Saturday, March 14, as I was about to get dressed for Holy Mass, the phone call came that all Masses will be suspended until further notice. Initially, I felt a serious blow as it pertained to my Lenten journey and my emotions and thoughts were many. My greatest fear was that we would have to lock up our churches and not be able to attend Holy Mass; that this Lent would truly be a desert experience.
However, my fears were soon pacified with the onset of online Masses. These came as a virtual oasis, feeding the soul and keeping the congregation focused on building the faith and on the true essence of the Lenten journey.
For this I must truly thank His Grace, Charles Jason Gordon, not just for the online Masses but for the profound Upper Room experience and the in-depth teachings provided during the time.
Having visited the Upper Room in Jerusalem while on pilgrimage, I truly appreciated the experience. Although COVID-19 kept us away from the physical church, it did not hinder the growth and knowledge that was gained during this time, so Your Grace for your insight and profound teachings, thank you.
I say spiritual food because Fr Christo ensured that Masses were conducted to cater for all persons. These Masses were broadcasted via social media from Friday evenings to Sunday mornings. Coupled with this, evening prayer was held each evening at 6 p.m. which was conducted by the youths of the parish.
There was also Eucharistic adoration, Christian meditation and not to be forgotten Penal Quarantine Pump (PQP) which was in fact exercise sessions held each evening.
With all these activities taking place on the virtual web a new ministry was formed which is known as the Parish Media Team. This is a team working hard in the background making sure that the gospel reached the parishioners.
Fr Christo must also be complimented for the work done on the programme We Are Here, a programme which took us to every corner of Trinidad and Tobago discussing our faith and life in the midst of COVID-19.
I mentioned before that Father ensured we were fed both spiritually and physically. The physical food came in the form of food hampers being prepared for the needy and for the migrant community. The Legion of Mary prepared hot meals every Friday and distributed to the less fortunate in the community.
With COVID-19 being present and real in our society, it is my hope and deep prayer that we will be able to continue to rise above the storms that are ahead and truly grow in our faith. Thanks again Your Grace and Fr Christo. May God continue to bless you both.
-Pansy Ayres, Penal