Wasn’t it strange this past weekend when you realized you didn’t have to get ready to go to Mass? I’m a regular Saturday night attendee and look forward to winding down my afternoon by attending the Vigil and quietly reflecting on my week. However, faced with social distancing and my diocese closing our church doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m feeling isolated and removed as I approach week two.
I’ve started reaching out, and I’m finding my diocese is aware of my isolation and stepping up to fill this void. I’ve noticed local priests have started posting messages, readings/reflections, and other spiritual resources on their church newsfeeds and websites. Quick, simple posts, including links to their websites or other sources like USCCB, Dynamic Catholic, the Vatican, our Diocese, etc. They’re also sharing local and CDC recommendations and directives as they relate to our community and parishes.
And how quickly many of our parishes are embracing tools such as Facebook Live, Zoom, and YouTube to stay connected with us! Whether streaming Sunday Mass (in an empty church), conducting remote Bible study, youth hangouts, webinars on current relevant topics, or continuing regularly schedule series like Faith Formation. It’s brought the church into our homes and lives in these anxious times!
I’m receiving a lot more emails and posts from my parish too while we’re social distancing. I’m thankful my church is using software with both of these features, but products like Constant Contact can serve the same needs for your church. Email is a great way to distribute lots of information and have it be sharable to others in your local community. Since so many of us are tied to our phones, this can be an efficient way to share schedules, lists of parishioner needs, prayer requests, bulletin-type posts, and other important links and messages quickly.
There truly is a wealth of information sharing happening, and I’m very thankful! But let’s not forget our older parishioners who may not use technology. Once identified, it’s just as easy to print or convert your emails into newsletters or start a phone tree to share information and also check in on their well-being.
We are facing some very strange times as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but now more than ever, we need to rely on our faith to get us through. Please share unique ways your church is communicating or how you’re adapting to the new normal.
Peace be with you, my friends!