Lockdown lights fire of hope
Locked down parishioners have shown their wish for community and prayer in answer to an invitation from Archbishop Christopher Prowse to join him for the Rosary online.
With the churches closed, several hundred people last week on more than 250 devices logged on for Friday afternoon Rosary.
Beth Gibson, a participant who left a comment on the Catholic Voice website, said: “it’s lovely to think of so many people finding a sense of community and belonging in this time of lock down!”
Parishioners can take part every Wednesday and Friday at 4pm during lockdown. To access the Rosary via Zoom go to www.catholicvoice.org.au
Online Mass is also attracting a wide and eager audience, with a livestream from St Christopher’s Cathedral at 12.15pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am on Sunday.
Mass is increasingly being celebrated by individual clergy in their parishes on Facebook or on Zoom.
At Central Canberra parish, Fr Emil Milat celebrated Mass last Sunday with a live congregation on Zoom with more than 50 people participating. A “virtual cuppa” followed with many staying on, real cups in hand (including a goat called “Cheeky” – minus the cup).
Fr Milat described the online Mass as a “great joy”, for which he drew inspiration from Pope Francis’s latest publication, Let us Dream.
“A big theme in the book is that…individualism has taken away our common story,” he said.
“COVID is starting to build us a common story together, a common journey.”
It was a similar theme at the Cathedral last Sunday where Archbishop Prowse said we could use the tough times as “a moment of greater closeness, coming together in affection towards Jesus.
“Focussing on that gives us not fear or gloom but actually gives us an encounter of hope; an encounter of love with the Lord Jesus.”
Parish committees and prayer groups have moved online, outreach to the vulnerable has taken place, “care freezers” restocked and a myriad other little things are taking place to keep parishes ticking over.
Parishioners have also stayed in touch with their priests, phoning for a chat or asking if they could send over a cake or a bottle of soft drink or two.
St Benedict’s Narrabundah parishioner Sue Hancock sees the positive side of the COVID lockdown, as Archbishop Prowse previously described it, as the “breath of the Holy Spirit” at work.
“Where there’s darkness, God brings light,” she said.