Excessive or Essential?

By Jenny Dendinger

After half of us tested positive for COVID-19, my family spent most of January in quarantine. Thankfully, we only experienced mild symptoms, so isolation was the hardest part.

Returning to the “virtual front pew” was more difficult than we anticipated, but we did our best to offer it up as we waited out our quarantine.

Last March, we watched our first virtual Mass all curled up together on the sofa. It made the entire experience feel casual and common. I’m not sure what we expected since were watching the same way we’d watch TV for entertainment, but by the end of Mass, it was clear that things needed to change.

We have since learned to transform our living room into a holy space before Mass. A simple altar cloth is placed on our entertainment center with a crucifix and a couple of candles on either side of the TV. We also bring in the bench seat and some chairs from our dining room to create makeshift pews.

After preparing the room, we prepare our hearts. We dress in our Sunday best, and, when Mass begins, we participate by standing, kneeling and praying together as if we were actually in the church.

These changes might seem excessive to some, but they have been necessary for us.

As Catholics, we know that Mass isn’t a show put on for us to enjoy. Mass is a prayer, and our participation in that prayer, whether in church or at home, has been absolutely essential for our spiritual growth.

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