RIDGEFIELD – As parishes get ready to resume indoor services, new traditions embraced during recent months will continue.
Volunteers throughout the diocese graciously accepted learning new technology to maintain a crucial link between the church and its community.
“When we started in March, I had never done Facebook streaming before,” said Cynthia Conti, a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Seton. Conti has been coming to the church every day to assist the parish in streaming masses on the social network. The masses are also posted to the church website.
“Every day you learn something new to work out the kinks. By the time this is all done, I will be a pro,” Conti said, adding, “I feel honored to bring our shepherd to his flock.”
Indeed, many parishioners appreciate the ability to see the familiar faces of the priests in their parish delivering the mass, as they watch from their homes. Outdoor masses, which started on Ascension Thursday at the Ridgebury Road church, enabled priests to not only see the faces of their parishioners but to interact with them as well.
“Celebrating mass to an empty pew is terrible,” said Pastor Reverend Joseph Prince. “There is no eye contact, so you don’t have (the parishioners) reactions.”
It was evident parishioners were excited to see each other and Father Prince during the outdoor ceremony where colorful lawn chairs and blankets dotted the lawn just across from the entrance of the church. Congregants had to pre-register on the church website for one of about 50 available spots.
“To watch the mass online is great,” said Michele Goodman, a parishioner at St. Elizabeth Seton for 15 years. “To receive actual communion meant the most to me.”
Although, Catholics watching mass at home have been encouraged to receive spiritual communion, Goodman’s sentiment was shared by many.
“It was awesome to be able to be here. It was really awesome to celebrate the mass again and receive the Eucharist,” said Nancy Rafferty, of Danbury.
Cindy Bruno, a parishioner for 40 years said the gathering of people at the outdoor mass, “was a beautiful reminder of our faith and how people longed to be together.”
“Worshipping together and being together,” Bruno said, “has given the mass a whole new meaning now.”