With thanks and credit to the Diocese of Parramatta, here are some ideas about how you might continue your work on collaboration within your parishes at this time of restricted contact with others. Some of you may have already undertaken thinking and steps in this regard but for those who have not here is something to consider.
Reach out to your parish. Communication is vital: Initial messages to share.
- A pastoral letter to your parish via email and video is a great start. Elements to include are:
- Your vision, about where we are, how we called to care for one another, and positive ways forward.
- Reiterating what can’t happen (e.g. Mass, groups, visits to aged care). People want to be reassured that they are not spiritually in the wrong if they are not receiving communion.
- Sharing what is already happening. We have a core group who have been praying together. We are outreaching to those who are sick and grieving, to those who are on our visitation list for communion. We are in touch with our ministry groups to see how people are travelling.
- If ready – Explain what the Sunday Worship Space will look like.
- If ready – Explain what other spiritual supports are available.
- Offer support.
- Invite people to share their gifts and ideas.
- Encourage people to keep connecting others, building up contact names/numbers/emails.
- Explain ways we will stay connected.
- The Sunday bulletin now becomes a vehicle for all is happening. Much of the bulletin can remain intact with ministry groups perhaps posting when they will be catching up via teleconference or videoing.
- Facebook and website are important to keep updated. One approach could be daily to offer three updates:
- A spiritual reflection.
- An update on what is happening – including some good news.
- A reminder of support services available.
In our next update, we will explore care for the most vulnerable in the parish.
For more information click on https://parracatholic.org and go to COVID 19 UPDATE and then to Getting Started in Non Gathered Church