It takes a virtual village

During this pandemic, most of us at some point have joined an online meeting or “Zoom”.  The term Zoom is now part of our everyday vocabulary.  The first of many celebrations in our churches with smaller numbers, and guests dialing in via Zoom took place when Rebecca Martin and Bryan Over celebrated the Sacrament of Marriage at Our Lady of Victories Basilica in 2020.  Fourteen months later, Rebecca reflects on how life goes on during lockdown.

 

On 4 July 2020, we were married by one very kind Father Brendan Reed.  It was just two days before Melbourne’s longest ever lockdown and a moratorium on all weddings – we couldn’t believe our luck on the timing!  (Read Getting Married during a Global Pandemic on the Parish Blog).  Fast forward a few months and we were attending Mass online, lamenting over whether we’d ever get out of lockdown and beginning to think ‘this surely must be what purgatory would be like!’  But change was on its way.

The lockdown would lift, things began to open up again and we were able to attend church in person.  We were bouncing around CBD churches on the weekend, wherever we could book a seat for Sunday Mass, meeting people right across the parish.  It really helped restore a sense of community after lockdown and life felt full.  But the best change of all was yet to come, we were going to become parents!

Eventually, I hit my third trimester, and my rapidly growing belly and changing hormones led to sleepless nights.  I was working long hours readying the company for my maternity leave; weeknights and Saturdays evaporated looking for a home to buy as an urge to nest consumed me and it became increasingly difficult to do up my shoes!  I found myself struggling to make Sunday morning Mass and before we ever felt prepared Henry was born.

   

I don’t think I picked up the phone for a couple of weeks after Henry’s birth; I’d look down at him for hours in terrified wonderment and weep tears of joy and disbelief at such an incredible gift from God.  I was in awe of this little miracle, yet despite feelings of elation, I had this nagging sense of anxiousness in my periphery…. something was missing.

We once again found ourselves in lockdown, only this time we were grappling with first-time parenthood, alone.  The isolation has been difficult but with the return of online Mass, I found some solace.  I wasn’t too pregnant or morning sick to make online Mass; it didn’t matter that I was tired, covered in baby sick, or worried Henry might drown out the sermon when announcing he was ready to be fed.  Suddenly that anxious feeling in my periphery was gone and I realised what I’d been missing.  I had been missing Mass, I had been missing community.

   

Now we dedicate at least an hour each week to Mass, sometimes it’s Sunday, sometimes Saturday, and if I’m being completely honest, sometimes a random weekday.  Only now we have a sense of sharing it with the whole congregation.  When we watch, we imagine previous Masses sitting outdoors next to other parishioners, on a sunny Sunday morning on the tennis courts at OLGC, or the seats filled again at OLV and the magnificent organ playing.  In those moments we don’t feel as isolated and I remind myself not to take for granted those potentially fleeting, real-life opportunities to commune together.  This past year has taught me that church is so much more than spiritual guidance, it is a connection to, and an opportunity to be part of, community.

We hope Henry will have the same sense of comfort in faith, God and community as we’ve come to know through our attendance at Camberwell. Balwyn Deepdene, Surrey Hills Wattle Park Parishes and we look forward to having him baptised into the beautiful community that has made a place of worship so much more than that.  It is a place of welcome.

By Rebecca Martin

 

Image:  Rebecca Martin, Bryan Over and Henry

Sacramental Life Worship

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Sandra Spurio

Beautiful story and photos. Congratulations!

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