In most areas, the COVID-19 stay-in-place orders went into effect just as Christians were preparing for Easter Week. How to come together to celebrate when we can’t be together? For many faith communities, it meant a crash-course in online ministry.
Our Lady of Guadalupe in Houston was one of the first of our Dehonian parishes to offer online Masses. Liturgies are available in both Spanish (10:30 a.m. on Sundays) and English (9:00 a.m. on Sundays). You can tune in via the parish Facebook page.
In northwest Mississippi, the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) minister as a pastoral team to six parishes (Christ the King, Southaven; Good Shepherd, Robinsonville; Holy Spirit, Hernando; Queen of Peace, Olive Branch; St. Gregory, Senatobia; and St. Joseph, Holly Springs). Just before Holy Week, the team put together a Facebook page to offer livestreaming of Masses, also in English and Spanish. Four Mass are planned for Divine Mercy Sunday (April 19). Click here to access the schedule for this and future Sundays. Church bulletins and other information are also shared on the Facebook page.
In South Dakota, a Dehonian pastoral team serves another six parishes on the Lower Brule and Crow Creek reservations.
“Just before the coronavirus hit us, I had been praying for a way that we could communicate here who we Dehonians are, as well as having a web-based tool to communicate with all of our parishioners during storms, parish events, etc.” wrote Fr. Mark Mastin, SCJ.
“Ten days ago, I got a call out of the blue from two of our parishioners, Fay and Tia Jandreau, who offered to help me create a website and to video record and livestream our masses,” Fr. Mark continued. “WOW! God does work in mysterious ways – and quickly. They also volunteered to pay for some of the costs. Within five days, we had a web platform.”
The site began offering livestreaming of liturgies as of Palm Sunday. Fr. Mark reports that large numbers tuned in for Easter services, more so than are able to attend Mass in person.
Click here to access the site.
The parishes are just one of many province ministries keeping people together through an online presence. Real ministry to real people during this time when we cannot be together.