How religious leaders are adapting to keep the faith as coronavirus cancels mass gatherings

first_imgiStock(NEW YORK) — As people around the world adjust their daily routines in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the new limits on social gatherings have impacted a societal norm that might have once seemed unwavering and untouchable: religious services.Faith leaders across the United States are now tasked with keeping their congregations connected and involved amid what can feel like a trying test of faith.“It’s a time of uncertainty and fear and people feel that it’s an opportunity to realize that God does not abandon us in these times, he walks with us,” Archbishop Aymond said.Walid said in addition to staying away from large gatherings, he recommends people do their best to quell their anxiety by reflecting with family and take breaks from consuming news.“People should take proper precautions, but don’t fall into despair,” Walid said. “We look at these times as a test that comes from God, and with proper precautions and patience, we can get out of this.”“Here’s what I recommend: Don’t fall into anxiety over watching too much news, rather do things with family and try to relax,” he continued. “Do things to take your mind off the crisis and get you back into life. You can get overwhelmed by too much information and fear.”Although Ain’s role has changed as she faces this new challenge, she said that overcoming strife is not new to the Jewish community.“Now, more than ever, I’m trying to keep people physically safe and spiritually connected. In Jewish history, there have been times of strife and trouble, so this isn’t new,” she said. “We adapt, as we have for thousands of years.”The key difference now, she said, is the availability of technology. With live streaming, she said she now holds twice daily services, and that people have been logging in not just from inside the U.S. but from countries like Canada, Israel and Uganda as well.“I now livestream Shabbat every Friday evening and Saturday morning,” Ain said. “My membership also started a phone tree and outreach program to make sure we are checking in on the elderly and the needy.”Our God is near and asks us to be near to one another. Perhaps right now we cannot draw near physically to others for fear of contagion, but we can reawaken in ourselves a habit of drawing near to others through prayer and mutual help. #HomilySantaMartaWhen it comes to the Catholic community, Aymond said he also uses live streams to circumvent the restrictions on mass gatherings during this Lenten season.“We are live streaming masses online and on television. I’m writing spiritual pieces on social media,” Aymond said. “I want to remind people to not only get what they can from the TV and the Internet, but also the Bible. We can seek out those traditional resources, too.”All three religions have major holidays rapidly approaching — Easter, Passover and Ramadan all begin in the coming weeks — and each leader offered advice to their followers who might feel lost while observing this year.Walid said that Ramadan, which begins April 23 and ends May 23, is a particular “concern.”“Because we have nightly prayers together and daily classes on the Quran at mosque. It’s the one time of the year that Muslims who never come to mosque during the year, show up,” he explained.“Folks need to remember that you can stay connected as a community even if you can’t do it in person. I’ve seen families organizing Zoom calls for kids and other communities,” Walid reiterated.Ain said she has seen changes when it comes to other major Jewish events, such as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.“Some are holding very small gatherings, while other families are choosing to change their dates,” she said. “And I’ve seen caterers still offering kosher meals for takeout for those who need them.”Aymond said there may not be an immediate lesson that folks can leearn from this challenging moment, but he said that ultimately, it’s time to “trust in your faith.”“I think what we do know is that in times like these, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re rich or poor, what your ideology is or even your political party,” he said, “it affects everyone.”“But it also brings us together and it can certainly increase our trust. Real faith is when you walk by trust and not by sight. If we saw everything, it wouldn’t be faith,” he added. “So trust in your faith.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Read More »

Police Seeks Witnesses To Unprovoked Attack On 65 Year Old Man In Annan

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInPolice Scotland is seeking witnesses to an assault which took place on the Newbie footpath in Annan, between the Millennium Bridge and the Annan Road Bridge on Sunday 18 June 2017. Sometime between 1530 hours and 1545 hours on Sunday, a 65 year old man from Newbie was walking on the path when he was assaulted in what appears to be an unprovoked attack by another man. The victim was knocked to the ground and suffered an eye injury as a result. The assailant is described as being a male in his 20s, about 6′ tall, short hair and was wearing a grey t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms and trainers. Constable Victoria Urwin at Annan said “this appears to have been a totally unprovoked attack on a man making his way along the path. We are keen to trace another man who helped the victim to his feet after the attack. He is described as being in his 30s and wore glasses and a blue t-shirt. Anyone who can help us catch the man responsible for this attack is asked to call police at Annan on the 101 number.last_img read more

Read More »

Class of 2017 takes center stage

first_img Share By MARINA WISESpecial to the PRESSThis was finally the day that more than a hundred Port Isabel seniors had been eagerly awaiting for over a decade: Graduation Day.The ceremony took place at the South Padre Island Convention Centre, which was draped in blue and white decor in honor of the Tarpon graduates. A massive wave of parents, friends, relatives and other loved ones flooded into the presentation room within the hour before the ceremony. By the time the graduates took their seats, the room was packed with supporters.“It felt so awesome. It gave me so much joy seeing my family going crazy when my name was called,” senior Ricky Gonzalez said. “The feeling was great, I loved it.”After all the seniors and administrators took their seats, Port Isabel High School Principal Dr. William Roach introduced the salutatorian, Brisia Gonzalez, and valedictorian, Simone Harry, and invited them to the stage one after the other to deliver their commencement addresses. Both girls gave speeches that drew some emotional reactions from their classmates.Want the whole story? Pick up a copy of the Port Isabel-South Padre Press, or subscribe to our E-Edition by clicking here. RelatedGonzalez a Spark Plug for Lady TarponsBy LARRY GAGE Special to the PRESS Sabrina Gonzalez may be the shortest player on the court in any game Port Isabel plays this year. She’s a spark plug, though, on offense and defense, and she took time out from practice this week to talk with the Press about what…November 7, 2019In “News”Powderpuff: Juniors Win, Take Down Seniors, 18-8!By LARRY GAGE Special to the PRESS It was a beautiful spring evening for a football game and the Lady Tarpon players of the junior class of Port Isabel High took full advantage, coming from behind to defeat the Class of 2015 team, 18-8, in the third annual Powderpuff Football…May 22, 2015In “News”Graduation set for PIHS’ Class of 2020By Gaige Davila & David Lopez [email protected] [email protected] After a seemingly-endless period of will-it-or-won’t-it happen, Port Isabel High School’s Class of 2020 will graduate in an in-person ceremony. The graduation will be held at Tarpon Stadium on June 4 at 7:00 p.m. Details on how Point Isabel Independent School District…May 15, 2020In “News”last_img read more

Read More »