Catholic faithful are rallying in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and are “grateful” for the clergy’s efforts to stay connected with them. The suspension of Masses has affected laity and clergy very deeply.
“We cannot receive the Holy Eucharist. It really affects me in a personal manner. We have to receive Spiritual Communion and for me most of the time it is not enough, because we go to church on a Sunday to receive Jesus and I believe He is in the Blessed Sacrament,” a female caller said.
The faithful and clergy shared their feelings in the first instalment of #wearehere live call-in programme 10 a.m. on Trinity Television last Sunday, “where priests will connect, listen, clarify, air feelings and coping mechanism with the presbyterate and people of God”.
It was hosted by Vicar for Communications Fr Robert Christo and featured Vicar General Fr Martin Sirju and General Secretary of the Antilles Episcopal Conference Fr Donald Chambers.
“It really gives us a strength, a deeper strength to go on when we see our leaders, our shepherds are there for us,” the caller said. The desert image has added resonance during this Lent with callers giving perspectives on the learnings of the “desert” and their faith in God.
“Linda” from St Peter’s RC, Orange Valley said, “Thank you all for what you have been doing for us through the Masses live, through your prayers and for all the sacrifice that you make. I just really want to thank you and I am forever grateful to you all.”
Archbishop Jason Gordon was commended for his “quick response” in suspending public Masses with the threat of COVID-19. A caller thanked him for not abandoning the people and being visible via televised Masses. The Masses are also streamed online.
The father of a seven-year old boy wanted to know how best to pray with his son; “Joseph” from Mamoral added two ‘Ds’ to the ‘desert’ experience, ‘discernment’ and ‘detachment’. He said, “This process is causing us to think about what it is God really wants us to do with our life throughout this Lenten season.”
Clergy had to adjust to the preventive measures caused by COVID-19. Fr Sirju said, “We all want to say unequivocally to the people: we miss you all terribly and we think you miss us. We miss you all immensely.” Fr Chambers said people could not prevent COVID-19 from coming but they had control over how they responded. “That is what the Archdiocese is doing, that is what many dioceses are doing; it is how can you creatively respond to an issue,” he said. Fr Christo added, “We have to be prepared to adjust.”
Fr Christo encouraged people to take advantage of catholictt.org, Trinity TV channel (tcntt.com), participate in intercessory groups on WhatsApp and join online adoration centres.
He said, “Let’s create a culture of deepening our spirituality in this time of solitude”. The digital space has made it possible to have a ‘24/7’ presence for people to worship. Spiritual Communion is not the ideal but when things were back to normal, Fr Christo hoped to see packed churches.
Fr Sirju commented that one good “that arises for the Church is a much deeper understanding of Communion”. He explained the sacramental communion received at church through the Body and Blood was a “high point”, an intense moment of communion. However, it really made sense when other manifestations of communion fed into this.
Fr Sirju continued, “…people living in the same house but if you are not really present to one another how can you really appreciate the real presence when it is offered to you at Mass?”
Tune in on Sundays 10 a.m. Trinity TV for #wearehere. A rebroadcast takes place 9 p.m. and there are links on catholictt.org for delayed viewing.