Sr. Ann Kane, CSJ
“Being Church Differently”
For the past year and a half, Sister Ann Kane has been serving as Pastoral Associate of the Church of St. Timothy in West Hartford. Less than a year into her ministry, the pandemic struck.
“We are doing church differently, being church differently,” she explains.
At first, Masses were canceled, then opened with occupancy restrictions, mask requirements and safe distancing during all liturgical events. Within a few weeks, she was back to planning liturgies and finding ways for those who felt comfortable coming to church, to do so safely.
St. Timothy’s followed the Archdiocesan protocols for how parishioners were to receive communion, reserve spaces for social distancing and contact tracing, refrain from singing, limit socializing. Despite all these measures, it was not long before gestures of extending peace, the smiling eyes behind the masks, the respect of keeping safe space all indicated that the spirit of Church was alive, yet different.
As the weeks went by, staff looked for ways to continue pastoral and spiritual programs that nourished parishioners and they found new ways to keep connected. Technology helped as many of those who did not come to St. Timothy’s found new appreciation for watching Mass live-streamed.
Other parts of Sister Ann’s ministry, the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), scripture study, Baptismal preparation, Liturgy Committee meetings, Parish Council, all moved to the Zoom platform. Parishioners found it encouraging to see unmasked faces and to keep connected.
Yet, there is a longing from St. Timothy’s parish to return to a worshiping community and, most especially, to receive the Eucharist.
“People are missing the community of church,” says Sister Ann, who presently is working with staff and lay ministers to begin planning for the Triduum, the holiest week of the year.
Recently, St. Timothy’s began the process of merging with St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, also in West Hartford. But that’s a story for another year!
In photo, Sr. Ann demonstrates to parishioners how to safely pull their mask down to accept communion.