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19 Dec 2020, by Rev. Fr. Joel Okojie OSA in Sacraments

The year 2020 started like every other year with beautiful dreams, hopes high, and an outstanding commitment to making our dreams a reality. But the sound of a virus that seems so far away gradually became so dangerously close to becoming a pandemic acquiring the name COVID-19. This virus has not only succeeded in killing people, changing lifestyles, but it’s putting our Christian faith on trial.

I undoubtedly agree with the scientific approach to curbing the corroding effect of this virus on human life; the use of facemask, constant hand washing, hand sanitizers, and the observance of social distancing are incontestable helpful measures to control the COVID-19. However, I’m afraid that social distancing is gradually becoming distancing from Church; the COVID-19 pandemic puts our faith on trial. I confidently proclaimed from the pulpit at Holy Spirit’s parish, Barrie, Canada, that our parishes are safe places to worship. While observing all the precautions, we must rise above the fear of COVID-19 that is gradually reducing the Church to TV screens.

With due respect to the infirm and homebound, I acknowledge the importance of virtual Mass. But I would not shy away from telling the truth that virtual Mass is not a substitution for our cherished Eucharistic celebration. At in-person Mass, we gather around one table to celebrate as a Church and receive Christ in the Eucharist, a precious gift that COVID-19 is too small to stop. It is, therefore, complete submission to the manipulative power of the spirit of fear to stay away from Mass even when it is available. Have you wondered why many are not afraid to go shopping, partying, or going to school, yet scared of going to Church? Manipulations!

I’m aware that in many parts of the world, Churches are still closed in obedience to our government, but where Mass is still allowed with probably limited capacity, fear must not stop us from meeting Christ in the Eucharist.

I appreciate the efforts of our frontline workers, and may the souls of the dead rest with the Lord.

  • Uche Unachukwu Reply

    Thanks Fr for this very inspiring reflection. For me, this touches me even beyond government COVID restrictions.

  • Angela Yakubu BALEWA Reply

    It’s really a call for reflection . Despite the current happenings surrounding the covid19, life still goes on as such the church most not be an exception. The Holy Eucharist is the centre of our worship, the soul of Christian and cant be otherwise!