The way the buildings are situated worked as an amphitheater.
When the novel coronavirus kept his parish from celebrating Easter Mass in church this year, one Italian priest had the novel idea to bring the celebration to the community. Father Carlo Purgatorio found a low-rise rooftop situated before a busy street and a row of apartment buildings and held Easter Mass for the whole city block.
The pastor of Santa Emerenziana parish, in Rome’s Trieste neighborhood, drew dozens of onlookers and participating faithful, whose responses and communal singing can be heard on a video posted to the EWTN Twitter page. Catholic Herald notes that the Mass was also livestreamed so that more could join in the festivities digitally.
📹VIDEO | Dozens of residents of a Roman neighborhood were able to attend Easter Mass thanks to Father Carlo Purgatorio, pastor of St. Emerenziana, who celebrated the Eucharist on a rooftop. pic.twitter.com/1rFH4P0jfX— EWTN News (@EWTNews) April 14, 2020
“People participated a lot, from their windows, from their terraces. [They] were thankful for this initiative, because they did not feel so alone.” The priest added that, “in the moment we are living, an important occasion — when people cannot come to the church — to still be able to live a community celebration [albeit] in this different form.”
The inventive priest went on to suggest that it is important to find new ways to practice our faith in this unprecedented time of social distancing. While many people have been forced to set up in-home workspaces, it is also important to designate prayer space, as the home has become, “the place for the celebration of the Eucharist.”
Fr Purgatorio has already expressed the desire to hold more of these rooftop Masses in the future, as Italy’s quarantine was extended to May 3, but another way his parish is coming together is with a non-stop food drive, complete with a dedicated phone line. He said that the demand on their parish food pantry has been rising alongside the nation’s unemployment rate.
“I think in this moment, in this pandemic, the ‘cry’ to hear is people’s need,” he said, including “the need for the faith, for the proclamation of the Gospel, to arrive in their homes.”