by Sanjay Noronha
Technology is such a wonderful gift. We use it every day to get work done, to keep track of things, or to catch a movie or our favorite shows. During these unprecedented times of physical distancing, I’m certain we’ve all thought, “Thank God for my phone that helps me stay in touch with my near and dear ones!” We are social and emotional beings. Something is missing from our lives without the ability to physically meet others. It’s also an essential spiritual need. As a parishioner at Holy Spirit Parish in Almaden, I miss going to Mass and hanging out with our friends after.
To ensure each other’s safety and help our strained healthcare system cope, it seems as though we’re going to be home yet for several weeks. Recognizing our need to stay connected with each other, Holy Spirit Parish is embracing the blessing of technology by offering Masses on Facebook and YouTube livestreaming. As I’m working from home these days, I now have saved two-and-a-half hours from my daily commute. It’s been great to get an extra hour of sleep and then start my day by tuning into daily 8:30 a.m. Mass online at Holy Spirit. Seeing Father Brendan or Father Edgar while saying hello to my parish friends on Facebook has been a wonderful shared experience, sometimes lingering through the day with a quick message from someone who was on as well. Such a great feeling to have that connection!
But wait! If you’re usually at home while the family is at work or school, maybe you’re even busier than ever now that they’re all home… Getting the kids to their online classes, getting lunch ready for everyone, etc. Where’s the time to hop onto an online Mass? My friends, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so we must slow down so we can work more, longer and better. Now more than ever, consider starting the day off with the calming meditation of a quick daily mass.
Our lives have changed so much in a matter of weeks. We’ve gone from being bombarded by the distractions of society that occupy every moment… to a time of quiet, a time with family, a time with ourselves. Why not use this blessing to take back some control and use the opportunity to focus inwards? How about rebooting our own internal computer?
Father Brendan McGuire, our Pastor at Holy Spirit, has been offering an online retreat over YouTube and Facebook. It’s called ‘Re-Ignite’ and is divided into six easy-to-follow sessions, each just an hour long. Re-Ignite has been a great source of practical advice on life and on developing the good habits of contemplation and prayer. As a family, we’ve learned how we can be grateful for the many blessings we have, even through this difficult time. With gratitude comes joy that can help us direct our energy positively to help others wherever and whenever we can. We’re all in this journey together, and thanks to the blessings of technology, we can remain connected, albeit virtually, and take the time to develop ourselves for the better.
Sanjay Noronha has been a parishioner for 12 years at Holy Spirit in Almaden Valley, San Jose. He works at Google as a product manager and is married to his wife, Sneha. They have two busy boys, one in high school at Leland and one who starts at Mitty this Fall.