“Silence leads to a renewal of the soul.”
Shortly before the start of the 2019/2020 winter season, it was with great joy that I moved from Bludenz to Lech to continue the pastoral care of my predecessor. After three months, I was hit by the first lockdown: Church services could not take place, all weddings were postponed, we had to cancel First Communion. Representing the whole congregation, I celebrated and performed the services alone in the parish church during this time with the support of the sacristan. Ringing the bells during Holy Mass at this time was a sign to the faithful that we are united in prayer. In order to maintain contact with the population, we sent out newsletters and the tourist office broadcast the services and prayer hours on their info channel. In order to comply with hygiene measures, our parish secretary single-handedly created a touchless vessel for holy water.
At Christmas, churches are usually crowded, but during the pandemic we experienced the opposite. Masses took, but without music, without a choir and with limited attendance. Hearing the bells ring out through the village at midnight on New Year's Eve touched my heart. In previous years, they had been drowned out by music and fireworks. Once I walked through the village after the service. It was at a total standstill. I hardly met a person and there were no cars on the road. The silence and restraint in social life also yielded many positive things for the renewal and inner life of the soul.