Neither here nor there – in a good way? Mission and young people in a post-Covid Church

Káren North, Programme Director of the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, looks at recent research on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Catholic participation and finds ground for hope.

The Covid-19 outbreak and the public health responses to it have changed our world. Still only six months in, daily life has changed so significantly that it is getting hard to imagine how things were before now – when social spaces were all open, public transport was safer than the car, coffee shops were full, and concerts had audiences as well as musicians.

The daily challenges of this ‘new normal’ are difficult enough, but as we are painfully aware, Covid-19 has also impacted profoundly on spiritual as well as temporal realities. The term ‘practising Catholic’ is suddenly up for review as attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days has gone from being physically forbidden and virtually encouraged to something that is now possible but restricted in an eerie masquerade where nobody sings.

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