Staying Connected in time of COVID
We live in the digital age where sharing information is done in an instant, even across the globe. We can text, email and even video chat with multiple people at a time. This has been a blessing during this time of pandemic but it has also left us with a challenge – how to do more - share information that actually communicates and builds relationships? Let me share an all too familiar example.
My mother lives in a long-term care facility, Holy Family Residence, in St. Paul, Minnesota. It is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Little Sisters don’t just care for the elderly as a ministry, they take them into their home. It is run as a community or home. I have often stayed there when I have returned to Minnesota. The pandemic has radically changed this. When I was in Minnesota in June I wasn’t able to stay there and my visits with my mother were through a window or with her standing at her 3rd floor window and me in the park-ing lot talking with her by phone. We would share experiences, catch up on news, and communicate. I appre-ciated seeing her since she is not able to do video chats. Still, it was lacking important elements of communica-tion. There is a lot of communication that is lost when it is not in person, eye contact, facial expressions, simple touch, etc. That is what the Little Sisters create in their homes and what creates community. I am sure many of you have had similar experiences with your loved ones either in care facilities or across the country. Creating and maintaining relationships involves more than simple sharing of information.
That is also true for our parish. We have tried to communicate through live streaming Mass, emails and links to view our bulletin. Even those who have returned to Church for Mass know that communication is difficult when interaction is in passing, with masks, or when conversation is limited to a parking lot encounter. This hasn’t changed the need for the communication, it is just very challenging.
We can and will work to address this challenge. I welcome your ideas and input. One thing that you may notice is an upgrade to our livestream capability. The upgrade should make the livestream experience better for communication – you should be able to see the facial expressions of priests and liturgical ministers. We will continue to use multiple means of communication. If you are someone who has not returned to church, and is unable to access or read the bulletin online, please let us know. We will mail it to you. If you haven’t been to church and would like to receive Holy Communion, please let us know. We can arrange a safe visit (masks, outdoors, brief) by a priest or Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion. Now more than ever we all need the grace of Christ in the Eucharist.
If you haven’t been back to Church, please consider doing so. We would love to see you! If your concern is exposure to the virus consider a weekday Mass. There is plenty of space to be distant and the Mass doesn’t last as long as the Sunday Masses. For your convenience the schedules for both Holy Spirit and St. John Vianney are listed in the bulletin. We have also shifted the Confession and Exposition (Adoration) on Wednesday evening from St. John Vianney to Holy Spirit. This will be Wednesday’s from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM. For the near future it will be in the main Church. Please consider joining us.
Finally, I would like to suggest that in this time doing things the “old fashioned way” may have greater impact. That is, call someone instead of an email or text. Write a note to tell someone you are praying for them. Staying connected is important for everyone and our faith community.
“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” ~ St. Teresa of Calcutta
Yours in Christ,