Sundays were always meant for relaxation and fellowship with God. Believers would dress up in colorful dresses or collared shirts to sing hymns, listen to hearty sermons, and interact with their fellow brothers and sisters. Then, COVID-19 disrupted this routine, subjecting them to “Virtual Church” which consisted of viewing the holy sacraments from a computer screen. The elaborate church ensembles evolved into comfy pj’s, hymnals replaced by lyrics on a screen, and interactions with our “fellow brothers and sisters” reduced to emails and texts. The experience of the Sunday morning fellowship is decidedly different for regular church-goers.
However, this loss has had great ramifications on priests, as well. According to Blessed Trinity chaplain, Father Bob Frederick “Mass is less enjoyable, it is harder to connect with an audience that is not there.” Imagine preaching to an empty room! Of course, the passion is still there, but it is harder to feed off the audience when your audience is a camera and a couple of cardboard cutouts. Frederick continues, “Baptism, Confession, and Communion are more challenging”…” and there seems to be a barrier between the Christian community. We seem to be not as connected to one another.’ There becomes no real celebration of the sacraments. It is difficult to want to practice your faith but have a pandemic stop you from doing so.”
Nevertheless, acknowledging some of the positive effects of the virtual church, Christian Daily said, “it causes people much-needed self-reflection.” Christian News adds, “Members focus their lives more fully on the Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and [their] deepening faith in Them.” People can now allocate more time to read their bible or write in their prayer book. They can privately examine their actions and conscience and determine if their values and actions adhere to Christ’s teachings. They may even begin to question if our Christian outreach was broad enough and develop ways to expand it. Additionally, for those that are homebound or sick, the virtual church has even been a saving grace.
Sure, quarantine was initially a good thing. It boasted more time to relax, an extended break from our ordinary responsibilities, constant Netflix sessions, and protection from possible exposure, but, at some point, it became a barrier between the Church and the body of Believers. Therefore, the community of Christians must continue their duty as God’s children to answer his call to worship and continue to praise and exalt his name no matter what the circumstances are. It is imperative that we find different methods to exhibit our faith even in the midst of this pandemic. And prepare to deal with any changes in practicing the faith. For the world must know Christians by their love and dedication, even to Sunday morning video masses.