I miss going to Mass in church every Sunday
If there’s one thing I truly miss from the days before the COVID pandemic lockdown, it’s going to Mass every Sunday. The last time I heard Mass in church was March 15 this year. That means I’ve not been in a church for close to seven months, 30 Sundays to be exact. Since the lockdown began, most, if not all Catholics have had to content themselves with celebrating Mass online. To an extent, this is quite convenient. It’s not necessary to dress in our Sunday best, then get in the car and drive to church.
There’s no longer any excuse to be tardy or absent since most Catholic churches offer online Masses almost every hour. And if you can’t watch live, you can always go to YouTube and choose from an array of Masses that have been published. My personal favorite is the online Sunday Mass of Fr. Tito Caluag, which is usually short and sweet. But despite the convenience, the one thing online Masses can’t give viewers is Holy Communion.
I was thus thrilled when I was invited to attend a Mass last Friday (Oct. 2) for the blessing of a show that will premiere soon. The officiating priest was Fr. Gilbert “GT” Talabong from San Lorenzo Ruiz Parish in Mauban, Quezon. Fr. GT drove three and a half hours from Quezon to Quezon City just to celebrate that Mass. If that’s not dedication to his vocation, I don’t know what is.
Fr. GT gave a meaningful homily that reminded me of the importance of family and our relationships with family members. If there are three things this pandemic should have taught us, it’s (1.) to love and appreciate one another; (2.) accept our flaws and shortcomings; and (3.) to be generous with praise and forgiveness. In other words, nothing can compare to a peaceful, loving heart.
During the Mass, I got goosebumps when we sang the Our Father. Singing with others for the first time in months was, for me, truly spiritually uplifting. When we exchanged “peace-be-with-yous,” a fuzzy feeling enveloped me even though there were only a few of us and we were standing more than a meter apart. But the best part was Holy Communion. As soon as I received the host, my eyes swelled and I nearly teared up from the sense of peace and calmness all around me. I realized only then how much I missed receiving the body of Christ.
I’ve heard that churches are now allowed to open but only at 10 percent capacity. I wonder why this is so when restaurants are allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity. I want to get as much of my old life back in the new normal and do the things I was accustomed to doing, with the added health protocols, of course.
Wearing a mask and face shield, cleaning my hands regularly, practicing physical distancing and avoiding crowded places are now habitual and second nature to me. If I can go to work daily, go to the supermarket twice a month, go to the mall on weekends to do essential errands, go to the salon twice a month to get a manicure, pedicure, trim and hair color, why can’t I go to church every Sunday to feed my soul?