Will we miss watching live-streamed Masses? (Anyone else feeling uneasy about the return to normal?)
  • Last year, French writer Michel Houellebecq said that the post-pandemic world would be the same “but a bit worse,” meaning that we will continue on a downward path toward isolation and diminished human contact.

    Being an introvert by nature who profits from solitude, I confess to having thrived during the pandemic and have very mixed feelings about a return to “normalcy.” While my more socially engaged wife has had moments of desperation, I’ve been productive, learned and relearned a stack of piano masterpieces, averaged about two watercolor paintings a week, managed to get through three years of Fluenz French, read and reread treasured books, and what’s more, haven’t yelled at my grandchildren once!

    More importantly, I’ve settled into a beneficial spiritual routine of Sunday morning live-streamed Mass from St. John Cantius in Chicago plus in-house vespers with my wife every evening. But now that my state has lifted many of its covid 19 restrictions, I find myself reluctant to break away from these newfound habits.

    Being retired and thus free from unpleasant compromises church musicians inevitably endure in order to survive, my experience of course differs from those who have continued to struggle as working musicians during the pandemic. I certainly sympathize with your yearning to return to singing, regular rehearsals, not to mention full sacramental life. But now that covid restrictions are being lifted, how many of you dread reconnecting with a local liturgical practice that does more to diminish spiritual health than enrich it? Will it feel the same, or just a bit worse?
  • Kathy
    Posts: 5,323
    There are many ways to engage in the social life. One is to become immersed in art and liturgy. There we meet people on a deeper level than is often experienced in the give and take of daily social life, and just as ascetic, though in a different way.

    It's one ascetical practice to make constant minute adjustments to others' moods, conversations, and expectations (and then reflect on those encounters, and resolve to meet others' needs better next time).

    It's another ascetical practice to enter into masterworks of art or prayer without distraction and subject oneself to the deepest expressions of other minds.

    Aristotle said that for the contemplative, the social life provides relief from solitary pursuit of truth, only to spur one back more deeply into the contemplative life.

    One way I think about this is the once-a-week walk that Carthusians make, which includes their only conversations.
  • Don9of11Don9of11
    Posts: 464
    I'm actually looking forward to a return to "normalcy." I miss singing in the choir. I hope we don't have to wait until school starts up in the fall to return to choir rehearsals. I think it's important to take the lessons learned during the pandemic and make sure we don't forget them.

    I have concerns about allowing the hand shake of peace and drinking from the chalice back into the liturgy. I was never really in favor of these actions. When I was growing up there was no hand shake of peace, and the only time I seen anyone drink from the chalice other than the priest was at a wedding and then it was bride and groom only. But that's just my opinion.

    I also miss my family get togethers, this past Christmas and Easter were especially difficult, perhaps we will have a Christmas in July!
    Thanked by 2CharlesW CCooze
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,014
    Being retired is...wonderful! Not being Latin, I have no Sunday obligation but can still do Vespers, Liturgy, or a Reader's Service. That allows choosing the one with the fewest number of people and least amount of hassle.

    What I don't miss? The aging soprano who should have quit singing years ago.

    The former music director who can no longer conduct, sing, or do much of anything else except meddle in things not done "her" way.

    The director wannabe who is opportunistic and looking for any way to aggrandize herself and inflict her tastes on everyone else.

    The pastor who can't remember where he tinkled last and whose overblown sermons could be a punishment in Purgatory.

    The choir guy who could never sing, has no noticeable talent, and wants to run everything.

    Being able to care not a whit about what any of them think is a genuine delight.

    But most of all, I miss the delightful parish ladies who were masters of the art of cookie baking and were a genuine pleasure to be around. Also, the choir members who had no motives other than sing for God's glory. They helped make the dark side of Catholic music worth it. There are always the good among the bad and I was genuinely grateful for their presence.

    Don9of11: Yes, I know about all the family occasions I had to miss since Christmas and Easter were always booked so heavily I couldn't get away. I came to view church music as a work task, not worship, in my last years there.
    Thanked by 1Don9of11
  • toddevoss
    Posts: 142
    I didn't realize how much I missed being physically at Mass until I returned after I was vaccinated. I am in NYC and I streamed my Parish masses but occasionally substituted St. John Cantius myself (always go there when visiting Chicago). St. John Cantius also streams Vespers so I may add that on a periodic basis.
  • M. Jackson Osborn
    Posts: 7,938
    Is this really a return to normal? Or is their a new normal? After most cataclysmic events in human history, war, famine, civil unrest, and on and on, what was normal has left its mark and a new normal has emerged bearing the scars of those events. It is said that masks, social distancing, and such measures should be practiced for some time to come - even another year or so. Hearing the counsel of Dr Fauci and others, it would seem rather imprudent to think that all is well and we can with abandon return to our normal lives. What lesson have we learnt from this pandemic (for which we have the Chinese communist party to thank). Will we be prepared for another such plague? While we timidly 'return to normal' it is certain that many will continue to be infected, and some will die as we return to normal as if nothing had happened and we learnt nothing. While we party a Trojan horse may well be sitting in our midst. At least we are not where we were a year ago.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,273
    I know that many of my peers living in the urban/suburban northeast of the US will retain their masks to wear to reduce risk of colds and flu in the future peak seasons for that, and also for poorly ventilated indoor spaced where folks remain relatively stationery in close quarters with others for a prolonged period of time - as has been common in eastern Asia for many years well before this. They've also help mitigate tree pollen intake, as it were.

