Long Island’s Catholic bishop is calling on God to help commuters survive the “summer of hell” on the Long Island Rail Road.
Bishop John Barres of the Diocese of Rockville Centre has started a daily one-minute video blog of spiritual messages aimed at making delays on the LIRR and local highways not just more bearable but even fruitful.
His advice: Use the time to pray and reflect.
“Isn’t it a great opportunity if we’re in Penn Station, we know we have some time to wait because of this delay, well we have our sacred scriptures,” Barres said in a video introducing the series “A Catholic Spirituality of Commuter Delays.”
He added that “Pope Francis tells us to pick up our scriptures as much as we pick up our iPhones. Isn’t that Pope Francis to a T?”
Barres started the daily blog July 3, a week before the July 10 start of what was billed as the “summer of hell” because of repairs at Penn Station. Whether it’s due to divine intervention or not, so far the anticipated nightmare in delays has not materialized.
The video blog idea was born in early June when he released a one-shot blog about commuter delays, filmed while he was standing on the LIRR platform in Rockville Centre near diocesan headquarters.
The video did well on diocesan social media, reaching 13,740 people and receiving 6,200 views, so the bishop believed he was on to something, diocesan spokesman Sean Dolan said Friday.
The bishop has decided to extend the Monday-through-Friday blog — originally slated to end in July — through August.
Barres admits in the introductory blog the notion of A Catholic Spirituality of Commuter Delays “sounds kind of a little bit out there, but it’s real. Our Catholic faith, our intimacy with Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our love for the mission of the Church — it’s part of us everywhere we go.”
Besides his blog, Barres noted that many apps on spirituality and the Bible itself are available with a few clicks on an iPhone.