Life in Lockdown – Building faith and communitySunday 28th June 2020
Below, Fr Andrew Pastore, parish priest at St Vincent de Paul in Bolton, shares a reflection on how his parish have come together through the lockdown.
We have been lucky to have been able to stream mass each day and especially on Sunday. Attendance has been great, a lively conversation took place about the ongoing liturgy, its meaning and importance in this difficult time for many. Parishioners (in a very wide sense) were involved in preparing readings at home sending them in by video. We had youth groups form local parishes joining in and take on the readings of a week. This gave a real feeling of being involved at home, not just watching (Thanks especially to the youth of Christ the Redeemer Parish and St John Fisher, Schoenstatt Shrine)!
Key worker children from St Bernard’s School also prepared a stations of the cross and decorations for our May altar. We had services over Holy Week and the lockdown that were held live with different participants. Our children also had their children’s liturgy online once a month.
Our ongoing formation programme did not stop – we paused the Café program – The Big Picture – as lockdown began. May saw us pick up the offer of Café at Home and run the “Let it be” course online.
We set up a small team to gather names and contacts of people who did not have online access to participate. We found ways of the families getting them viewing our events online. Where that was not possible we had designated contacts to ring each week to chat and keep them up to date on developments form Church. In this period of time our communication over Facebook and an email newsletter grew.
Our faith journey was chugging along – so we decided to put on some social events via Zoom. A coffee morning and Afternoon Tea, as well as a talent competition were among the choices made.
It’s amazing that this time apart has brought us closer together. A lot of the work during this lockdown will, i’m sure, become a great platform for moving on in the community to a new normal.
Continuing to offer the Mass virtually has been one way in which parishes have been continuing Stage 3 of Hope in the Future. Find out more.
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