Gladstone's Catholic Parish Priest Fr Andrew Chase.
Gladstone's Catholic Parish Priest Fr Andrew Chase.

‘I’ve been learning’: Tech’s role in Easter Mass

One of the most significant times on the Christian calendar will be markedly different this year.

The period marking the Last Supper and crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ traditionally involves days of parishioners coming together in ceremony and ritual. But with gatherings cancelled for the foreseeable future, parish priest Father Andrew Chase is reaching the Catholic community in different ways.

“I’ve been learning a lot of stuff they don’t necessarily teach you in the seminary,” he said.

Services are being livestreamed to Facebook from the church, and meetings are conducted via Zoom video conferencing software.

The Easter liturgies will go ahead this year but will be streamed from a virtually empty church. Fr Chase said Saturday night’s Easter vigil was the biggest liturgy of the Church’s year.

Typically it involves lighting a fire outside from which the Easter candle is lit and walked through a dark Church.

There are ancient hymns, readings from the Old Testament and celebrations of Christ’s resurrection.

“Most of the rituals and the elements of the liturgy will still be included,” Fr Chase said.

“Some of the things will be modified, for instance, we won’t have the fire outside the church.”

For some, the transition to a new way of operating has been tough.

“They understand why we have to do this, but quite a few of them have said how sad it’s made them and how emotional they feel on a Sunday morning when they would be getting up to go to mass,” he said “To not be able to do that, it’s hit them quite hard.”

Fr Chase is hopeful that for some, the silver lining will be a new-found appreciation for what they do on a Sunday.

“Faith is certainly not some kind of naive belief that everything is rosy when in fact it’s not,” he said.

“Rather, I think faith is a deep sense of trust that in the fullness of time all things will be well even though we have to go through a trial.”