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It’s March of 2020. Mask mandates are appearing across the country. Rules and advice are changing, sometimes by the hour. We all know that story. But when the edict came down from the Bishop that we were to immediately close our doors, I admit I panicked a little. It had never occurred to me that the Church would suddenly become unavailable. Never did I contemplate the sudden void of churches everywhere closing their door due to plague.
So some of us immediately did what anyone does in this scenario: we had an emergency planning brunch.
The result of that brunch was the pattern you all saw over the following months: daily masses with livestreaming. Our first priority was to resume the pattern of masses during the pandemic and for quite some time, we kept up the (sometimes agonizing but always rewarding) pattern of a small number of us going to St. Paul’s, daily, and offering the Mass for everyone stuck in their homes. In many ways, it was a simple thing to do. Yet it speaks to us falling back on our strengths and tradition: when in doubt or fear, return to the altar and pray.
The live-stream was, for a while, very rudimentary. It was usually the Rector’s phone on a simple tripod with a static shot while the small crew of us blessed enough to serve rotated and made the Mass available to who we could. I will always be incredibly thankful for not only the opportunity to serve, but also the willingness of this parish to refuse to give in or give up at a time when celebrating the Mass was as important as it was logistically challenging. But after a fashion, we upgraded the quality of our live stream. New routers and iPhones, fancier tripods, and other related equipment so that we could livestream to Facebook, YouTube, and even Twitter. This allowed us to make the Sacrament visible to you all, as we jointly prayed the prayer of Spiritual Communion. Of course, these things came at some expense. Thankfully, this parish was ready to move on them. Before long we were broadcasting on Sundays at a quality equal to that of many larger institutions.
This modest but mighty parish family faced up against the greatest threat to our health in many years and said, “I will go unto the altar of God…”