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Virtual Mass can’t replace the real thing

By Kaelanne Jordan
Twitter: @kaelanne1

With churches and places of worship being allowed to reopen for a second time during the COVID-19 pandemic, Archbishop Jason Gordon has said it’s going to be a “nice challenge” managing the return of parishioners to church especially those who have become “accustomed” to virtual Mass.
As “great” as the livestreamed Masses are, it is nothing in comparison to the “real food” faithful get when they attend Mass physically, the Archbishop asserted during CatholicTT’s Ask the Archbishop live chat on Wednesday (October 28).
The homily, he explained, is only part of the experience.
“And in our time, we judge the Mass based on the homily. When you are watching on television, what you are doing is watching on a representation of the thing that is real that cannot be there on TV the way you are there when you are physically present. And to be able to receive the Body of Christ, that is the food of angels…more precious than any homily you can ever receive,” Archbishop Gordon said.
He opined while the faithful should be both “excited and hungry” for the churches’ reopening, exercising discipline in observing COVID-19 protocols at church is critical.
There are plans underway for the resumption of the Sacraments.
The Archbishop confirmed after being postponed three times, the annual Chrism Mass will now take place November 9.
“I don’t want to put this one off again,” he told Catholic Media Services Limited’s Communication Officer, Renee Smith.
Asked to share on his time during his eight-day silent retreat at Blanchisseuse from October 18–26, the Archbishop described it as brilliant, wonderful, amazing, exquisite and beautiful.
Shifting to international news, Archbishop Gordon shared his thoughts on Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti.
He began saying Pope Francis is really an “amazing” man and his work in Fratelli Tutti is “brilliant.” He also spoke on the “misinterpretation” of the Pope’s comments on same-sex civil unions.
In making a point, Archbishop Gordon said regardless of their actions, both the heterosexual and homosexual couples still deserve the protection under the law, which is inscribed for every citizen.
“He’s not saying homosexuality is right. He’s not saying that by making it legal we make it moral … What he’s saying is here are human beings and these human beings deserve to be part of our family and we can’t cast them out of our family and we need to protect them and they need to have a framework of protection to ensure that their rights are being upheld,” the Archbishop clarified.
Who are we to follow, the Church or the pope?Responding to this question Archbishop Gordon explained that there is no Church outside of the pope and there is no pope outside of the Church.
To this end, he stressed anyone who “rubbishes”, misrepresents and speaks ill of the pope, does not understand the fundamentals of the gospel.
There is a way of being Catholic and it’s about thinking with the Church. The Archbishop observed that many times popes say things that persons may not understand or agree with but the onus is not with the pope or what the media reported that he said.
The onus, he asserted, is for persons to educate themselves on what was actually said, why he said it and to examine the context of what was said.
With the annual seminary dinner carded for Friday, November 13, Archbishop Gordon once again urged Catholics to give their full support. The seminary, he said, is vital, and one that is very close to his heart.
“Right now, we have a big, big priest shortage and if we don’t do the formation for the generation, well then, the future of the Church will be in jeopardy,” he said.