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s2smodern

How should one celebrate Easter in these days? The churches are closed, the public services are cancelled, there are no more common celebrations. Out of protection against the virus, the life of the church has also come to a virtual standstill. Apparently. Father Lutz Müller SJ reports about his experience of celebrating an interactive service with his congregation despite Corona.

Alternatives to the normal service must be created. One such alternative is called: Worship service with ZOOM. Zoom is an app on the Internet that makes a lot possible. With its help I celebrated a church service on Palm Sunday, and it was worth it!

I'm not talking about a mass in the stream of the internet, where a priest with a lector and an altar girl celebrates a mass in a small circle, which you can watch without being involved. But I am talking about Zoom, where all the participants see and hear each other; where several participants who want to do so actively participate. It works like this:

Ludger Hillebrand SJ and I, Lutz Müller SJ, celebrate a Holy Mass in the community room of the Jesuits in Essen as already on Palm Sunday. In front of us stands the computer, with camera and microphone, which transmit everything. This is a live connection, nothing is recorded that could be looked at again later - as a preserve, so to speak. We have previously distributed the two readings to two participants and the Passion Story to three other participants by email. Five readers participate. All participants have their praise of God handy at home next to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

The intercessions are freely designed, there are no pre-formulated texts. At Zoom, everyone can join in and sing along. One of the two priests leads the ceremony and moderates the process on the screen. Everything is transmitted to all participants via camera on the PC using the 'Zoom' app. Of course, the two priests celebrate the Eucharist and only they can take part in the communion, but everyone is involved and can see what is happening first hand.

During the intercessions it becomes especially personal. "I really prayed," a participant later noted with tears. It is an intense experience, which is especially intensified by the fact that all participants see all participants face to face. With ZOOM every screen is shown. This way everyone sees everyone - so you see many more people face-to-face than in a church.

With experimental greetings from Essen,

Ludger Hillebrand SJ
P. Lutz Müller SJ
Bernd Wolharn (Cathedral Vicar in the Citypastoral Essen)

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