Remote rituals in a time of coronavirus

As Covid-19 makes it impossible for funeral crowds to gather and for hugs to be exchanged, the bereaved must say farewell in new and unsettling ways.

Last week the funeral for Pat McCann was held at the St Peter Julian Eymard Catholic church in Mooroolbark, in Melbourne’s east.

Her sons, Charlie and Mike, read the eulogy. There was a singer, an organist and a full mass led by a family friend and priest. Tommy Roe’s Party Girl, a track McCann and her family knew by heart, was beamed out into the church.

Her four children and their partners, each sitting two metres apart, listened in. One grandson, trapped with his wife in Guatemala, followed the service online. A granddaughter, back from Brazil, tuned in from Melbourne’s Crown Promenade hotel where she has been in quarantine.

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