Priests in Ecuador reinvent themselves during coronavirus lockdown

By Cristina Bazán

Guayaquil, Ecuador, May 2 (efe-epa).- Priests in Guayaquil, the city most affected by Covid-19 in Ecuador, have had to reinvent themselves to continue giving spiritual guidance after the country’s churches were closed and funerals forbidden.

Clergy have had to embrace technology in their search for new ways to spiritually and psychologically support their believers.

Edilberto Torres, pastor at San Juan Bosco church, south of the city, tells Efe that he has had to redesign his way of working since 14 March when religious centres were closed.

Special attention has been given to those who have suffered from the disease or those who have lost loved ones.

He says he recruited the help of tech-savvy members of his congregation to broadcast daily services on Facebook.

His assistants arrive half an hour before the ceremonies to make sure everything is ready.

The service is broadcast using a mobile phone and one of the parishioners moves through the church to capture the different parts of the religious ceremony as closely as possible.

More than 300 people connect daily to follow the priest live from their homes and often leave comments on the videos.

“Most are people who belong to the parish, but there are also others who follow us from Colombia, the United States, Spain, Argentina,” Torres says with satisfaction.

But mass has not been the only aspect of his job that has had to adapt to the virtual world.

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