For religious groups around the country, technology is helping them overcome the hurdles of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alma Gonzalez chokes up as she talks about her family and how they taught the importance of faith.
“I was raised by my grandmother,” Alma Gonzalez said. “Very devout Catholic and very devoted to Our Lady, and she taught me how to pray.”
It was Gonzalez’s upbringing that motivated her to take part in the annual pilgrimage in Palm Springs, California.
“It was a miracle to finish it,” said Gonzalez.
The 34-mile walk, in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, a patron saint of millions of Mexicans and Latinos, has brought together thousands in California for more than two decades.
This year, organizers canceled their plans, but adapted to the current conditions.
It was the first time in 15 years that Gonzalez did not participate, but she did honor the Virgin de Guadalupe from home.
“I think the attitude that I’ve seen develop is we can’t do everything the way we did it before, but we will do whatever we can to keep the spirit alive and I really see that among the people,” said one religious leader.
The mass in honor of the Virgin will be held with a limited number of parishioners while respecting social distancing guidelines. Also, the ceremony will be streamed live through their social media pages.
“That will give people at home that can’t come the opportunity to join in the prayer and be part of the community, even if it’s virtual.”
Other religious groups are implementing the same approach.
Jewish temples in Cleveland canceled their large public Hanukkah events, but are using the web to stream their faith.
As for Gonzalez, COVID-19 won’t stop her from worshiping during the holidays. She’ll be praying from home with her loved ones.
“Do not let COVID overcome us with fear. Let’s continue with our faith and our prayer,” said Gonzalez.