An reflection by Clare, fcJ, on how the coronavirus pandemic is bringing a new sense of connectedness to her local parish.
First appeared at FCJ Sisters Blog
Like many others around the world I am discovering new ways of being church during the lockdown. Despite missing receiving the Eucharist I have found ‘online Mass’ deeply nourishing. It is amazing to note that the number of people participating via social media far exceeds the number who attend daily Mass in person.
Other churches around the country have experienced the same phenomenon. Shrewsbury Cathedral, for example, has reported that the online congregation for live-streamed services are the largest in its 170 years of history.
In my parish there is now more interaction between parishioners because the fact that daily Mass is live-streamed via facebook allows parishioners to greet each other and to add comments about the service. The parish priest sends an email each day which always contains a reflection or a poem or a piece of art. Many times these items are contributed by parishioners. He also shares updates on the local situation or suggests ways of supporting local retailers and often there’s a puzzle or a quiz to sharpen the mind.
New things are happening by telephone too. In an attempt to take care of parishioners who may need help every member of my home parish has been contacted by telephone to check that they are alright and if they need any help in any way. A smaller list of people who require regular contact and other forms of help has been complied and the telephone volunteers are taking care of them.
A new sense of connectedness is pervading the parish and a kind of renewal is happening.
We have to stay apart and yet are finding new ways to stay connected and are enjoying ourselves in the process. I am sure my parish is not unique and that parishes all around the world are experiencing something similar. I find myself wondering: Are we seeing signs of a new flowing of faith?
Artwork by Sr Claire, fcJ