On expressions of humanity in the crisis
Friday 20th March 2020
largest parish in Washington had to close 160 ministries and adapt and adopt new ways
Tom Roberts, Executive Director, National Catholic Reporter, USA writes in the NCR
Tom’s parish, St. Camillus in Silver Spring, is the largest parish in the Washington Archdiocese, and run by Franciscans, members of the Order of Friars Minor. About 80 countries are represented in the congregation, which is 57% Hispanic, 25% Euro/Anglo, 10% African and 4% Asian, according to the pastor, Fr. Chris Posch.
When the virus slammed the brakes on the world all but one of the parish's 160 ministries closed down. But on March 15, the parish livestreamed three Masses, one in English, another in Spanish and another in French and had over 5,000 viewers, which is the same amount of people that we get at weekend Masses. The pastor reported people liked the livestreamed Masses and want to feel connected to the parish and see a familiar face and hear a familiar voice.
Meanwhile, young people are volunteering to replace older volunteers at the food pantry and delivering meals on wheels. A restaurant owner has volunteered to deliver food to the housebound. Others are writing notes to people in hospitals who can no longer have visitors.