Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, prays the Stations of the Cross, the video of which can be seen on the Diocese's new YouTube playlist.
Father Garry Koch, pastor of St. Benedict Parish, Holmdel, prays the Stations of the Cross, the video of which can be seen on the Diocese's new YouTube playlist.
One priest played piano for a moving meditation on suffering in the midst of the pandemic. Other priests conducted the Stations of the Cross, or shared a bit of good humor and comforting words in special Holy Week messages.

The approaches were as unique as the priests and the parishes, but the purpose was the same – connect parishioners at home with their faith communities and the traditions of Holy Week and Easter in an unprecedented time.

When it became clear that this year would be like no other before it, parishes of the Diocese moved quickly to provide livestreaming of their Masses. But a number of priests did not stop there.  They embraced video and other media to stay in contact with the faithful, many of whom were struggling because they could not take part in some of the most solemn and sacred observances of the Church year.

Samples of this unique outreach can be viewed on a newly created playlist on the diocesan YouTube channel.

Marianne Hartman, director of the Diocese’s Department of Multimedia Production, explained, “We were impressed at how many of the pastors and priests are reaching their parishioners through the internet. We wanted to share the treasures taking place in our parishes, especially during the holiest week in the life of the Church and in light of the fact that faithful were not able to be physically present in their parishes because of the Covid-19 restrictions.”

The more than 20 videos that were submitted to date represent a variety of worship experiences such as praying the Stations of the Cross and Eucharistic Adoration. There were also a number of priests who offered teachings on the Sacred Triduum (Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday) as well as encouraging messages on how to make the most of Holy Week during the pandemic.

Hartman extended appreciation to those parishes that submitted videos, saying she believed that they can serve as a tool to help the Diocese’s faithful connect as an online community.

“We are once again reminded that we are not alone,” she said. “I think watching the videos brings us all together and reminds us that we are one Body in Christ.”

Any priests still wishing to submit their Holy Week and Easter video footage for the diocesan YouTube playlist may do so  by contacting Hartman at MHartm@DioceseofTrenton.org.