‘Is it OK to eat during online mass?’: how the faithful handle lockdown

Jan 25, 2021 by

by Séamas O’Reilly, Guardian:

From streamed baptisms to the impossibility of hajj, it’s been a tricky time for religious people to stay observant. But many have some holy hacks.

Well before places of worship were closed during the first lockdown, we hectored my father to remain indoors and stay safe. He rebelled. One frigid Sunday last March, through the silence of a sleeping household, he slunk down the hall and to the kitchen, careful not to rouse his house guests.

We don’t know if his plan was dependent on my siblings being hungover but, since this was the case, it worked a charm. A little after 9am, they were stirred from sleep by the tell-tale crunch of gravel as he spun slowly away to his local church. His intention: to defy the orders of his slovenly children and go to mass amid the coughs and handshakes of his fellow parishioners. We had witnessed one of the more unexpected struggles of lockdown life – the strange, rebellious instincts of God-fearing society, and the paradox of coming together in His name at a time when you must remain apart.

It was clear that either he would have to adapt, or Catholicism would. In the end, both happened, as our priest began live streaming services to his parish via an app, and my father got with the programme, in every sense. Dressed in his best church clothes, he’s spent the past 10 months in front of his screen each Sunday morning, albeit allowing himself the potentially sacrilegious indulgence of a cup of tea and a small bun.

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