What a strange time this is. Parish churches are closed. We “participate” at Mass via our computers or on TV. No Communion, no chance for confession, no Holy Week services, no Easter celebrations.
These times are strangely empty and strangely sacred. Mass is not meant for isolation. Eucharist, especially, is communal, ecclesial, celebratory, participatory. Yet we are challenged to be united in a new and yet ancient way, as members of the Body of Christ.
No pandemic is able to break the bond of faith we share in virtue of our baptism into Christ. Rather, the pandemic is an opportunity to focus on this bond of faith, treasure it, nurture it and pray for one another from within it. We are, indeed, one in Christ, never to be separated.
We have been dealing for so many years with the contraction of parishes – linkings, mergers, closures, even renaming. The reasons for these measures have been many and complex. However, now, because of the pandemic, our parishes have almost disappeared from our lives. No Masses, no faith formation, no weddings or funerals, no reconciliation or any other sacraments.
Parishes and Pandemic
Our only access to liturgy, even during this most sacred season, is on a computer or on TV.
In these days of pandemic, perhaps families can find time to talk about these questions: What is parish for us? What does the parish mean for our family and for our faith? What aspects of parish life do we miss in these days of social distancing? What will we truly celebrate with joy when our parish is functioning again?
When the pandemic is over may we each return to our parish with renewed energy and commitment. May we rejoice in greater love of being together as a community of believers.
~ Sister Elissa Rinere, CP