Digital mission aims to help faithful respond to the unique challenges of faith in the time of a pandemic

DETROIT — As the Archdiocese of Detroit enters a Holy Week unlike any in living memory, the faithful are being invited to take part in a unique, four-part digital mission to grow in faith and holiness during the time of a pandemic.

The “Holy Week Home Retreat” will feature four talks given by local priests, plus special Holy Week liturgies from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The retreat talks — which will be hosted on Facebook Live from the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Facebook page — will be given by Fr. J.J. Mech, Fr. Mario Amore, Fr. John Riccardo and Msgr. Daniel Trapp, followed by a reflection and virtual discussion hosted by Fr. Stephen Pullis, director of evangelization and missionary discipleship for the Archdiocese of Detroit.

The schedule includes:

Each of the talks begins at 7 p.m. In addition, the faithful are invited to take part in livestreamed Holy Week liturgies from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament with Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron throughout the week (for a complete schedule, click here).

“The idea is to help the faithful live this Holy Week in a way that is unique to the challenges we have now,” Fr. Pullis told Detroit Catholic. “Each of the talks is focused on how we can live as disciples of Jesus during Holy Week, even in the midst of a global pandemic and quarantine.”

Fr. Pullis said he will moderate a virtual discussion afterward — likely through Facebook Live’s comment feature.

“We didn’t want to just tell people, ‘Here’s a video, go watch it,’” Fr. Pullis said. “We want to provide formation for people, but also to provide community and a chance to think about how we can apply these lessons even in our unique circumstances.”

Fr. Pullis said despite the pain people are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis both spiritually and economically — as well as those who have become ill or are caring for someone who has — God remains close to His people.

And people should never be afraid or reluctant to pray.

“Prayer is always giving our life to God and hearing what He wants to say to us,” Fr. Pullis said. “We should never think we have to run from the challenges, the difficulties, the hurt or the confusion to find God. Rather, we invite God into the exact circumstances of our life now. Pray with what you’re going through now, and ask Jesus to come into those moments.

“We all need Jesus in very particular incarnations, through the reality of our lives,” Fr. Pullis added. “Prayer always takes into account the circumstances we have in our lives, because God wants to speak a word of truth and a word of relationship with Him in the here and now.”