Lent took an unexpected turn due to COVID-19, causing Catholics to give up more than just their initial sacrifices, but Mass and Adoration as well.
Adjusting to the New Reality
Mikael Tommer, senior, struggled with how to react to public Masses and Adoration being cancelled, as they were often used to help her get through stressful situations, including her regular prayer routine.
“I have realized that I still need to make prayer time an important priority of my day. So how I’m doing that is making a schedule and stick to it because we have all this extra time and so I’m trying to pray the liturgy of the hours and watch a live streamed Mass,” Tommer said.
Understanding that this might be difficult, she has learned new ways to help keep her faith at the center of her life.
“Basically, just having a few things that are non-negotiable that you have to do every day so even if that’s just praying a rosary or watching a mass, at least you do those for the day,” Tommer said.
Tommer has also found that keeping a community together over Zoom or phone calls has helped keep her accountable in her prayer goals.
“Just because we are in separate places doesn’t mean we have to be alone. We should still grow toward the Lord together,” Tommer said.
Setting a plan
Fr. Paul Clark, ’09 alumnus of Benedictine College, deeply feels the effects of the pandemic and offers two steps on moving forward.
- Being Fed: Make sure to maintain a spiritual life. Take time to pray and converse with God. With many things cut out of daily routine, it gives us an opportunity to work on our communication. Are we letting God begin the conversation through His living word? The Daily Readings for Mass during this Lenten Season seem to be providentially given to us in this time and space! Allow time to reflect on them and ask how they pertain to current situations.
- Reach Out: Share the reality of God that you encounter more fully this Lent. Are there ways for you to safely practice works of Charity within your home or community? Many parishes are needing volunteers to safely deliver goods or call parishioners. Within our homes, we can strive to help our family members with chores or homeschooling efforts. Every person is being asked to live in a new way for a while and it can be difficult for many of us – what can we do to make it easier for those around us?
“Even if we are locked out of churches, God is never locked inside of them. We are the Church, and this has become a time for us to be reminded of this in a very practical way,” Clark said.
Forward always forward
Clark recalls going on a mission trip to El Salvador during his sophomore year where they went to a remote mountain village where Mass had not been celebrated for over two years.
Seeing the effect that the power of the sacraments can hold along with the pain such a separation can cause gives hope for the joy in being able to receive them again.
“We are all being asked to trust that the Easter promise is real and we are being prepared to say yes to sharing in Christ’s death and resurrection,” Clark said.
“[So] don’t be afraid to be honest about what you’re feeling and experiencing in this reality,” Clark comments. “Lent is a time that we enter into the desert to be purified and stripped of the things in our life that are not essential…that should make us a little nervous every year, not just during a pandemic.”