a post-pandemic world, in which all will be searching for meaning, the church will be there with love, truth and beauty. No virus could overpower those divine gifts.