SEAFORD — Consider it morning inspiration with a side of coffee.
Father Steven Giuliano of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Seaford takes to Facebook most mornings to offer a reflection and short message on the Gospel. He’s been doing so since mid-March when it became difficult for many to attend Mass because of COVID-19.
It’s a short conversation lasting about five to perhaps 15 minutes, often delivered at his kitchen table and it’s delightfully informal. Father G, as he is often called, said he started the Facebook conversations because the Word took on even more meaning when so many people could not physically come to church.
He attracts as many as 600 viewers from local parishioners and Facebook followers all over the world, including some from his two years in Rome as part of the Focolare movement.
“People are not able to receive the Sacraments, so the Word takes on even more meaning,” he said. “It strikes at their heart even more. People are trying to have a close contact with Christ.”
The morning messages are recorded between 7 and 8 a.m. before he celebrates morning Mass. He generally does it about six days a week, but not on Sunday. Friday and Saturday are a little hit or miss, depending upon his schedule.
“It’s nice in a relaxed setting like that to just relax and chat about the scripture. The scripture is alive and it speaks to us,” he said. “People have said they feel like they know me better. They seem to respond to that informality.”
While it serves his parishioners, he said it also helps him prepare for the daily Mass. “It’s good for me … It helps me reflect on the Gospel.”
There’s an assortment of coffee mugs and it can be entertaining to see what he might choose on any given day. It could be “Coffee makes mornings swell,” “I don’t do mornings” or simply “I love my white-collar job.”
“It just happened that I had a lot of mugs,” he laughed.
On Dec. 11, he was discussing a reading from Matthew. “The Lord is telling us we want God to do what we want God to do,” he said.
He said we need to trust and believe that God knows what is best, something which can be difficult to do.
“Don’t expect God to do what we want. We think we know it all … but we need to be more trusting,” he said.
He also uses his morning message to keep his parishioners safe from COVID-19 and to urge them to think of others. “God has given us wisdom through these experts,” he said. “It’s not about me protecting me. It’s about me protecting you.”
Father Giuliano tested positive for the coronavirus recently, but suffered only mild symptoms. As he quarantined, he celebrated Mass at home and broadcast it to viewers until he was cleared to return to his public duties. Many of his followers wished him well and offered prayers for a speedy recovery.
“I am so blessed. Please pray for all those who are in serious condition,” he wrote on Facebook.
He suspects that even when COVID-19 subsides, he may continue his Facebook reflections because there are so many people who can’t attend Mass because of their health or their work schedule.
You can reach Our Lady of Lourdes at ollseaford.org. Follow the link at the bottom of the page to reach Facebook.