107-year-old Meath woman Nancy Stewart has made it her mission to attend online Masses in each of Ireland’s 32 counties.
Attending two or three Masses a day, she’s well underway to accomplishing her goal.
Speaking to The Irish Catholic, her granddaughter Louise Coghlan had only praise for the service that most churches are providing, describing the standard as “brilliant”.
“Whether it’s in sermons or like, you know, what’s really magical is, yesterday evening we went to Cavan cathedral first, and Granny was like, ‘I’ve never been in this cathedral,’ you know? It’s just so funny,” she says.
Their efforts have attracted international attention with the Pontifical Irish College in Rome getting in contact, inviting her along to one of their online Masses with the promise of a special greeting.
“We were anonymous up to yesterday, but now we’ll definitely be getting shout-outs. Between emails and Facebook and everything else, I’ve never got so many messages” Louise explains.
“We’ve loads of Masses to visit and they’re all going to do a shout-out. We got an email from the Irish College in Rome as well. It looked like the head guy over there. He sent a very nice email to let us know, to invite us to go along to their virtual Mass in the mornings and whenever we’re going just to let them know and they’ll give a special greeting.”
Asked whether Nancy’s efforts might give people some sense as to how important faith is, Louise answered affirmatively, saying that the online or virtual expressions of faith have often gone unappreciated.
“When you’re cocooned and you love your Faith, it really is about reaching out in whatever way we can,” Louise says.
“It’s the same with Mass – Granny doesn’t even question it, that it’s not physically Mass, because there’s an awful lot of the elderly, who before Covid, might not have been able to get out to Mass…You can look at life in a negative way or you can look at the positives, and the online, virtual world of Mass – I think it’s amazing.”