As the world is slowly opening back up after the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are finally getting back into our old routines. Kids are back in school and playing sports, workers aren’t Zooming as much, and instead of ordering everything online (as convenient as that is), we are making our ways into stores and buying again.
Unfortunately, many are still watching Mass online instead of going into the church and parish. Most dioceses have ended the dispensation of going to Mass on Pentecost weekend, except for those who still have underlying conditions or are sick, as it was before. While each diocese is doing what is best for their own area, now is the time to go back to Mass, and here’s why!
- Your priest can’t wait to see you
- The pews are dusty and need people to sit on them to clean them off (AKA lazy dusting)
- The baptismal font water is full again
- The spiders and mice have moved in & need to be scared away
- The cry room needs some noise
- The angelic choirs are out of tune
- The altar severs have all graduated
- The smell of incense has grown musty
- The flowers have all dried nicely
- The light switches need exercise
- The votive candle cups are empty
- The kneelers are stuck in the upright position
- The cobwebs on the organ is starting to look like it’s played by Count Dracula
- There are bats in the bell towers
Seriously, Jesus misses YOU!
Our time in the desert is over
Last year, we were shut out of our weekly worship during Lent. Since then, many parishes got very good at streaming the Mass which is a good thing. God gave us a wonderful technology so that we could continue to worship at home. What a blessing! When our churches started going back to in person Masses, it was wonderful to worship our Lord again and receive him in the Blessed Sacrament – even if it was different from before. We are an Easter people, and being in the Easter season, we need to celebrate the Mass with Him in person.
Our Churches have made adjustments
While there are still many limits on the number of people who can gather together, churches have done a great job trying to figure out how to get the most number of people into the buildings. Check with your parish on how they are accommodating parishioners and keeping them safe. If there are precautions that you don’t agree with and there are other parishes close by, call them, too. Each parish in my area are doing different things based on the pastor to keep people safe—some are just saying wear a mask and do as we did before all the way to keeping distanced from others and receiving Communion in the pews (no lines in the aisles). So if you are not comfortable with one Church, there may be another that could be more conservative in ‘opening up’ or vice versa.
Don’t let good habits die with the virus
Going to weekly Mass (or even daily), is a good habit. When we were forced to stop going, it is easy to continue not going. We got to sleep in, watchMass when we wanted, and participate as much or little as we wanted. While my family was watching online, we still had them sit, stand and kneel along with the Mass including singing and speaking. There were others who were eating breakfast while just listening. God calls us to gather together to be fed the Word and Eucharist to worship him. Just like any good habit, it will take some effort to get back into going again, and that is okay. If the 8:00am Mass is too early, try a noon or evening time. Once you and your family are fed again in the Mass, it will become easier to continue going.
Continue to be safe
Just like kids in school or going to the grocery store, we are all now taking precautions to stay as safe as possible. Churches do not want to be blamed for a spreader event, and we too don’t want to spread the virus to others. Just like when we used to get a cold or the flu, we did what we could not to spread it to others. We need to do the same with this virus, like:
- Except for your family, don’t get to close to others.
- Disinfect if you touch anything, including your face.
- Wear a mask when close to others.
- Use common sense and stay home if you’re not feeling well.
We can all do our part to keep others healthy, and part of that is how we behave when we are out in public. Even if your parish is full, and you don’t feel comfortable sitting close to others, find a space to still worship but remain distant.
Test the waters
If you haven’t gone to Mass in person yet, try it out. See what it’s like, observe from a distance if you are hesitant. Check out different Churches and see what they are doing and how the people are complying with the mandates. Sometimes we need to just see with our own eyes to believe we can go back in person.
Trust in God
Finally, if you still cannot go out due to a specific reason, God knows your heart. God is bigger and greater than any situation or virus. God knows and loves you, no matter what. Ask God for help and guidance on what is best for you and your family. Reach out to your priest, and they will help you decide what is best. While we want everyone to come back and worship as we did before the pandemic, God will love you and still loves you just as much as he did then.
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