By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
Two lit candles anchor either side of an embroidered linen that covers the tabletop on which Margo Redlinger’s computer monitor sits. A small crucifix, a prayer booklet and a slip of paper containing the Spiritual Communion prayer lay on the cloth. A video image of Father Charles Fladung, elevating the body and blood of Christ, appears on the computer monitor. This is how Margo participates in daily Mass, virtually, at St. Mary Catholic Church in Solon.
In an email to the parish, she wrote, “Thought I would share with you how I convert the mess in front of my computer into a special space to partake in the daily Mass. I also have a bottle of holy water from Lourdes but it is not in the picture. I treasure it and use it sparingly. Thanks for making Mass available to us here at St. Mary. The familiarity is comforting.”
When the Solon parish began live streaming Mass, Margo decided to make it her Tuesday morning ritual. She previously attended daily Mass on Tuesdays at the church, before the coronavirus pandemic caused cancellation of public celebration of the Mass.
She created her special space “to set the stage” to participate in the online Mass. Now she participates Sunday through Thursday. Mass is live streamed at 8:30 a.m. on Sundays and 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
“It just helps me stay connected to our church community and to stay connected with Father,” she said. She appreciates seeing the comments that people post during the Mass, saying thank you and peace be with you at the sign of peace. “It gives you a connection. You ‘see’ the same people every day.”
On Palm Sunday, Margo typed “Good morning everyone” in the comment box and was delighted to see a comment from her granddaughter, Haleigh Ehmsen, who lives in Chicago. She typed, “Hi, Grandma,” Margo said. “I was so surprised. It was like she slipped into the pew next to me.”
Margo said she encouraged her granddaughter, who works during the week, to watch Mass later in the day when she can. “You don’t have to watch it live,” Margo said.
She looks forward to returning to Mass at the Solon church. “I think we’re going to come out on the other side appreciating what we didn’t know we had.”