It’s been greater than a yr because the COVID-19 pandemic gripped our nation. The challenges of the final yr have modified a lot in enterprise and our private lives. However we’ve additionally skilled nice modifications in the way in which we follow our religion.
On the Miraculous Medal Shrine, the transition to completely digital worship final spring got here naturally. We had been already livestreaming weekly Lots and novenas when the pandemic started. Whereas the shrine was closed, we moved the novena into the St. Vincent’s Seminary chapel for socially distant, masked prayer that maintained the sacred custom of the perpetual novena whereas prioritizing the well being and security of our neighborhood.
By recording and presenting the Novena on-line, we ensured that devoted attendees may proceed to seek out consolation and peace within the novena prayers by way of the shrine’s closure.
Concurrently, we additionally created and printed small prayer movies that highlighted completely different components of the shrine and defined elements of Marian devotion. One in all my favourite movies on this collection examined prayers carved in marble within the sanctuary of the Miraculous Medal Shrine.
Sarcastically, the shrine’s closure enabled individuals to get a better, extra intimate have a look at the constructing than they had been used to.
To me and many individuals who cherish the Miraculous Medal novena, steadfast devotion to Mary by way of the pandemic has been a saving grace. Prayer for Mary’s intercession has at all times been about praying to Mary and Jesus about precisely who we’re and what we’d like. In a time of nice uncertainty, the chance to be susceptible in prayer is extraordinarily highly effective.
For that motive, giving individuals a solution to share in this kind of prayer just about in a neighborhood with others searching for the identical consolation has been essential. We’ll proceed to supply this digital possibility in order that individuals who dwell out of the realm, are homebound, or in any other case can not attend the novena on Mondays are capable of share within the expertise of praying for Mary’s intercession.
We’re starting to emerge slowly from the challenges of the final yr, inviting the neighborhood again into the shrine with precautions in place to make sure their well being and security. Together with sanitation measures and efforts to take care of social distancing, we’ve additionally made some liturgical modifications. Homilies are shorter and there may be much less music. These alterations have introduced a refreshing lightness to the Mass that makes every thing really feel extra energetic.
We’ve discovered that much less actually is extra. A weekly Monday Mass and Novena mustn’t really feel the identical as Sunday Mass. Individuals who attend want to fulfill completely different religious wants than these they search to meet at their parishes on Sundays.
As Catholics develop into extra snug returning to worship in-person within the coming months, we all know that we might want to earn their attendance with providers which can be sturdy sufficient, considerate sufficient, and welcoming sufficient to encourage their return.
Seeking to the yr forward, I’m hopeful. I’m longing for a beneficiant return to prayer during which nothing is taken without any consideration. Each verse of each music will likely be celebrated joyfully. Folks will relish their prayer communities and develop connections with these with whom they worship.
Regardless of the advantages of digital worship, there’s something exceptional about praying in an area so steeped within the prayerful custom of the perpetual novena. I invite individuals who really feel snug doing so to hitch us.
Whether or not you’re a long-time customer to the Miraculous Medal Shrine or somebody who has by no means visited, our doorways, and our hearts, are open to you.
Father Timothy Lyons, C.M., is appearing superior at St. Vincent’s Seminary. The Miraculous Medal Shrine is positioned at 500 East Chelten Avenue in Philadelphia. Go to MiraculousMedal.org for extra details about the shrine’s hours and novena schedule.