A very short time ago, we might not have imagined our regional situations changing this much due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID19. This is very challenging indeed. Masses and church activities being sharply curtailed or cancelled outright, schools closing, families hunkering down … what’s a catechetical leader to do?
First: PRAY. And pray some more.
Reach out to your parish leadership and see if a team is working on improving connections. With your pastor’s agreement, brainstorm with others what is needed most. Then reach out to parishioners via emails, email newsletters, social media channels, or phone trees that your parish is already using. Then, use them DAILY, or every few days, as appropriate to the method.
Third: Find and help others find viewing access to Masses.
These might be streamed live or pre-recorded online or via cable channels. (Kudos if that’s happening right in your own parish and you can link parishioners to it.)
Fourth: Encourage prayer.
See the first suggestion, above. Then help others discover ways to pray together via Facebook groups, or other social media channels. You might also be the right person to lead or facilitate such a group. (Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance!)
Encourage parishioners to pray the Rosary, both alone or in a household group. A how-to guide is here. Or, suggest the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It is shorter than a Rosary and a favorite Lenten devotion for many. How-to guide is here and more history is here. Or try the Angelus! More about that here.
Encourage parishioners to use holy water to bless themselves, little ones, their homes. More advice on blessings for parents at home here. Remind parishioners of the efficacy of sacramentals.
Fifth: Utilize digitally-enabled approaches to faith formation.
This might be a range of ideas from the very simple, like sending prayers to families, to the more sublime, like building an online platform.
Share via email or other channels: Daily and Sunday Lectionary readings, prayer activities, learning activities, and faith conversations. Or extend an age-group program that might have gotten cancelled with online activities that depend knowledge and provide related activities or projects.
Curate and deliver online-only content and experiences for age groups and families, such as Lenten themes with activities for reading the Bible, daily prayer, ways to serve others, and more. Here’s an article on nurturing faith at home.
Search the Catechist website for shareable content. Below are a few links to get you started. Note: this COVID19 is a unique situation and some of the suggestions in the links below may need refinement, adaptation, and creativity before being applied in your setting.
You might be the next one whose idea during this crisis may reach hearts and minds for Christ.
Image credit: Michal Lech Design/ Shutterstock 1640200456