    I am very happy that I am in the process of retiring from commuting and office work.
  • My original inquiry centered on whether there were others who found remote worship actually more satisfying than what they experience locally. The praise Mass held two blocks from my house will continue in its full glory, but I wonder if St. John Cantius, despite their increase in out-of-town donations, will continue to live-stream indefinitely. Should they? Should I want them to?

    Knowing several people who haven't had so much as a sniffle in over a year, I suspect many will continue to wear masks in crowded surroundings and keep hand sanitizers handy. As one with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, you bet I will. I've already decided to forego the sign of peace.
    Thanked by 2Liam toddevoss
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,273
    I've was very happy to return to the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston when it reopened after the two-month lockdown last spring; Mass on television was not particularly anything.

    I suspended attendance during the mid-December to mid-February period, and during that time I was content to attend the music-free early Sunday AM Mass locally. And, compulsory handshakes went the way of the dodo bird in my local area parishes (we're New Englanders, after all, God's Frozen People...) after the 2009 H1N1 epidemic and I expect that will become even more widely the case in other regions in the coming months. I prefer the modest bow of the head to the handwave....
    Thanked by 1Randolph Nichols
  • francisfrancis
    Posts: 9,308
    Reality is normal, Virtual is not.

    You are not “receiving a sacrament” nor can you, through a phone or a computer.

    On an aside, this is why the simulacrum and other “fakes” that we introduce into our lives parallels this “false reality” and perpetuates and fosters a “non-incarnational” / “new normal”, anti-human and anti-Christian, and ultimately an Ant-Christ world view.

    It amazes me that people will bring a fake piano into their home and expect a child to take it as a “real” instrument. I don’t think a serious musician will arise from many of those situations.

    So, don’t be fooled by watching a stream on a screen... pull the plug and the real reality will be staring you in the face.

    https://youtu.be/5jBkoEM0SSE

    Here’s a good article on the same level:

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2021/the-hidden-threat-to-catholicism

    It's electric!
    You can't see it (it's electric!)
    You gotta feel it (it's electric!)
    Ooh, it's shakin' (it's electric!)
    Jiggle-a-mesa-cara
    She's a pumpin' like a matic
    She's a movin' like electric
    She sure got the boogie

    You gotta know it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie!)
    Now you can't hold it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie!)
    But you know it there,
    Here, there and everywhere

    I've got to move,
    I'm going on a party ride
    I've got to groove, groove, groove,
    And from this music
    I just can't hide

    Are you comin' with me?
    Come let me take you on a party ride
    And I'll teach you, teach you, teach you
    I'll teach you the electric slide

    Some say it's mystic
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    You can't resist it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    You can't do without it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    Jiggle-a-mesa-cara she's a pumpin' like a matic
    She's movin' like electric
    She sure got the boogie

    Don't want to lose it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    But you can't choose it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    But you know it's there,
    Here, there and everywhere

    I've got to move,
    Come let me take you on a party ride
    And I'll teach you, teach you, teach you
    I'll teach you the electric slide

    (Boogie woogie, woogie)

    You can't see it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    You gotta feel it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    Ooh, it's shakin'
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie)
    Jiggle-a-mesa-cara she's a pumpin' like a matic
    She's movin' like electric
    She sure got the boogie

    You gotta know it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie!)
    Now you can't hold it
    (It's electric
    Boogie woogie, woogie!)
    But you know it's there,
    Here, there and everywhere
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,273
    I doubt that Randolph is in need of such particular instruction, though I acknowledge others may benefit from it. My shorthand version is "Live is not the same as Memorex", a handle I developed to explain US mutual fund advertising regulation but found applicable in many other contexts, including liturgical. For the same reason, I am not a fan of any liturgy where people's participation is mediated through a screen - be it a papal mega-Mass or overflow provisions for parish Masses at Easter and Christmas (have a separate Mass for the overflow area on a time-lag - that's a much better resolution of the issue.)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,273
    Btw, the program for Pentecost Sunday at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross (which will also be streamed on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/rcabcathedral/); Cardinal Sean will be the principal celebrant) may be found here:

    http://holycrossboston.com/wp-content/uploads/PENTECOST2021HC.pdf

    This will be the first time the choir has returned in full to the liturgy since last year. This is the last weekend of the mask mandate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; next Saturday, the risk burdens will be reversed as universal masking is not longer mandatory.

