by Fr Nino Vinciguerra
As we come back gather as a Church there are still many challenges before us. Even more we are called to reach out to each other in faith, hope and love.
We don’t yet know what effect the COVID crisis will have on parishes and there will be some people still not feeling safe or secure enough to return to the parish community.
Our ability to reach out to our parishioners will be a very important aspect of ‘awakening’ our parishes from this slumber. You may wish to consider some of these following points in ‘awakening’ your own parish
- Many of our parishioners have made the transition to obtaining news about the Church and their parish from on-line sources. Ensure you continue to post information on your websites and use email to alert people to events and news.
- The Parish Council and its many ministries will be critical in welcoming back people to the parish community. Ensure your Pastoral Council comes together as soon as possible and develops a plan for ‘awakening’ the parish plus ways of communicating this.
- Link with your school communities and re-establish links. Use the resources of the schools to assist you with communications.
- Within government guidelines, consider holding a real or virtual event that celebrates the parish coming together and gives thanks to God for being held safe and expresses its hope for our future recovery.
- Revisit your parish pastoral plan and review your priorities. Give particular consideration to plans that increase communication and bring parishioners back into contact with each other. Consider reaching out on an individual basis to the aged, vulnerable and marginalised; groups that often find it difficult to reconnect after social disconnection occurs.
- Be cognisant some key people in your parish may no longer feel comfortable with continuing their leadership roles or contributions to parish life. Take time to acknowledge them and their efforts publicly. Furthermore, the Parish Council may have to consider how people can be recruited to back fill people who are retiring.
These are but a few suggestions for ‘awakening’ our parishes and each will need to respond to their own circumstances. The point is that we cannot expect our parishes to spring back into life automatically and we will need to actively consider how best to facilitate their rise from the COVID slumber.
If you have already commenced some activities or have some suggestion please let the Parish Renewal team know at firstname.lastname@example.org