MUNCY – Normally during Lent the pews would be full at the Church of the Resurrection. Now, before he walks into the sanctuary to begin to celebrate Sunday Mass, Father Glenn McCreary locks the door so no one can come in.
As a parishioner at the church, I asked Father Glenn if I could attend and shoot photos as he celebrated Sunday Mass to an audience only able to see him via live streaming. He agreed and this morning I set my Fuji’s to as silent a mode as possible and I went about my business to document this strange, new aspect of life for Catholics around the world.
Father Glenn said he felt grateful for the technology to be able to still reach his parishioners in this strange time and for “the people who know how to make it happen.”
“Without that, we would have no way of connecting our parishioners at all. In this midst of this challenging crisis we need to see God’s gifts to so many people – medical researchers, health care professionals, IT folks,” he said.
“The dynamic of celebrating Mass virtually alone runs counter to our experience. The Mass involves dialog, invites the community to respond. Yes, it’s always the sacrifice of Christ, once offered on the cross, eternally offered to the Father. I miss the people. I miss the energy that comes from praying together. We’re still praying together, but we don’t hear the response, we don’t see the expression as we normally do. And, of course, I’m so aware that the people’s hunger for the Eucharist remains strong. Watching is good, a spiritual communion is good, but it all points to the actual sharing in the sacrificial meal.”
But more than simply worshiping together, there is an additional spiritual weight that lays heavy on Father Glenns shoulders, as well as many parishioners, pastors and spiritual leaders around the world.
“At this point I’m well,” he said. “Our community seems reasonably well. But, that could change in an instant. And it could change rapidly and tragically for any of us. The spiritual strength, of course, comes from the central piece of our faith: that Christ, the crucified Lord, conquers sin and death.
“St Paul asks, ‘Death, where is your sting? Grave, where is your victory?’ Those words were not penned to comfort people dying in their sleep at 105 years of age. They were written to people who faced persecution and death every day. Ironically, the unpleasant business of being confined these days does offer some time for quiet and reflection. It does help put all our questions and anxieties into some perspective.”