Consecrated communities are bringing prayer into the living rooms of Tasmania’s Catholics during COVID-19.
In Tasmania’s south, the religious of the Immaculata Community are live streaming a rosary each day from their convent in Franklin, while the Palavra Viva Catholic Community in Launceston are sharing a live stream of a sung Divine Mercy chaplet from Monday to Friday.
Both live streams feature prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
For the Immaculata Community, praying the rosary and introducing it to others is a normal part of the community’s apostolate, with the rosary prayed at youth groups, retreats, in the parish and at mission schools. But now social restrictions have opened up their rosaries to the internet and anyone who wants to tune in.
Mother Mary Therese Ramsden, of the Sisters of the Immaculata, says that it is a blessing to be able to offer people who are not able to receive the sacraments the opportunity to go deeper in prayer.
“Prayer is like the engine house. It’s what brings life and brings renewal; it’s what brings us closer to God,” Mother Mary Therese said.
“The reason [the rosary] is so good is because it’s really like a summary of the gospel. It basically takes you through the life of Christ and helps you to meditate and to be able to think about his life.”
She says the sisters have had a lot of feedback, including from one Tasmanian couple who are now praying the rosary together each day.
“They’re really loving being able to pray together,” Mother Mary Therese said.
They have also been asked if they will keep live streaming once COVID-19 is over.
People have been getting in touch to ask for particular intentions to be included in the rosary: for the safe arrival of a baby, for reconciliation in a family, for those who are sick, for the soul of someone who has died of coronavirus.
The rosary brings about unity in a family as members come together to pray, Mother Mary Therese says.
“It’s amazing what happens when you pray a rosary at the home; it brings a peace in the home … I have seen so many graces happen through the rosary: it’s brought about vocations in families, its blessed marriages and brought deep healing in people’s lives. It’s where you experience God’s love. That’s what I feel: I feel God’s love. And it brings a peace.”
From Launceston, the Palavra Viva Catholic Community’s Divine Mercy chaplet is live streaming at 3.00pm each day, a reminder of Jesus’ saving passion says Ana Alkmim, a consecrated member of the community.
“At 3 o’clock we are reminded that Jesus died for all of us and he gave us his mercy and that time is the strong moment to remember that love and that mercy of God,” she said.
The Divine Mercy Chaplet is part of the community’s normal prayer routine, and last year they led Tasmania’s parishioners in the prayer during the statewide Mission Evenings with Archbishop Julian Porteous.
Now, along with live streams from all the Palavra Viva Catholic Community’s mission houses around the world, they are bringing their devotion to God’s mercy to the internet.
“In this present time I see that it’s really important for people to go back to God and to go back to His mercy. Because we have been talking to so many people and we have been seeing the news and we have seen that people are facing anxiety, sadness.”
She says that the current situation can make people vulnerable to material things, and moving away from God.
“We need to go to them and say no, God’s mercy is with us, is upon the world and God has not forgotten us.”
The live streamed rosaries are live streamed on the Sisters of the Immaculata Facebook page at 10am from Monday to Saturday, and at 9.45am on Sundays.
Reproduced with permission from the Archdiocese of Hobart.