By Fr. Alex Radulescu – Sunday evening I had the pleasure to participate in the GOYA video conference called “Night with God” along with our bishop, Metropolitan Nicholas, Fr. Nick and a few other priests from the neighboring parishes. This teleconference seems to be well attended and popular, especially during this time, and I hope it will become more permanent, even after the pandemic is over.
Among the questions raised by one of the GOYAns was this one: How to pray online? Do you kneel, do you bow in front of the computer, do you sit, what do you do? I thought that many of us also wonder as to what is the best way to approach this new “tele-prayer” style.
Fortunately, for many of our churches there is the possibility of watching their services online, via webcam. We have one at St. Nicholas, too (one of the first in our archdiocese). It was meant for those who live far away or are not able to attend the liturgical life of the church on a regular basis. These days, it is literally “the liturgical eye” of the parish.
So, let’s go back to the question of how to pray while watching the service on the internet.
First of all, one of the main purposes of having a webcam, in my humble opinion, is to allow the faithful to pray together, in the same time. When we pray together, and this is valid wherever we are, we are stronger. The Lord said: “where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them”(Matthew 18:20).
So, if we look at this aspect, then we realize that we should act home just as if we were in church:
The bottom line is that we are praying, not watching a show or a movie. Also, and I know people who have children have difficulty avoiding this, the “webcam service” is not background noise while kids do other activities. I know this sounds a little harsh, but with proper explanation and maybe allow for breaks for smaller children, we can create an attitude of prayer, even if we are in our familiar home environment.
Dear friends, we all miss each other. We, the clergy really struggle with the visual of empty pews behind us. You miss your fellow parishioners, friends, relatives as well. Let us make the best of the tools God helped us invent: tv, computers, live streaming, etc. and come together as a community in prayer. And yes, your private prayers are important too. But when we get together, even if from behind a laptop or tablet screen, we become a stronger voice offering a more fervent prayer. Let us stay together in prayer as a family should. Amen.
God bless us all!