Some Service Alternatives during COVID-19 Closings Cater to Our Mental and Spiritual Well-Being

Good ol’ Yankee ingenuity is helping some local businesses and services to not only stay in touch with their patrons – but also help those customers deal with the fear and frustrations of COV-19 spiritually.

The Reverend Monsignor Robert A O’Grady, pastor of the Mary, Gate of Heaven Parish in Windsor Locks has made Sunday Mass available to his congregation via the Internet. The Mass will continue to be live-streamed on YouTube from the church every Sunday morning at 9:00 am. Parishioners are asked to tune in five minutes before the start of mass. 

The plan to stream the mass was in response to the cancellation of large events and mass gatherings of more than 50 people by the Center for Disease Control. While other masses are available on TV and the Internet, streaming from inside the walls of St. Mary Church gives parishioners the opportunity to gather in their own neighborhood parish, albeit virtually.

“A pastor should be available to his people,” said Monsignor O’Grady. Considering, like all of us, he is being asked to distance himself from others,  the live stream seemed like the next-best-thing. Many of his parishioners who tuned in told him, “It was comforting to see their own parish during stressful times,” said the Monsignor.

Close to Om, a yoga studio in Somers, may be closed to the public for the time being, but thanks to a few apps customers can download to their phones, clients can continue classes with instructors they know. By using the free Zoom app, a web-based video conferencing tool that allows a local desktop client to connect with a mobile app user, classes are moving forward even though the doors to the studio at 612 Main St. are locked.

According to the Close to Om Facebook page, anyone can join in at the cost of  $10 per class, paid through Venmo, another mobile app, at no cost for basic services such as sending money from a linked bank account or debit card. For information about classes go to www.closetoOm.com.

Flamingo Yoga instructor Diana Gunther (who travels about to teach yoga in Enfield, Suffield, and Somers every week) has also moved her classes to Zoom – at no cost to her students. She admits to being a bit challenged by the technology but says it’s good for her to learn how to teach online.

“The classes help me so much. It is so good to see everyone and chat a bit. It takes away the social isolation for me,” adds Diana. Although she has moved some classes to Zoom, at this point she says she can’t imagine taking money for them. “I know how hard-hit so many people are – and how stressed.”  Information about Diana’s classes can be found at flamingoyoga.com

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