The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every aspect of our daily lives, even how we worship. Churches and other houses of worship were in certain cases forced to turn away parishioners because of Coronavirus restrictions in their area. Even as restrictions loosened, social distancing measures limited just how many people could enter the house of God.
However, some churches rose to the occasion, relying on social media and video conference software to be able to broadcast their message, while keeping followers safe and sound.
Spreading the Word
As masses went digital, churches were forced to rely on the internet more than ever before. With the use of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, priests were able to connect with parishioners and encourage mass attendance from afar, through the use of live streaming on Zoom or other forms of video calls. In fact, some churches opted for their own hashtag to get the message out as far as they could.
Online newsletters can take the place of the tangible weekly bulletin that parishioners receive to learn about the week’s happenings in the church, and what events and holidays are on the horizon.
Approach Church Attire the Same
While you may have falling into the home outfit routine of sweatpants and t-shirts while working from home, priests don’t have that luxury when doing a Zoom into the living rooms of their flock. Opting for a priest shirt for a more casual setting for a Sunday mass could be a possibility. These clerical shirts are best known for the detachable collar that priests may place around their neck. These shirts are also accessible in Christian faiths to ministers and deacons.
A simple cassock is also an opting during ordinary time masses. A cassock is a full-length garment of a single color worn by clergy or others with a particular role in the church hierarchy. For holidays or even just to show a sense of normality in the “new normal,” priests could opt for more extravagant vestments. They could take a page from where Tchami gets his priestly style from, going for more Medieval time cassock and chasuble of different colors to draw the attention of worshippers even from afar.
As for the flock, if you didn’t go to mass in pajamas before, don’t do it now via video call. If you can look fresh while working from home, opt for that same blazer or blouse if you are watching mass from your sofa instead of a pew.
Stages of Standard Celebration
Whether it is in person or through Google Hangouts, a mass is to be conducted in the same orderly fashion as it would if worshippers were in the house of God instead of their own house. Certain guidelines should be remembered when considering broadcasting mass out to your flock.
Opting for a live telecast via Zoom or other platforms still means giving attention to Christ’s presence in the liturgy, as well as the gifts of the Eucharist. This includes doing whatever you can to encourage active participation from the flock including singing and responding to the priests during the proper moments of the mass. For a priest, the liturgical space is their workspace, and should be taken into account to make sure their message is properly sent, and not at a rushed pace.
Beyond live broadcasting on social media, priests could opt for special prayer services and holiday sermons to be done on a delayed telecast, or a pre-recorded method to be posted on sites like YouTube to be utilized at any time a member of the church could need some uplifting and guidance on how to live their Christian lives in faith and to the fullest.