Church to go digital for isolated faithful

Shannon VerhagenSouth Western Times
Catholic Diocese of Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan is exploring options to provide support and faith online or over the phone after St Patrick's Cathedral was forced to close on Monday.
Camera IconCatholic Diocese of Bunbury Bishop Gerard Holohan is exploring options to provide support and faith online or over the phone after St Patrick's Cathedral was forced to close on Monday. Credit: Shannon Verhagen

With the world rapidly changing in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, a more than 2000 year-old institution is turning to the digital realm to bring faith to those in isolation.

It comes after the Federal Government enforced an array of closures from midday Monday, including indoor places of worship.

For Bunbury’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, which stands tall atop a hill in the city’s CBD, that meant its doors were closed indefinitely to the 700 or so members of the diocese.

Bishop Gerard Holohan, pictured, said online and telephone options were being explored as a way to keep people connected to the church now that services and other gatherings were no more.

“We’ll continue to support people in a different way than the usual,” he said.

“I’m completely supportive of the efforts to protect the community.”

With many facing financial stress, job losses and more as closures are enforced and the community is urged to self-isolate, Bishop Holohan believed the challenges people were facing would emphasise the importance of and need for community values. He said this would be a time for people to reflect on what was important in their lives.

“I think it’s a good idea that people think about what their lives are about, their purpose, what’s important and especially their relationships,” Bishop Holohan said. “And maybe post-pandemic we’ll be a society where people feel less lonely.”

Looking ahead, Bishop Holohan said he was hopeful and confident the world come out OK on the other side of the pandemic, quoting the long-standing biblical message, “God will bring out good in all evil.”

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