Platform offers wide variety of sanctuaries to assist in personal prayer.
Fatima, Lourdes, Czestochowa, Walsingham. Even Our Lady of Medjugorje.
Those of just a few of the shrines of Europe that are now immediately accessible on a newly launched website meant to bring a sense of spiritual comfort to people unable to visit their own local church.
The Conference of Bishops of the European Union — COMECE, to use its acronym — launched SanctuaryStreaming.eu on Holy Thursday, in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the impossibility for many to physically participate in celebrations in Church. It offers live-streaming services from Catholic sanctuaries and churches in Europe.
The website features 28 sanctuaries from 17 European countries and the Vatican, but is open to expansion. An idea that originated in March, when many European countries were imposing more and more restrictions on movement, in an attempt to contain the spread of the virus, SanctuaryStreaming is “the practical realization of a desire to show the solidarity, communion and unity of the Church, supporting Europeans to grow in a spirit of solidarity and to better face the challenges posed by the current pandemic,” the bishops’ conference announced.
Of the sanctuaries being featured, some of the lesser known ones includes Kykkos monastery on the island of Cyprus, the site of an icon of the Virgin Mary.
”Locals have revered the icon and have attributed miracles to its presence throughout the centuries, for instance in the struggle against locust devastation in 1760 or in the healing of many people come to the monastery to ask for comfort and health,” the website explains. “Many miracles of the past and present days have been documented and made public today and are a sign of the intercession of the Virgin to God and of Her love to the whole of humanity.”
SanctuaryStreaming is not meant to end once the pandemic is over, however. “COMECE is open to the possible collaboration of our partners in order to improve the project over time, adding new live streaming services and languages,” the conference said.