Everyone in? The homeless, the Church and the pandemic

Dominic Robinson SJ, a priest in central London, describes how his parish, together with other organisations, responded to help the homeless during lockdown.

Palm Sunday 2020. Normally for the Christian community a day of processions often in beautiful early spring sunshine, and with the joyous expectation of Holy Week. A day when our church would normally be full and we would be looking forward to the busiest week of the year. Not so in 2020. Churches under lockdown, the streets deserted, and a sombre eerie feel of anxiety about what was to come. The start of the lockdown was, to say the least, such an unsettling time for our parishes. Priests with no people to meet, greet, serve. Parish communities scattered and finding a way to live out eucharistic faith at a time of communal fast. Like the first Christians after the first Easter Sunday locked in behind closed doors, finding ways to share their faith, pray together, and be a community of believers in a new way. The source and summit of that faith for us, the Mass, was celebrated together by clergy and faithful but with the barrier of a movie camera between us, even most poignantly and painfully on those days of the Easter Triduum when the entire parish community should be gathered as one.

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