For Catholics, our parish life looks anything but ordinary these days. Between masks, roped off pews, and fewer people inside, our experience of the Mass is a lot different than it was a year ago. But what will our parishes be like when the restrictions are lifted in a post-Covid world? Will those who were in the pews next to us a year ago be back post-pandemic?
Fr. Charlie Fox recently stopped by The Drew Mariani Show™ to discuss how we can prepare now for a post-Covid Church, and why it’s so important for Catholics to return to the Mass after dispensations are lifted.
Drew pointed out, “Watching Mass on television is one thing, but being there to worship and receive the Lord truly present in the Blessed Sacrament is another.” He said the focus of parishes post-Covid will be, “We need to bridge the gap of this last year and get back to church. How do we get people back to the pews?”
Addressing this concern, Fr. Fox acknowledged that the Covid pandemic accelerated trends we were already seeing in society at large and in the Church in particular.
“I am very concerned that the entire Covid period has worsened problems that already existed,” he said. “I don’t think it introduced particularly new problems, but I do think it worsened problems in terms of people’s dedication to Sunday.”
It was a blessing that technology allowed us to move many things online when the pandemic hit. But, as anyone experiencing Zoom fatigue will tell you, digital experiences are simply not the same as in-person experiences. And while a business meeting or book club can be moved online with little lost, some experiences cannot be fully replicated digitally.
“That’s really the principle on which the sacramental economy of the Church is based,” Fr. Fox said. “Actions performed here and now, words spoken here and now are the means by which God draws us to Himself, by which God saves us. And you can’t get that via a digital medium.”
So how can we prepare to bring people back from a digital Mass experience to an in-person one post-Covid? Fr. Fox suggested starting with what and who you have.
“There are still plenty of people who love the Mass and feel deprived right now, and to be able to strengthen them and their love and understanding of the Mass will, in turn, strengthen those over whom these people have influence,” he said.
Whether you have been going to Mass for months or have been unable to attend Mass for some time, learning and growing in your love of the Mass can play a huge role in preparing to welcome others back after the pandemic has subsided.
“One of the principles of the New Evangelization is evangelizing from the inside out,” Fr. Fox noted. “Renewing the Church from within and then going out from that position of strength. So if we can equip those who still love the Mass with knowledge, with an understanding of how this is vitally important and something we cannot do without, they will be able to give witness to that truth from other people. That can’t help but have a good effect.”
A great way you can reconnect and renew your love of the Mass is to join Father Rocky’s Lenten Lessons on the Mass. These reflections are sent to your inbox each day of Lent with an option to read or listen – and even watch special bonus videos that dive deeper into the meaning of the Mass. Lenten Lessons start this Wednesday so sign-up today!