Covenant Health is hoping it can help people find some spiritual comfort during Holy Week.
Starting on Holy Thursday, patients, long-term care residents, staff and the public who have an Internet connection can stream a Holy Week Reflection put together by the spiritual care team at Grey Nuns Community Hospital.
“We wanted to create something accessible to everyone during Holy Week, when so many in-person visits or gatherings are not happening,” says Bonnie Tejada, Covenant Health’s director of mission and spirituality.
The service is a way for family members to “go to church together,” allowing them to connect digitally, even when they can’t physically gather due to safety concerns around COVID-19.
“It’s a way for families to gather together and participate in the same manner,” says Bonnie.
“This service is unlike the Holy Week and Easter services we usually have at this time, as it reflects our new reality of not gathering together for worship. However, as Holy Week invites us to reflection and prayer, it is important to find ways to do this because connecting to our faith and spiritual resources is especially important during difficult times,” explains Bonnie.
The 20-minute multi-denominational reflection is delivered by chaplains Ngozi Onyelu, Blaine Allan and Brian Greenwood. “Each speaker takes us along on the journey with Jesus, from his arrest and crucifixion to waiting at the tomb and his joyous resurrection,” says Bonnie.
Woven throughout these narratives is the reality of the uncertainty of the times we are living in, with practical instruction from the Christian perspective on how to survive this pandemic.
“We’re hoping people can find themselves in different parts of the story,” says Bonnie. People’s feelings of uncertainty, displacement, fear, loneliness and isolation will hopefully be replaced with trust, faith, hope, peace, love and compassion.
Chaplain Brian Greenwood's concluding message of hope and rebirth following Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday echoes that sentiment.
“I want to give permission for us to acknowledge and employ our feelings in this uncertain time.”
For Jesus’ first followers, resurrection was emotionally cluttered with grief, surprise, joy, hope and bewilderment.
Bonnie is hoping anyone who needs to be uplifted during these challenging times will watch the reflection. “It’s a new way for us to connect, share and build up our community, and support our spiritual health during these anxious and difficult times — to know that we are not alone.”