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Missing Mass: How parishioners with the Diocese of Savannah are coping with a new normal


A return to normalcy will have to wait as masses within the Diocese, and around the country, have been momentarily postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. What was once part of daily and weekly routines has become a longing for the communal worship that is attending mass at your local parish. Along with not being able to gather together, parishioners are having to adjust to not taking part in the sacrament. Recent communication from the Diocese is working to calm any concerns parishioners may have about when they and their families will be able to return to their respective parishes.

A return to normalcy will have to wait as masses within the Diocese, and around the country, have been momentarily postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. What was once part of daily and weekly routines has become a longing for the communal worship that is attending mass at your local parish. Along with not being able to gather together, parishioners are having to adjust to not taking part in the sacrament.
Recent communication from the Diocese is working to calm any concerns parishioners may have about when they and their families will be able to return to their respective parishes.

As of a Mar. 16 coronavirus advisory to the public in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the diocese is requested that "there are to be no public Masses celebrated in the parish churches or missions in the diocese of Savannah beginning immediately." That advisory includes scheduled confirmations. There has been a slight exception for previously scheduled weddings and funerals, which are being instructed to be limited to just family members. The center for Disease Control is currently recommending crowds no larger than 10 gather in the same space. In some cases live masses are being streamed online and broadcast on local television stations. The new normal for faithful all over the world is much different from anything we have had to face during modern times.

A poll conducted via the Southern Cross Facebook page brought some of those concerns to light. Parishioners were asked how they feel about not being able to attend Mass and they voiced concerns about a number of topics.

For some within the diocese, not being able to attend Mass has been enlightening, if also disappointing.

"For me, missing Mass has made me more aware of all things I take for granted," wrote Andrea Hahn, a member of sacred heart Catholic Church, Warner Robins. "I feel an emptiness in my life and long for the opportunity to share in the Mass with the community of believers. I have grown in appreciation of all that our priests and deacons do for us and I am in awe of their faith and commitment. We are truly blessed."

Others have made the best of the new normal by embracing online Mass and adding that to their routines.

"I am very thankful for online Mass, to pray the prayer for communion and the ability to continue my daily Rosary" said Petra Lockwood of Augusta. "This has provided so much peace and routine to my mornings, leading to a more positive outlook to my day."

For those throughout the diocese that have elderly family members not attending Mass during this pandemic is a blessing due to potential health concerns. Despite the necessary precautions however, the change can also be hard on their loved ones.

"My mom is in assisted living," said Catherine Kostilnik, her mother and herself both living in Savannah, "She normally gets communion brought to her, she is pretty upset that she can't."

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