Despite Covid challenges, believers keep their faith

Campus ministry makes adjustments as pandemic continues

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Photo submitted

The legacy cross provides a reminder of the importance of faith on campus.

Dearbhla Delaney, Reporter

One of the many ways faith is expressed is through Mass, which calls belivers to come together to give thanks to God. Due to the coronavirus, the way that many access Mass has changed.

Before the coronavirus was a concern, Mass was a regular celebration at school. Many gathered to receive it daily and students participated in all-school Masses on days of obligation and other special events. That had all changed and virtual Mass became the new way of attending Mass. Assistant campus minister Mrs. Sara Bozzelli-Levine said, “We had to do what we could to be safe and still continue with our lives, our learning and our worship.”

When quarantine struck, last March, many relied on virtual Mass. Sophomore Sally Bradshaw, a server at her parish St. Joan of Arc, said, “I do think that not being able to attend Mass in person was a setback because it was very easy to not pay attention and slip things I ought to be doing.”

Bozzelli-Levine said, “Mass is an important part of the Cathedral culture.”

School Mass had to be adjusted in many ways. When students were in school throughout the majority of the first semester, Mass was celebrated twice a week each morning, with prayer services on the other school days. Masks were required as well as social distancing and a limit on the number of people because of the size of the chapel.

When students were not in school, there were no in-person Masses, but instead virtual Masses for important liturgical dates. Fr. Jeff Godecker usually celebrates the Masses, and if he is not available, another priest fills in.

When organizing virtual all-school Masses, the campus ministry helps with that process. They confirm a priest, location, videographer, editor, cantor, the music and readers. Sometimes it is recorded at the school’s chapel and sometimes at Our Lady of Fatima Retreat house. Mr. Tyler McClure ’08, the school’s multimedia specialist, is the videographer and editor. Choir teacher Mrs. Marian Bender is the music director and religion teacher Mr. Matt Cannaday is the cantor. Students usually participate to record readings and prayers of the faithful to send them in.

Going without the Eucharist, the summit of our faith, has made me revisit how special it is to me.”

— Mrs. Cece Kasberg '83

Since Mass has been virtual, the Eucharist was being received virtually. Religion teacher Mrs. Cece Kasberg ’83 said, “Going without the Eucharist, the summit of our faith, has made me revisit how special it is to me.”

Bradshaw described receiving the spiritual communion as being more like a prayer than a sacrament.

Bozzelli-Levine said, “I miss joining my voice in prayer with people and actually receiving the Holy Eucharist.”

With many challenges throughout the past few months, faith has been a safe haven for many. Bozzelli-Levine lost her sister-in-law, so her family turned towards prayer. She said, “When my sister-in-law died, we were isolated as a family, but I felt we were united in prayer.” Bozzelli-Levine had described that she had never felt so drawn to God before and that faith was her lifesaver. It kept her going.

Kasberg said, “When times are tough – and they have been – we should dig deep and truly rely on our faith. I think the key word here is family. I get a sense of we are all in this together.”

Bozzelli-Levine had explained how events happen in families, joyful, happy, fun, sad, painful, victorious and unimaginable. All of it is real life. Bozzelli-Levine said, “The family that prays together, stays together. And I will take that away with 2020.”

Kasberg said, “Cathedral, because of her people, always responds above and beyond taking care of each other.”