Holiness in a Parking Lot



Holiness in a Parking Lot


Even before the pandemic, I myself was not particularly religiously active, but my grandmother is a devout Catholic. She lives in Illinois, not far from St. Louis, and usually attends mass in this beautiful Czech cathedral, St. John Nepomuk, in the city. It is an old church with an old community, and I have been with her and my family many times. Much of my grandma's socialization is with her church friends, whether it is on site for events or outside of the church setting.

Because of the pandemic, she has been attending mass at a smaller church in her own town. When things were normal, she would go there sometimes, like on Easter if she didn't have the time to drive to St. Louis and back, but she much preferred her usual routine. Over the course of the pandemic, I've kept up with my grandma, and she has told me about her experience through these times at this smaller church.

At first, I believe they were having socially distanced, masked, outdoor masses through the summer, but as it got cold, they transitioned to having churchgoers sit in their cars and watch the priest, who would remain alone under a tent. Eventually the priest went back inside as the church allowed more people to come in while following guidelines. My grandma is particularly cautious, so she chose to remain in her car during these masses. She told me that there is a video (maybe just audio, I can't remember) from within the church that is played outside to allow those uncomfortable with entering the building to maintain some connection with the priest.

My grandmother is 82, so she is obviously at some risk from the virus. Because of this, the cautions she has had to take and sacrifices she has had to make have changed her life drastically. She hasn't been able to see family or friends much (some, while being safe), and that includes much of her church community, where I know she really feels at home. She is a tough woman, so I know that she is going to make it through this awful time, but her religious experience, as well as many other aspects of life, has been affected a great deal.

Date Created

December 6, 2020


St. John Nepomuk, St. Paul United Church of Christ


Roman Catholic



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