    Thanked by 2Kathy toddevoss
  • CatherineS
    Posts: 599
    I really enjoyed rediscovering how to make time for reading, study, art and so on. As things re-opened it's been more difficult to maintain those things (there are more social activities clamoring for attention). One of the biggest changes for me recently is that several parishes have returned to permitting reception of Communion on the tongue. I don't think it was ever specifically banned on the diocesan level: one could receive on the tongue at the TLM and at a couple of conservative confraternity chapels, but most parish priests mandated it in their own parishes. This means I can return to going to Mass more than once or twice a week, which has been a huge joy. I really love ending the day with a quick trip to a local parish for one of those late evening 30 minute Masses. It just resets the mind and heart, and seems a lovely way to give thanks. Singing was not forbidden here, and except for a brief spate in 2020 churches have not been closed, so those things haven't changed much. The main thing that got shut down with a heavy hand was malls, restaurants, bars, and parks, so the biggest change in my time-spent was leisure/social time, rather than religious. The continued '2 meter spacing' in churches is a pleasure which I wouldn't mind keeping, as it prevents people chattering and you don't have to touch anyone. And the extra efforts in cleaning are also nice, as churches were often quite dirty, us being in a busy city. The bathrooms are extra clean now, too. And I enjoy using the mask in indoor spaces for the sense of privacy it gives. If you do a veil, mask and sunglasses you can have total privacy while you pray. Or hide your zits or puffy eyes from the other ladies. ;)
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Don9of11
  • TCJ
    Posts: 741
    While I do enjoy being away from people for the most part, I actually found myself searching for more activities to do during the past year than I normally would. That's probably the rebellious me doing the opposite of what the government tells me more than a need for socialization.

    As far as returning to normal -- assuming it really does -- I'd appreciate it. However, I don't think there will be a return. The craziness will continue and it will get worse over time.
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • dad29
    Posts: 2,003
    In this Archdiocese, all 'distancing' rules have been taken down. At the mid-morning Mass in my parish, we were about 2/3rds capacity and virtually zero masks. However, the choirs have not returned, leaving the music minister-ette to endlessly repeat hymn accompaniment so as to 'cover' Communion.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,536
    The topic of this thread is how people feel about moving to a more relaxed and normal way of carrying out the life of the Church, and whether they will miss the Masses they watched on-line.

    The topic of this thread is not the effectiveness of lockdowns, masks, vaccines, etc.

    I am deleting off-topic comments.
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 2,516
    We are in the fortunate position of an island, imposing quarantine on arriving travellers, and with no cases since 1st May not already quarantined. So we are pretty relaxed. No chalice sharing, and no peace touching, but communal singing and less than 1% masked. I have not ventured on public transport, or into a pub/bar. I was viewing online Mass every day, but am now attending Mass in person almost every day (23 years retired). The music is much better online, but the music is not why I go to Mass. Viewing Mass (or the Office) online is easier for me currently than solitary prayer, I have felt differently in the past.
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,014
    Actually, I watched very few of the online masses. Consequently, I won't miss them terribly much. I still have not gotten the vaccine, so I won't return to live worship until at least then. Wonder what the next plague will be? Will this be like scripture where there are nine more to go? Moses, where are you when we need you? :-)
  • Carol
    Posts: 673
    I found "going to" Mass online made me very sad. I still watched, but it didn't feel like Mass. I watched out of a sense of "Sunday Obligation" and also curiosity about the choices and execution of the music. The plus side was that when it was possible to begin to attend Mass again, I was grateful for the opportunity. The online capability came late to our parish, but I was also grateful for that as 2 of my brothers who could not travel home were able to view my mother's funeral Mass and it brought them some comfort.

    CharlesW I pray that you are not correct about there being more plagues. The cicadas are coming, though....
    Thanked by 1CharlesW
  • OraLabora
    Posts: 187
    I never watch on-line Masses. They just make no sense to me. I can't even watch a YouTube of a full Mass. Just snippets if trying to master a chant. Why go to the restaurant to just watch others eat? The Real Presence only makes sense to me when, well, present!

