Bishop Paul Donoghue met His Holiness Pope Francis in Rome, in November. 20040807.
Tomorrow on Good Friday one tradition will continue amid all the change: local Catholics will walk around Rarotonga with the Cross – just with some adaptations.
Bishop Paul Donoghue said the youth will not be walking around as a group, because it would be impossible to maintain social distancing.
“It will be done in relays with only two cross-carriers for each kilometre, then they will hand over to the next two,” he said.
The faith in his congregation was stronger than ever, he said.
Since closing the church due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, Bishop Donoghue said they have been able to livestream a private mass with fewer than 10 people in a room.
“Our people are certainly making use of this medium,” he said. “The beauty is that they can watch at a suitable time within their family.”
For the major days like Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday they have to be “a little more professional” ensuring that the 10 people attending could cover the extra readings and individual singing.
“Behind the cameras these people are very busy and all the time maintaining social distancing,” he said.
“I know our leaders in the various parishes, throughout the whole country, have been very active in passing information onto families. That is where the prayer is taking place.”
In June this year, Bishop Donoghue will have been a priest for 46 years. Two weeks ago he stood before his congregation and announced that there would be no masses until further notice.
It never crossed his mind as something he would ever have to say.
Now he can’t see his people physically as before, but he senses they are joined in prayer.
“The motto of our diocese is “Put out into the Deep” which Covid-19 has brought about, launching us into deeper unknown waters,” he said.
“And my personal motto, “We are one in Christ”, is holding us together.”