The pandemic has affected how we are able to practice religion at Mercyhurst.
The social distance requirements have allotted for every two pews in the church to be roped off. The greeter can only allow siblings, roommates/suite mates, and anyone who is in the same pod to sit next to each other.
If none of these apply to you, you are seated six feet apart from everyone so each pew is only able to have three people: one on each end and one in the middle.
Personally, every two pews being closed off feels like a little much, but they recently switched them to every other pew, so that permits for a lot more people to come and enjoy Mass in person. The retreats are also heavily impacted as the school is not allowing anyone to leave campus and go out into the community.
The famous Carpe Diem retreat was switched to just being on campus this year. The retreat went from 8:30 a.m. until around 11 p.m. at night, taking place inside the Student Union.
I personally did not partake in the retreat this year, because you can only do the retreat once and I wanted to do it when we were able to go off campus. However, I know the people who did it had a wonderful time, and are heavily encouraging anyone to try it. You don’t have to be a religious person to enjoy this retreat or any others that Mercyhurst offers.
Regardless of the COVID situation next fall, I will probably do the Carpe Diem retreat because it is clearly a good time no matter where it takes place. Also, some of the other retreats are only accessible to those who have completed the Carpe Diem retreat and I want to be able to do all the retreats that I can.
As a freshman, this year is my first experience of being in any sort of religious group on campus and I was so thankful when I got the email saying we can meet in person for all of them.
I wanted to meet in person because I wanted to get a chance to meet new people who had similar interests.
I am Catholic, so I attend Tuesday Night Catholic Devotions the most and I love the group of people that participate, and I love the conversations we have.
I also love how they change the activities each time, so that every week is different.
I have also attended Wednesday Night Fellowship a few times and that is always a great time as well, because each week is something different and you never really know what to expect.
I know the Thursday Night Bible Study also meets in the Prince of Peace Chapel in person.
I have yet to attend one of their meetings, but I am looking forward to the first time I am able to go.
All the weekly meetings require attendees to maintain social distance and to wear a mask, which is totally appropriate to stop the spread of the coronavirus. COVID-19 may be changing worship, but it is not stopping it.