Worship continues amid COVID-19 concerns

Students+have+to+pre-register+to+attend+mass+at+the+St.+Joan+of+Arc+chapel

Students have to pre-register to attend mass at the St. Joan of Arc chapel

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mass and church services on Marquette University’s campus have constantly evolved to keep up with COVID-19 mitigation guidelines — whether service be held virtually or in person in smaller numbers, students are still able to experience church services on Marquette’s campus.  

Tuesday and Thursday 10 p.m. Mass services, held at the St. Joan of Arc Chapel, only allow 49 people in the chapel during the service. Participants have to pre-register prior to Mass. Sunday Mass is held either at 6 p.m. at Church of the Gesu or at 9 p.m. at the Chapel of the Holy Family in the Alumni Memorial Union.

In the 2020-2021 academic school year, Ana Aguilar, a sophomore in the College of Nursing, said participants had to pre-register for Mass and show their COVID Cheq at the door. Only students were able to attend the student masses and attendees were not able to use the books.

As an usher, Aguilar said last year some of her job responsibilities entailed walking them to their seats and releasing them at the appropriate times for communion as well as at the end of the service, but this school year is different.

“Now I greet them and give them a book, I also hand out masks to whoever needs one,” Aguilar said in an email. “I also help with the collections and help to collect all the books at the end of mass.”

Gabby Chun, sophomore in the College of Engineering, said she typically attends Mass either at the Chapel of the Holy Family or at Church of the Gesu at 9 a.m. or 6 p.m., and the St. Joan of Arc Chapel for daily Mass on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“I go to Mass on Sundays for the Sunday obligation as a Catholic, and I attend daily Mass because it’s a time I use for self-reflection and to find peace in my busy schedule,” Chun said in an email.

Chun said she prefers in-person Mass versus virtual as she said it allows her to get into a headspace of worship and prayer in a church/chapel environment. Chun said she still felt that she was able to safely worship at in-person Mass during the pandemic.

“Surprisingly, I think it was safer last year with the social distancing protocols and extra sanitization the school was enforcing,” Chun said in an email.

Similar to Chun, Aguilar also said she feels she is able to worship safely despite the pandemic and said it’s important to see God’s light through difficult times.

“The importance of power is not diminished during an online mass, but I personally get more distracted and am not in the same mindset I am when I am at an in-person mass,” Aguilar said in an email. “I also miss getting communion when it is virtual.”

Chun, however, said she feels the importance/power of worship diminishes in virtual Mass only because the communal aspect of service is not easily preserved.

Sarah Haus, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she attends Sunday Mass off campus at St. Monica’s in Whitefish Bay and attends Saturday Mass at the Basilica of St. Josaphat.

“Before the pandemic, I went to Sunday Mass on campus at Gesu/AMU,” Haus said. “I made the switch because I was looking for a faith community that could offer the wisdom of the older community and the innocence of the younger while still being welcoming.”

Haus also agrees with Chun and Aguilar and said she feels she is able to safely worship through the COVID-19 pandemic. Haus said this is because she wears a mask, socially distances and does what she can to minimize the risks by following the recommended procedures established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But Haus said she still prefers to attend Mass in person.

“I like being able to come together and share my faith with strangers. The fact that people from all different walks of life can come together and share one faith solidifies the universal aspect of the Catholic church and there’s a certain power in that,” Haus said.

This story was written by Julia Abuzzahab. She can be reached at julianna.abuzzahab@marquette.edu