West Lafayette church still 'packs the house' for Mass amid coronavirus outbreak

If you can't bring the sacrament to the people, why not bring the people to the sacrament?

Posted: Mar 26, 2020 7:14 AM
Updated: Mar 26, 2020 8:47 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — If you can't bring the sacrament to the people, why not bring the people to the sacrament?

Father Patrick Baikauskas of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in West Lafayette is known to be creative. Just last year, he started riding a golf cart around Purdue's campus offering "confessions to go." This, however, may be his best move yet.

"I said, send us a picture and we are going to put them on the pews," Baikaukas said.

St. Tom's is still holding daily mass online during the coronavirus pandemic. Baikauskas didn't want to look out on an empty church, so he reached out to his parishioners and said "Send me a selfie!"

"I've been here 13 years, I know where people sit," said Baikauskas. "So as I was placing them all, I said a prayer for every one of them."

He says the best part is that they're already in their seats and quiet when it's time for Mass.

"I told people yesterday I was very proud. Some of them were early for the first time ever and they're all sitting together with their families," said Baikauskas.

St. Tom's is one of many churches across the state that has transitioned to online services. Baikauskus was pleased with Gov. Eric Holcomb's announcement Monday that religious institutions were just as essential right now as hospitals and grocery stores.

"If ever there was an essential service, our houses of worship are on top of that list," Holcomb said.

"It is absolutely essential in this time that we do what we do as people of faith and that is we don't live it alone," said Baikauskas.

So whether you are taped to a pew or watching online, Baikauskus wants you to remember the virus can't be transmitted over the phone.

"Call your neighbors, call your family, call your fellow parishioners and see how they're doing and ask them if you can pray for them." 

St. Tom's offers daily mass every day at Noon. A link can be found here.

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