As the world comes to a standstill because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Christians continue with their faith and observe Lent in the safety of their homes.
Lent is a sacred season in Christianity starting on Ash Wednesday and culminating on Easter Sunday. The 40-day period is a time for fasting, penitence, and renewal of faith. The current crisis has forced churches to cancel not only Sunday services, but all rituals during the Holy Week.
We brought Mass to a virtual world that allowed us to be connected even from afar. — Rev. Fr. Luciano Felloni, Philippines
In the city of Trichy, India, instead of joining a procession and waving palm fronds, Christians watched the Palm Sunday Mass on TV. Recorded church services from previous years will also be telecast on TV to prevent people from going out to church. People are advised to follow the policies set by the government regarding quarantine, reports Times of India.
Religious leaders have utilized social media to reach Christians at home. A priest from the Philippines, Rev. Fr. Luciano Felloni, said the Church continues its activities through various platforms.
“We brought Mass to a virtual world that allowed us to be connected even from afar. Another advantage is that it has increased the number of people participating in our ceremonies,” Fr. Felloni said. The cleric revealed that from around 100 mass goers during weekday Masses, there are now a minimum of 3,000 viewers of online Mass via Facebook Live, reports Tatler Philippines.
According to The Independent, BBC airs church service every Sunday, which is vital especially today since the Church of England and other Catholic churches have closed their buildings following the ban on mass gatherings.
Rev. Dr. Martyn Atkins, superintendent of the Methodist Central Hall Westminster, advised Christians that, “Lent is a time to seek not only to follow Jesus, but to become more like him. The challenge is not to become good salespeople of religion as much as free gifts of God’s grace in Christ, where you are, today, now.”