By: Kelliaine Villalva and Georgia Witcofski
COVID-19 has impacted the ability to have all school Masses at Mercy High School. The hybrid schedule does not allow full attendance, so all school masses have been placed on hold. This comes as no surprise as most of us have been attending mass virtually, if at all, during this pandemic.
When discussing mass attendance with Mercy’s Athletic Director and alum Ms. Kowal, she stated, “We would have been at mass several times and we’ve already missed two holy days.” The loss of celebrating together keeps us praying and hoping for a change to come. Freshmen and sophomores were able to attend the first group mass on Tuesday, January 12. It’s hard to believe the first school mass occurred in January, sixth months after school started. Although students and staff followed social distance protocols, unity was felt.
Masses at Mercy have been a long standing tradition. Every Mercy girl has had an opportunity to celebrate the Holy Eucharist with her sisters in Christ. This has been a grace and an incredible gift. Ms. Kowal agrees with this as well, saying, “Any time you go to mass you’re building community and that’s the most life giving peace of mass for me.” Planning a mass also takes a team effort. One of the hardest parts about planning mass is finding a priest. As a school we must continue to pray and find unique ways to build community especially under these circumstances.
Living out our Catholic faith is an integral part of life at Mercy. A life of faith isn’t always easy. It takes community. When speaking about building faith life with Ms. Kowal described the mass as being of great benefit. She explained that being in community at mass is intentional and powerful. Knowing all of this, Mercy girls look forward to celebrating the Eucharist.
Throughout the years the different classes at Mercy have recognized the importance of all school masses. In the early years, the chapel was the original convent chapel. It was very small and it could not hold the entire population of students and staff. Ms. Kowal remembers her masses at Mercy being held in Franey Hall and the gymnasium. The administration recognized the need for a sacred place, and the chapel was renovated.
The chapel is a safe place to rest, pray and reflect during the school day. During this time of separation, the celebration of mass was a special occasion for all.