Social distancing has forced a physical divide between clergy and the faithful, so religious leaders are finding creative ways to connect with their flocks.
Many priests are live streaming Mass on their parish websites and social media platforms. Among them is Most Rev. Robert J. McClory, bishop of the Diocese of Gary, whose 11 a.m. Sunday celebration of the Mass appears on the Diocese of Gary YouTube channel and the home page of dcgary.org.
The growing list of churches in the Diocese of Gary that livestream a liturgy can be found at
Masses and other Catholic programming has long been broadcast on cable and satellite channels, but many believe members of the Local Church want to feel connected with their own parishes.
“Yes, there are some great Mass (broadcasts) on TV, but there’s such a personal touch when it’s Mass being broadcast right from your home parish,” said Matt Kresich, director of young Catholics at Holy Name of Jesus parish in Cedar Lake, who livestreams Mass there and for Bishop McClory at Holy Angels Cathedral.
Bishop McClory is committed to using technology to stay connected with people. He is praying for intentions emailed to him at https://www.dcgary.org/pray.html
Bishop McClory is also staying connected through a series of videos appearing on the Diocese of Gary website and social media channels. Social media has become a useful way for clergy and laity to pray virtually with others. Those prayers include the Rosary, the Lord’s Prayer, Stations of the Cross and more.
As people participate in Mass and other prayer via technology, some are creating a sacred space at home.
The Pingoy Family, of St. John, covered a table with cloth and placed the family Bible, candles and incense on it as they prepared to watch a livestream of Mass.
“We miss our physical church so much,” Mary Grace Pingoy said. “We have taken for granted that we could go to Mass each week. This feeling, this longing for Christ in his physical presence and only having him in his spiritual presence, reaffirms our faith.”
St. Patrick in Chesterton, invited parishioners to submit “selfies,” which were then printed and taped to pews. Although the congregation cannot be physically present, their images are present when Mass is celebrated via livestream.
This time of social distancing has also brought texting and emailing resources, such as Flocknote, to the foreground. The Diocese of Gary uses Flocknote to send alerts and messages from Bishop McClory to thousands of Catholics in the diocese. Many parishes use the tool to communicate with members, keeping them updated on the latest news.
While we separate ourselves for the sake of the common good, we give thanks for the resources that allow us to remain in touch with each other. We give praise and thanks to God for our spiritual unity through the gift of his son, Jesus Christ. We are never alone.
by NWI Catholic Staff