The last couple of weeks have brought many changes to the way I am doing ministry here at Blessed Sacrament. Not being able to gather in groups larger than 10 and shelter in place, has forced us to look for new ways to meet the spiritual needs of the parish. As Catholics, sacraments are very important in our faith life. For the time, Mass is not being said publicly. So the first thing I wanted to do was to find a way to put it on our website. I didn’t want just any Mass. I wanted Mass from the sanctuary of Blessed Sacrament, with people and hymns that were familiar to our people. So I met with my IT person and planned what we would need for that to happen. I found a lector and asked my music director to provide the music. We did some testing and set up filming time. We then did what we needed to do to put it online and accessible to our website. It went off very well. It will be a regular event until we can say Mass publicly again.
Since filming Mass went well, we decided to make some other videos to put on our website for our parishioners. We had Fr. Ron Lorilla, our assistant pastor, do a mediation. He will continue to do that. We sent a message to our school children and have also done the Stations of the Cross. RCIA class (convert instruction) has also gone online using Zoom as our connection tool. Visiting the hospital and nursing homes is not possible, and so stay connected to our parish, I have also been making phone calls and answering e-mails. I still have meetings with the finance officer, maintenance supervisor, office manager, and web coordinator. Where there are no formal meetings, the daily tasks and planning, paying bills, putting out the bulletin, etc. still goes on. I have phone and e-mail contact with the principal to find out school concerns. I am hearing confessions over the lunch hour in the Adoration Chapel. Other than that I am getting a chance to catch up on my reading and also do some cleaning.
I will be happy to have things get back to normal. However, this has taught me there are many alternative ways to communicate. Ministry involves communication. Talking and listening to people and putting them in touch with God is what I am trying to do. The “shelter in place” hasn’t eliminated that. It has just caused me to find new and creative ways to do that.
Fr. Jeff Grant