Week Four: Archbishop’s Pastoral Parish visits
ST THOMAS THE APOSTLE KAMBAH
Fr Peter My and members of the St Thomas the Apostle Parish Pastoral Council, Finance Committee and Vietnamese Community met with Archbishop Christopher for lunch and hearty discussion.
As a result of COVID-19, the parish implemented a number of strategies to help our community cope. Daily Zoom Masses were held, prayer groups got together via Skype and Zoom. Groups were started to help the housebound and elderly to get food, medical supplies and other items.
Distribution lists were drawn up and emails were sent regularly, including online prayer and mass options. Printed copies were also delivered to those who needed them. Parishioners called each other and some drove past each other’s houses and called out from the driveway to check they were OK.
Over winter we normally share soup after 10am mass, so rather than cancel, the soups were made, packaged, frozen and delivered to those who needed it.
As the rules were relaxed and we were able to return to some masses, things changed again. We take bookings for weekend masses, and school sacraments have been held during the week. We have teams of people to help with bookings, signing in at masses, cleaning and assisting with social distancing.
The community spirit of our Parish has been tremendous and extremely heart-warming. COVID-19 has changed many things possibly forever but it has not changed the generosity of the members of St Thomas the Apostle Community.
CORPUS CHRISTI PARISH, SOUTH TUGGERANONG
The continued effort of accompanying our parish family in response to the COVID-19 lockdown resulted in many action-oriented activities.
Phone circles: We divided the parish based on suburb and distributed contact details to parish council members and parish team. They were given a template to record feedback as to how people were travelling and specific issues the parish could address.
Parish group contacts: We asked leaders or co-ordinators of about 27 parish groups to offer support to members.
Online Mass: With an unexpected lockdown in place, especially during Easter, the parish was forced to do something locally. We worked based on the marketing or sales principle, ‘out of sight is out of mind’ and with a pastoral heart to reach out with help.
Nursing home and house visits/ communion: Though for a short period we had to stop all visits, we are back on deck and fully involved.
Funerals and Families of those who have lost loved ones: The parish team is in constant touch with members to offer ongoing support. During the month of November, we are trying to organise a special remembrance prayer and liturgy.
Communication with parishioners – Wednesday reflections: Since the beginning of lockdown Fr James began to contact parishioners through two sets of emails every week. ‘Wednesday reflections’ was an initiative to motivate and to create positive thinking in people’s minds.
Sacraments and School Masses: We were lucky enough to offer the Sacrament of Confirmation and we offered class Masses when it was possible at each of our three primary schools.
Challenge of Five and Chain Rosary: Challenge of five was an invitation to make phone calls to five people who are not a regular contact, Catholic or non-Catholic. Chain rosary is a challenge for the month of October, to form family or friendship groups to pray the rosary.
Care Meals: It’s been a practice in the parish for the past few years to prepare and distribute care meals.