Saskatoon

How one Saskatoon church is getting creative during the COVID-19 pandemic

Since they began, churches have been about personal connection, according to Father Darryl Millette. "Unfortunately, physically that can't happen anymore," Millette said. 

Livestreams and phone calls some of the ways Saskatoon priest staying connected to his parish

Holy Spirit church in Saskatoon. (Fr. Darryl Millette/Twitter)

Since they began, churches have been about personal connection, according to Father Darryl Millette. 

"Unfortunately, physically that can't happen anymore," Millette said on CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend

Millette is a priest at Holy Spirit church in Saskatoon. He knew he wanted to find a way to still be connecting with parishioners, so they've been testing out a livestream for Sunday's mass as well as streaming different prayer events. Millette said the communications director at the church has been hard at work emailing inspirational messages and prayers to parishioners, too. 

"We're basically doing the best we can, trying to make things as personal as we can," he said.

"There are about a half a dozen parishes so far that are gearing up to do it and we're moving along. Hopefully it'll work out, hopefully the tech glitches will be minimal. We'll see," he said with a laugh.

Millette said he wants to use the term physical isolation rather than social isolation because we're social creatures by nature and he wants to keep the social connection strong for however long his church remains closed. 

One thing that Millette is concerned about are the people who may not feel confident or capable of connecting with him and the church in the virtual world. Outreach has already begun by phone to see if there's anything they can do to help. 

"I can't claim that we've got it all figured out. We're kind of in uncharted territory as far as this goes but we're trying our best anyway," he said.

Millette said he gets the impression his parishioners are doing well out there, despite the stress. He has received texts from people checking in on him and he said he's trying to do the same.

"There's a real good spirit around this. I think people by and large, especially over the last week, have understood why we're doing this, which is great to see."

It's been an emotional time for Millette on a personal level, too. He said he very much wishes he could be in the church with the people he sees every Sunday. But one of the things bolstering him is simple: "We'll get through this together."

With files from Shauna Powers and CBC Radio's Saskatchewan Weekend

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