... in churchgoing
Churchgoing during the pandemic has been a strange, and often lackkustre affair. Many of the normal aspects of Catholic churchgoing are absent, particularly the music, the children's liturgy, the altar servers, the sign of peace, and the sense of community. As a new lockdown has begun in England, and with news of the new strain being more infectious, I was in two minds about going to Mass at all, but in the end I went on Sunday because I have found attending a Mass in church much better for me spiritually and emotionally than livestreaming, and at the back of my mind I was also thinking that they might change the rules again and I might not be able to go to church on another Sunday.
I should add that the rules have been followed very closely at my church. Everyone wears masks, distancing is observed, there is no singing, and there is no 'mingling' after Mass (our church opens straight out onto a main road, which I think helps!). Although, just to be sure, the priest did mention that we shouldn't mingle.
I think our priest is struggling, the poor man had cancer earlier this year, followed by depression, and now he has returned to a much depleted congregation, tape and ropes all over his church, and all the same anxieties the rest of us are living with. With all that has been happening in the news this week, and a few things in my personal life, I wasn't in the best of moods myself. But whether it was precisely because everything had been so dismal that I appreciated the Mass more, or the awareness that we might not have been allowed to go to church, I looked up at the apse of the church during Mass and quite spontaneously though to myself: ''tis good Lord to be here.' Just like the disicples at the Transfiguration.
And so it is.