Keeping Lent in our hearts

Graymoor, near New York city, is a focus for Christian Unity

As we move deeper into Lent many are finding it difficult to attend church due to the threat of Coronavirus.

In Rome and Venice there are no services on Sunday or weekdays.

Those elsewhere who are able to go will find communion only in one kind and a ban on shaking hands, kneeling and using hymn books. Coffee afterwards is often being cancelled as a precaution.

This is a time to understand how those who are unwell or far from church feel when trying to keep the Christian year.

Thanks to new media it is possible to look up the Mass readings. You can follow worship on RTE online from Ireland. The Pope’s daily Mass is also available live online.

There is a huge choice of live feeds from fixed cameras in churches across Britain on Church Services TV.

Look at Twitter on Wednesday 25 March and you will find lots of references to The Annunciation. Many will be keeping the day in their hearts.

“The Holy Spirit has a way of getting to places and to people that we don’t always understand, and we certainly can’t package,” says Archbishop of Westminster Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

“People will take what steps they can to associate themselves spiritually with the celebration of Mass, and my guess is, will treasure it more when the freedom is back to attend Mass when we want.”

Writing from Rome in The Tablet this week Christopher Lamb observes: “Church teaching is that a virtual celebration of the liturgy does not fulfill the obligation to attend Mass in person, but digital technology has suddenly become a lifeline that enables Catholics to remain connected to their faith, albeit remotely.”

Magnificat and Keeping Lent and Easter can be companions through this season of Lent and the fifty days of Easter when the virus will possibly be at its height in the UK.

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