A Disconnect in My Catholic Community

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PGV_ID

300258

Title

A Disconnect in My Catholic Community

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Timestamp or date submitted to PGV

2021-04-28 10:33

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Personal story, social media or blog post, unpublished material, etc.

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Religious movement

Roman Catholic

Description or narrative

Being Catholic is a very important part of my identity and values, thus praying daily and going to church weekly is a part of what makes my life my life. Altar serving and Eucharistic ministry are just two of my duties as a parishioner at my Cathedral, and yet I have not been able to do either since March, which truly makes me heartbroken. Not only do I feel obligated to serve in one way or another at my church, but I want to. I have felt a disconnect from my Catholic community since this pandemic started. It is strange not standing in Mass with my parents and fellow Catholics singing, worshipping, and receiving the Host. It is strange not walking out of Mass and shaking Father Frank’s hand, thanking him for his homily. It is strange not going out to dinner after 5:00 pm Mass with some of the other members of the church. The sense of community has completely dissipated.
My parish has worked extremely hard to create a platform where members of the church can watch livestream and watch pre-recorded mass. They also have specific prayer services and ministry meetings that can be attended by joining a Zoom call. And while I have tried my best to engage in many of these offerings, I haven’t had much luck connecting with God like I used to in the church setting. It is difficult to attend Mass in my bedroom and sit through such a sacred hour at my desk chair. It feels wrong to me. I also know that I am not alone. The priest at my church confessed in one homily how lonely he felt celebrating Mass in an empty Cathedral and how despite the many efforts he put forth, the community will never feel the same on a digital platform as it does in normal ideal real-life circumstances.
I live in Atlanta, and the state of Georgia was one of the earliest states to lift the stay at home orders, and gathering restrictions, thus as soon as the gathering restrictions were lifted I expected to go back to church. However, I haven’t been able to. My church is practicing social distancing by limiting the number of open pews, and requiring the parishioners to make reservations for Mass. There are thousands of parishioners at my church and only about one hundred seats available in each live Mass, thus it is extremely difficult to get a seat when reservations open. According to a newsletter from my church, reservations for Mass fill up within 30 seconds of its electronic opening, which I believe speaks volumes about Christ the King Cathedral. To me, this suggests that so many of my fellow Catholics are eager to rejoin the close-knit community and reconnect altogether. It also suggests that, just like me, my fellow Catholics miss attending live Mass too.
Although I have had no success in reserving a seat in Mass, I have gone to confession. By nature, confession is pretty socially distanced to begin with. I sit on one side of a screen/curtain and the priest sits on the other side. Going to confession was single handedly the best decision I have made religiously since the pandemic began. I immediately felt reconnected with my church, community, and God after going. I was able to explain everything that was on my mind to the priest and he was able to give me specific advice and prayers to help me during this uncertain time. It felt great to physically be back in my Cathedral too. While I know there is still so much progress to be had, my Church has made great effort to maintain the feeling of community as much as possible, and reopening confession was a great decision.

Author (individual or group)

Olivia Tordella

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n/a

Location

Atlanta, Ga
30327

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Contributor

Olivia Tordella

Date

September 16, 2020

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A Disconnect in My Catholic Community

This item was submitted on September 16, 2020 by Olivia Tordella using the form “Help gather religious responses to the pandemic” on the site “Preaching Goes Viral”: https://preachinggoesviral.org/s/preaching-goes-viral

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