Can you have a personal connection with someone you've never met in the flesh?
It depends on how you define "personal" and "connections," but is it helpful to define these terms narrowly? Are people in danger of deluding themselves into thinking they have personal connections with celebrities and with people they write back-and-forth with on the internet?
Or is it good to think of personal connections broadly? For example, you might feel a personal connection to a writer who lived long ago, whom you cannot possibly meet. I feel that way about Henry David Thoreau. The personhood matters as it relates to the ideas, even if one cannot possibly meet the person. Much of reading works this way, I think.
In Christianity, there is much to the personal connection to Jesus. Not all religions have a central person with whom believers can bond, but what are we to make of the importance of Jesus in Christianity as it relates to this question of personal connections with individuals who are not physically present in our lives?