Dioceses around the country are faced with state and local government mandates because of the COVID-19 pandemic that are resulting in a unique and eclectic Holy Week, depending on where you live.
My diocese announced the cancelation of all public Holy Week events. I am left wondering what that means for me and my fellow parishioners. Every Mass and every meeting I attend at church is like a homecoming. I greet old friends and catch up on what’s happening with them and their families. Our gatherings in the social hall go on long beyond the scheduled time. So canceling Holy Week leaves me with a void to fill both spiritually and socially.
Holy Week this year will become an event to participate in from afar. I’m looking on my diocese’s site and seeing how parishes all over the state are streaming services, the Rosary, Stations of the Cross, Holy hours, sending daily prayers through email, calling the elderly/homebound, and even opening their doors for individual prayer (along with noting the hours they’re sterilizing the facilities). The list of activities grows daily as our parishes adapt to the new normal in preparation of Holy Week. This makes me proud. I used to think of the Catholic faith as a bit out-of-date from a technology standpoint, but seeing how our parishes are stepping up and embracing it really is amazing! I’m excited to be able to participate in Holy Week this year and on an even greater scale given all the resources available to me across the diocese.
I’m hoping as Catholics we learn from these times and continue to openly share what we are doing within our parishes and encourage others (Catholic and non-Catholics) to join us. Church isn’t about geography or a fixed location; it’s about the people who together, or apart, do the work of Christ.