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Home » News » Local » Selina Venier writes about online offerings, family and butterflies in the time of pandemic

Selina Venier writes about online offerings, family and butterflies in the time of pandemic

Papal Mass: “Secondly, within online offerings, especially of the Mass, conversations could be opened and elaborated about why a holy space like a sanctuary is presented like this or that, how it differed from another, particularly when considering where Pope Francis celebrated Mass from.” Photo: CNS

IS it only at our place but are the butterflies in full flight and form, where you live, too?

Perhaps it’s part of some scientific phenomenon that I’m not aware of but I’ve been noting daily, the presence of countless and constant butterflies from the kitchen window especially.

So much so, for this writing venture I’ve moved a much humbler desk than I normally use to take full vantage of the larger window in our home office.

Within the mindset of continuing positivity amongst so much news and current affairs that tips the scales in the other direction, the blessed Easter Triduum has come and gone and today, we’re at the conclusion of the Easter Octave.

Perhaps it might be helpful to share what we’ve learnt during this directive, “Stay Home” time.

Firstly, all the online Masses, liturgies and prayer experiences were quite obviously in our hands to schedule and attend reverently.

As a parent I felt more responsible than ever that everyone was present and attentive.

This wasn’t always followed through, with a tendency to “double screen” for some of us – as in, have the mobile phone in hand while listening, a certain no-no.

So first learning was the importance of the entire household knowing online offerings were scheduled and anticipated, just as the normal Mass routine is, and expectations about participation and demeanour were as per normal, as normal as could be mirrored.

Secondly, within online offerings, especially of the Mass, conversations could be opened and elaborated about why a holy space like a sanctuary is presented like this or that, how it differed from another, particularly when considering where Pope Francis celebrated Mass from.

So our second learning was, in the paying of attention to details, there were opportunities for catechesis.

Third obvious outcome was the blessings of evangelising from afar.

As a family we felt an urgent call to witness the faith in further-reaching ways, some deliberate and some simply a consequence of our habits.

To this end, when Miss 18 spoke with teenage friends, not necessarily with faith-filled backgrounds, she witnessed to the ways she was living the Triduum.

I heard her say to a group of 18 year-olds, “Can we Zoom on the day that Jesus is risen?”

Wonder what they thought.

Miss 17 went to work, during this Easter Octave, in her normal “essential services” capacity at a fruit and vegetables distributor.

Her boss, an unassuming and generous man, witnesses powerfully every time they share lunch as a workplace, pausing and making the Sign of the Cross.

Miss 17’s as pleased as punch to follow suit, with others, she says, in wonderment and impacted by his fatherly stature and her youthful one.

That reality is powerful to those who may not have known either.

Master Going-on-7, watching online offerings, found it challenging to remain still, I admit, an outcome that improved as time progressed.

In our conversations post, he presented a myriad of wonderment questions, asking, “Why did God…?” do this or that and My Dearly Beloved was quietly flawed.

The absorbent young mind might not have had the opportunity to wonder and ask if the current situation wasn’t as it is.

My mother-in-law was quick to announce on Easter Sunday evening via Skype, that she’d used our artistic Alleluia images of the Resurrection to send greetings to their friends and the extended family.

My Dearly Beloved joked about copyright and her delight was evident.

Who knows how far those images went?

And so, participation, learning and witness have each been heightened at this time of “staying home” to connect with our Church, as a People of God.

May I take this opportunity to thank all the priests, bishops, archbishops, musicians, readers, camera operators, secretaries typing homilies and prayers of intercession and those setting up behind-the-scenes for their contribution to the on-line offerings of our local and broader Church.

You know exactly who you are.

Who would have known that our priests would need the front-of-camera skills they’ve shown of late? We thank you for going perhaps beyond your comfort zones.

Can I thank Archbishop Coleridge particularly for not only his well-planned and delivered words but particularly for the intense way he looked into the camera, like you were staring into the depths of our hearts and minds.

At one stage of watching sacred streaming from St Stephen’s Cathedral, I recognised a young man as Cantor, who I’d catechised 15 plus years ago.

You too know who you are and I wish to say to you that it gave me great joy to see and hear your continued witness of the faith, a testament to your parents.

The Lord must have sensed my excitement in this surprise online gift, not possible even if the pandemic wasn’t at our door because we wouldn’t have attended that Mass.

He must have sensed its impact as the following day, I accompanied L-driver Miss 17 to work early and was searching her car for something faith-filled to listen to on my return, with slim pickings because she listens to music from her mobile device mostly and the antiquated CDs are as old almost, as I am,

Anyway, at that moment, a former acquaintance from the mid-2000s messaged her Easter wishes accompanied by a clip of her daughter, who I’d also catechised, singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

The greetings and my feelings were one of “those” moments.

You know the ones – where you feel as though God is speaking directly to your soul, not unlike Archbishop Coleridge staring into the camera.

As we collectively aspire to a return to normal routines, my family extends wishes of greater participation, learning and witness, as imperfectly as we personally live it.

We can be confident that faith in God can not be quelled by a virus, it has the potential to spread immeasurably.

Just ask the butterfly.

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