Despite feeling sad about not attending the important Catholic service in-person, she said the internet was allowing her to keep up her “obligation to God” and stay connected.
“It’s really important, because we’re just so isolated physically now from our community, so this digital stream connects us back to that, and back to our faith,” she said.
“It’s been something to look forward to. If we didn’t turn it on, there would be nothing special about the day that would distinguish it from any other day in isolation.”
At St Paul’s Cathedral, Anglican Archbishop Philip Freier told parishioners worshiping digitally they should imagine themselves sitting inside the cathedral, and imagine what the world could be like if we “live as our better selves”.
“We’re seeing lots of things being expressed in this time of uncertainty. Some things that are not so good, like selfishness and hoarding … but we’re seeing other things that are admirable and generous,” he said.
St Patrick’s Cathedral dean Werner Utri said he himself had been through mandatory isolation after coming into contact with a COVID-19 case, but “like the risen Lord, I’ve come out of the tomb today”.
He said the state and federal governments had been “a bit flexible” in order to allow all forms of worship to continue, albeit in a different way than ever before. There were no choirs of swelling voices at the service, and musicians were scarce, performing at least 1.5 metres away from one another.
“We all need to take the situation very seriously, and together we can survive this. And more than survive this, we can come out of the other end well,” Father Utri said.
But for the Mitchams, faith is now entering home life in new ways. With the school drop-off and work commute out of the way, the family was “forming habits we never had the opportunity to” while isolating at home Mrs Mitcham said, like daily prayer.
“It’s quite pleasant to have toddlers, they’re happy to go with our flow and they’re enjoying the extra effort we’re putting in to bring our faith home,” she said.
“And now that lent is over and chocolate is back, the kids are over the moon. We’ll be not so focused on sacrifice from today, and more focused on celebrating.”
Ashleigh McMillan is a breaking news reporter at The Age. Got a story? Email me at email@example.com