By Janice England, LMH Program Director
During the past several weeks, while we have been unable to attend Mass in person and receive the Eucharist, I have had had the opportunity to participate in my parish’s liturgy every Sunday because they are live streaming it. I can also participate by watching the live streaming from a variety of other parishes as well several television channels that broadcast Mass – sometimes daily
However, I can’t help but think of the hundreds of thousands of people who are unable to attend Mass every Sunday, not because of a global pandemic or a “new normal,” but because this is their “normal” normal.
When I served as a Lay Mission-Helper in Makeni, Sierra Leone, I lived in the town where the Cathedral parish was located. In addition to the parish (and all parishes in the diocese), there were roughly 20-30 outstations attached to it.
These outstations or Catholic Communities were in outlying villages and too far away for people to travel (walk) to attend Mass. Some outstations may only have a priest come to celebrate Mass a few times a year. In the meantime, they have a prayer leader or catechist who leads the faith community in prayer on Sundays and during the week. They only receive the Eucharist and other Sacraments when the priest visits. This situation is not unique to Sierra Leone, but to so many other parts of the world.
As I’m lamenting this temporary inability to celebrate Mass in a church and receive the Eucharist, and as I watch the live streaming celebrations of the Triduum and Easter from the relative comfort and safety of my own home, I have a special prayer intention. I pray that when this pandemic subsides, and we have a “new normal,” we will be in solidarity with those who are not able to receive the Eucharist on a daily or weekly basis, and never forget that we are privileged. And with that privilege comes responsibility – to pray and care for our brothers and sisters around world.
Happy Easter – He Is Risen!