Skip to comments.Catholic priest blesses, encourages Chattanooga's faithful at their homes during coronavirus pandemic
Posted on 04/10/2020 6:44:29 PM PDT by Mrs. Don-o
Staff photo by Wyatt Massey
The Very Reverend J. David Carter, far right, of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul holds a monstrance to bless a family on April 8 while Fr. Valentin Iurochkin shakes incense from a thurible. The priests made home visits the past week to bring encouragement to families who could not attend in-person worship services because of COVID-19 concerns.
In an effort to encourage Chattanooga's faithful through the ongoing global pandemic and its economic fallout, the Very Rev. J. David Carter of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul visited people at their homes on Wednesday.
Just as the priest did on Monday. And the week before. And just as he plans to do next week.
For nearly three hours on Wednesday morning, the priest traveled from house to house. At each stop, Carter, Sister Imelda Quechol, Fr. Colin Blatchford and Fr. Valentin Iurochkin set up a cross and monstrance, the elaborate sunburst-like vessel that holds the Holy Eucharist during Mass. The clergy, kneeling in the street or on sidewalks, prayed with each family and blessed them.
For many, this was their first in-person interaction with the church since the Basilica held its last service on March 19, when the church shut down over concerns about spreading the coronavirus.
"It sort of made sense to bring Jesus to people, since people can't come to Jesus now," Carter said.
Catholic priest blesses, encourages Chattanooga's faithful
Carter began visiting homes last week, starting with English-speaking congregants. He would call ahead, then sit outside with the people to hear confessions and pray. When the church decided to do the same among the Spanish-speaking members, Quechol quickly mobilized the community into the machine-like procession carried out on Wednesday, just days before the holiest moments in the Christian calendar.
Visión Católica TV Internacional live-streamed the procession on Facebook, letting hundreds of viewers know which street the clergy were visiting. People commented with their addresses or texted the clergy.
Some families who were driving through the neighborhood saw the priest, fully robed, and pulled over to join in the nearest prayer session. Carter, Quechol, Blatchford and Iurochkin knelt in prayer in driveways, front yards and on street corners, before again packing the car with the cross and thurible, which emanated incense.
Facebook has been a powerful tool to get word out about the visits, Carter said. Like many churches now closed because of COVID-19, the basilica is livestreaming its services. Churches throughout the Southeast have been closed for weeks as the coronavirus continues to spread. In Tennessee and Georgia this week, at least 400 people have died from the virus.
Going out into the community and working with families face-to-face brings encouragement, although the prayers and blessings from at least 6 feet away can seem odd at first, Carter said. The priest estimates he has visited at least 100 houses in the past week.
Street processions are common in the Catholic Church, especially on feast days. Each year, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, the Basilica holds a procession in the surrounding city. What the priests have been doing the past week with home visits is not dissimilar, Carter said.
"Instead of people coming to the church to process around, we are going out to the neighborhoods. In a way, it's what Jesus did."
This is Chattanooga --- Diocese of Knoxville. Praise God! This should have been done from Day One of the social-distancing, self-isolations and lockdowns. Everywhere -- Corpus Christi every day!
More pics to follow.
Great Priest, God Bless Him!! Happy Easter!!
I visited Chattanooga about 15 yrs. ago..
Praise God indeed.
Why is this not happening everywhere?
I like that white lacy tunic.
Cute kids there.
Not hard to do at all. They pack up the Blessed Sacrament and all their gear into a station wagon. It's as traditional as can be. The Big Ecclesia visits the Family Ecclesiola.
Christ come to our homes and be adored forever!
We did this 40, 50, 60 years ago in Erie, PA on the Feast of Corpus Christi, on foot from home to home, from front-porch altar to sidewalk-altar in the Polish neighborhood.
Blessed Sacrament. God wins.
Thank God, literally. Its so good to see this.
This Good Friday I went and put flowers in front of the (closed and locked) door of my parish church. Somebody else had gone by earlier and put flowers there so I added some, and I hope other people came along behind me and added more.
At a time like this, they have locked us out of our churches and away from the presence of Our Lord. It wasnt the state that did it here, it was our very own archbishop and bishops.
I personally have been away for periods of time in places where it was not possible to receive the Eucharist. Even then, I have never missed receiving our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity on Easter Sunday. I am horrified of the prospect.
I think the priest here is wearing a cape (called a "cope") -- nice in the cooler weather.
Sweet to see this done in front of people's homes.
I was a little startled when the deacons had to ask us all to leave because they were setting up to live-stream the Good Friday liturgy, celebrated without a congregation.
I noticed a lady kneeling on the walkway at the side door, peering through the glass door to view the Liturgy. Touching and solemn.
What a sad, strange Triduum.
Maybe if we can't come to Church, Church comes to us.
awesome AND ESSENTIAL !!!
good news for sure....
awesome AND ESSENTIAL !!!
good news for sure....
shakes incense from a thurible.
Not a biblical church practice and has no spiritual benefit...
BibleGateway works. :o)
Happy Vigil of Easter!
Could you ping this out to your list? Something to sustain the weary.
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