July 10, 2020

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Story told by Fr. David Convertino, Jul 10 2020

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Mass Again

Today was the first time in many months that I could participate in the Eucharist. It meant a great deal. People are back in familiar places to share the Eucharist with their fellow believers. Some said that live-streamed Masses were OK, but there is no substitute for gathering with your brothers and sisters sharing in the Eucharist. The notion of “spiritual communion,” instead of receiving the Eucharist, has not been enough for most of us. Research done at a university in England showed that 93 percent of those surveyed, while they participated in online Masses to some degree, said that they missed their churches. Only 17 percent said that they would mostly continue to worship online. (“How much does Mass Matter?” The Tablet 20 June 2020, pp. 6-7.) The gathering of people seems to matter a great deal. Online allows only spectator participation. The idea of “spiritual communion” during a media participation is inadequate because the relational and community dimensions are missing. One person remarked that when he goes to a city-centered parish, he sits next to an Indian man who works nights at the hospital and a professor from New York University. There is that huge mix of people and they are all there together. It is about solidarity and a community. Moreover, a survey shows that 55% of Catholics surveyed said that lockdown has helped them to become more prayerful. One commentator said that the pandemic is leading to a “new way people are learning to live their faith.” “Part of that,” the commentator claims, “is that we are less clergy-centric. However, it is so much more than that. It is being willing to embrace a call to service. We have a Pope who has embraced such a life of service, and following his lead, we can become the Church of the Good Samaritan.”

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