The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives, leaving little unaltered.  Even the ancient Catholic Christian traditions, which were established thousands of years ago, have not escaped unscathed.

Gone are the wooden pews and stained-glass windows, replaced by an armchair and a window overlooking my backyard. The church service itself occurs on the television in the living room. Mass could take place in Massachusetts, Ireland or Rome, depending on which video we choose to watch. We hear the same songs sung by the same choir week after week, Mass after Mass. The closest we come to receiving Communion is a few words on the screen letting God know that we long to receive Him but can’t do so without putting others in danger.

Despite these obstacles, our faith is as strong as it has ever been, persevering in this time of trouble. Having Mass in a different setting only serves to remind me that my spirituality transcends the church building and that God hears my prayers regardless of where I say them.  Being able to access church services from across the globe has allowed me to grasp how widespread the Catholic community is and allows me to feel closer to my brothers and sisters in faith.

Despite all of the upheaval, some traditions have remained unchanged. As long as I can remember, my family and I have prayed before going to sleep, asking God to grant our prayers and watch over the people He has created. We are able to continue to pray before bed, despite the pandemic and the changes it brings. It is comforting to continue the tradition, a reminder that faith is constant and can last through whatever life brings.

Madeline Epping, 15, attends Columbia High School and is a parishioner at the Church of the Holy Spirit in East Greenbush, where she is part of the intergenerational faith formation.