St Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh is sharing the faith by using Zoom to help a group continue their journey towards becoming Catholic.
Around 20 people are taking part in the monthly RCIA sessions - The Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults - which is now being held online to overcome COVID-19 restrictions.
Shirley Grieve, who leads the RCIA team, said: “Each year a team of volunteers, guided by our priest, put together a programme aimed at people who want to explore faith and specifically who want to become Catholic.
“We can’t be in the same room and so we have to work hard at making sure people feel supported, comfortable, and not under any pressure. I talked to a few people beforehand to allay anxiety because people are always nervous about coming along – whether that’s to a physical get together or an online group.
“[It is] easier in the sense that it’s less of a commitment now that we're doing monthly rather than a weekly session. We’ve attracted about twenty people which is slightly higher than usual. I think it feels a little safer for folk to try out as an online version of the group.”
Parish priest Father Patrick Burke said: “We’re adjusting to a different way of doing things; rather than face to face, we’re doing it all online.
“We’re incarnational beings, we’re body and soul, and therefore it is not ideal to meet virtually. There’s body language, there’s atmosphere, there’s a nuance that is lost through virtual meetings.”
But he added “I know that in certain places, during that lockdown, where people were disorientated, isolated, and afraid, the regular morning Mass at 10am - streamed on an iPhone - became a fixture on an otherwise formless day. It became spiritual support.”
Shirley added: “None of this happens without God’s gentle guidance allowing folk to find their own place. We are about forming a community and it feels better to meet in person and grow our faith and understanding; it models a loving church. We just have to work hard now at doing this a different way.”
Those interested can still apply for this year’s RCIA programme at St Mary’s Cathedral by contacting the Cathedral office.
This article by Corrie Young