During the time that Masses have been closed to public attendance, Father David Anthony, parochial vicar at St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Orefield, learned how to minister to parishioners from afar.
“I can’t meet with a parish group, but if I go over to the church and pray, I’m doing more for the people of God than if I went to a million meetings,” he said.
The priests at St. Joe’s have continued to offer confessions and anointing of the sick, as well as livestreaming Mass on the weekends. Fr. Anthony has also recorded daily reflection videos on the Gospel, which can be found on the parish Facebook page. “I met with our 3rd grade class via Zoom and have prayed the rosary with parishioners online.”
Fr. Anthony has been using his downtime to pray more often and more deeply. “My excuses for not being with the Lord have all been stripped away,” he said. “I try to talk with Him about the stuff that really matters. So many of the things that I worry about have been revealed to be unimportant.”
Fr. Anthony said his time alone has helped him to focus on what is most important in life. “What this world offers me will not satisfy. Everything is temporary, and it can be taken away,” he said. “I need to live my life for what really matters. I need to live my life for Jesus Christ.”
What does Fr. Anthony miss most during this time of isolation? “Distributing Holy Communion,” he said. “Celebrating Mass in an otherwise empty chapel is jarring, especially when I know that there are so many people who really want to be there.
“So many people desire the Holy Eucharist, and it breaks my heart not to be able to provide for them. When I celebrate Mass, I pray for these people.”
Fr. Anthony encouraged families to pray and play together during this time at home. “Pray the rosary together as a family, but then afterwards, have waffles and ice cream and break out a favorite board game,” he said. “Just make sure to come back to Mass in person when this is all over, OK?”