It’s still hard to be believe we have now had several weeks without Masses available to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. No one could ever have imagined this sort of thing happening. Public health restrictions have modified our day-to-day activities dramatically.
In the midst of all this, the Catholic Church continues its mission of service to our people. I was pleased to see how quickly some of our parishes were able to start offering Mass online, all the while, communicating with their parishioners constantly. If your parish is not able to offer Mass online and you would still like to view a “local” option, a listing of parishes from our diocese that are streaming Mass is available on our website, dio.org.
Offertory collections at Sunday Mass have been the largest source of income for our parishes to fund their ministries. With the faithful still unable to physically attend Mass, there is concern that dwindling collections could put our ministries at risk. To continue our parishes vital ministries and services, parishioners are being encouraged to mail in their offertory gifts or consider making their donations online. A listing of parishes offering online giving with direct links to their donation page is available at: parishgiving.dio.org/support. Thanks to a free option being offered by the diocese, more parishes are being added to this list. Online giving is a fast, secure way to support your parish. Your gift can be at your parish even when you cannot.
I have spoken with many of our parish leaders over the past couple of weeks and have been inspired by the positive attitudes of our pastors and their ability to modify parish life to suit the current circumstances. It is important that we all stay centered in our faith as our parishes are doing what they can to assist us. My family and I still gather on Sunday morning to virtually “attend” Mass at our parish. When Mass is over, I send a text to my pastor as kind of a virtual handshake.
The new normal has required some changes in our lives but imagine the joy we will experience when we finally celebrate together again! Please continue to pray for all those affected by the coronavirus. We are all in this together.
Shaun Riedell is director of the Office for Development for the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois.