Comfort Amid a Pandemic

Video Mass in St. Joan of Arc Chapel

The first time we livestreamed Tuesday Night Mass from the St. Joan of Arc Chapel was a catastrophe. Using a tripod, an iPhone and my laptop, we went “live” on Facebook at 9:55 p.m. Who knew that 15th century chapels are not WiFi friendly?

The signal kept dropping, the phone’s microphone didn’t quite catch our voices, and the playlist wouldn’t play. Yet those who tuned in appreciated our efforts and encouraged us to keep trying. So we did.

When the pandemic forced us to close, there was a desire to find to find a way for our community to stay connected. What better way than Tuesday Night Mass where, for generations, students have gathered at the heart of Marquette’s campus to pray?

Candlelight Mass at St. Joan of Arc Chapel

Despite the hurdles we had to overcome, the Office of Mission and Ministry and Campus Ministry collaborated to ensure that our students would have a weekly taste of “Marquette Normal.” It was often arduous and frustrating: most of us have degrees in theology, not technology!

Nevertheless, we knew the students and alumni hungered to be connected, so we persevered. It wasn’t always pretty, it was never perfect, but we remained committed to offering our community a way of staying connected.

There is much about 2020 I would change. One thing I would not, however, is the pride I feel when I recall how faculty, administrators, and staff worked so hard to do something for Marquette.

Sunset over St. Joan of Arc Chapel

When our world seemed plunged into darkness, St. Joan of Arc’s lights pierced the night and proclaimed that our faith would sustain us. I consider it a great grace that our efforts consoled so many in such an uncertain time, but I’ll admit that I look forward to the day when we can gather once more to sing, to pray, and open our hearts to the Lord who calls our community into communion.