    That said I am a bit of a loner and like solitude as well. Isolation though, I'm not so keen on. A real tough time was last fall when my wife had to to BC for 3 months for a family emergency. I was nearly completely isolated. I hadn't been to Mass since March 2020 when the abbot of my abbey (I'm an oblate) invited me for Ascension Mass (on the proper Thursday!) as it was also the 60th anniversary of profession of my spiritual director. It was quite an emotional experience. I returned yesterday for the funeral of a monk. I have my first vaccine dose, waiting for the second.

    Liturgically and faith-wise I survived with the Divine Office, monastic flavour (Schema B as at our abbey). I am pretty regular about it, just a period when my wife was away that I descended somewhat into tenebrae over the family issue that sent my wife West. I'm still in a period of deep doubts and I'm not sure I welcome going back to Mass every Sunday.

    Ora
    Thanked by 2Carol CharlesW
  • Even though I was fortunate enough to do music for livestreamed masses at my church last spring, I still pulled up the livestream from others out of curiosity for what sort of music they did.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • bhcordovabhcordova
    Posts: 944
    Since I've had both shots, I'm enjoying being back a Mass. The livestream just doesn't do it for me. Nowhere near the same.
    Thanked by 2CharlesW Carol
  • stulte
    Posts: 287
    I won't miss them...not that I watched them much to begin with. There's a certain irony in all this that, for many years, those who wished to attend the traditional Mass were criticized as being mere spectators at Mass and not really participating compared to those attending the Novus Ordo until these restrictions were put into place and everyone was told to watch Mass on a screen...

    Community is necessary in this life. For the vast majority of Catholics, the normal community in which to live is the parish. Given that some people on this thread are still reluctant to fully return to normal parish life, I can only imagine what the average Joe thinks.

    Thanked by 1afries52
  • Chrism
    Posts: 773
    I really enjoyed watching all the livestream Masses that popped up after the pandemic started. Some of the Masses had been around for a while, but everyone was linking to them, so I was discovering many for the first time. Others, like the Papal Mass - was it 1am every morning - were new. It seemed there was Mass at every hour and half-hour and quarter-hour, twenty-four hours a day. I got to see old friends say Mass who have since been ordained, and whose Masses were inconvenient until now. And yes, some great liturgies, the best from around the world. The few places that had High Mass during the lockdowns were greatly consoling, perhaps even moreso because even though the cameramen did their best to hide the choir from the cameras.

    But all of this paled in comparison to the utter joy of seeing the actual Host consecrated right in front of me, and receiving the actual Host into my poor, sinful body, or hearing the words of absolution from the priest pronounced over my poor head. I don't think anything can really describe it.
  • Carol
    Posts: 673
    The idea that Mass is being celebrated 24/7 really brings home:

    "May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen."
    Thanked by 3WGS Chrism sdtalley3
  • tomjaw
    Posts: 2,058
    We celebrated the Vigil of Pentecost (EF with Prophecies, Litany and Blessing of holy water) in the morning. After we got home we also watched parts of the live stream from Paris in the afternoon, and Ramsgate in the evening. It can be interesting to compare the music and ceremonies, and my children after our 2 ½ hour service were happy to watch the live stream from Paris.
    Thanked by 2CHGiffen Carol
  • GambaGamba
    Posts: 324
    I think I have watched 1 or 2 or 3 live-streamed Masses since the pandemic, one of which was the Easter Vigil at which a friend in a distant place was confirmed. I lost my job at the very beginning of the pandemic, and took a new one in August, so I was on the bench for most of it. When not, we read Morning Prayer of the Sunday from the LOTH at home, and (as possible with a baby) sang the propers. I did often listen to the homilies from priests I feel preach well, but really what’s special to me (beyond the Eucharist) about Westminster Cathedral or any other such place of pilgrimage is the choirs. Those were out of action due to the pandemic, so I did not feel particularly attracted to their livestreams any more than an ordinary parish with a cantor and organ. Neither could bring Jesus into my house. So it seemed more fruitful to gather two or three together and pray the liturgical prayer appropriate and accessible to us in the lay state.

    My parish is going to continue to stream in perpetuity. By now we have all the equipment, staff, and knowledge necessary to do it really well, and the reality is that the generation of folks now heading off to senior facilities have lived in the internet age for the last 25 years and know how to work an iPad by now. So they, along with any parishioner who happens to be home sick on Sunday, anyone immunocompromised, anyone stuck in an airport or hospital, can stay connected.
  • toddevoss
    Posts: 142
    One more from me: Our parish had livestreamed before Covid for a number of seniors and shut ins So it will continue. Another thought is that live streaming enabled people to "shop" around a bit and see very well done traditional liturgy - AKA St. John Cantius in Chicago. So the expectations/aspirations of folks in the pew for their parishes may have been raised to a new bar - perhaps they will even feel strongly enough to make a few "suggestions". "Father - can we start to do our Ordinary Form English mass a bit more like St. John Cantius does?"