Reaching out to parishioners

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Home > Media > News > Reaching out to parishioners
Reaching out to parishioners

Many parishes around the state are implementing innovative measures aimed at keeping parishioners in touch with their faith and with each other, in times of social isolation.

Kingston-Channel Parish is one which has been making a concerted effort to keep people connected.

Duncan McFarlane, chair of the Kingston-Channel parish council, said a group of parishioners recently came together and formed what became known as ‘connect teams.’

The idea behind the connect teams was to contact as many parishioners as possible and be a “friendly voice” during this time of isolation. 

“It was certainly a unique and positive experience,” Mr McFarlane said.

“I was ringing parishioners that I knew by face, but had never talked to before - most people were just happy to hear someone cared.” 

Mr McFarlane said a common response from contacted parishioners was that people would like to receive a copy of their parish bulletin and the Catholic Standard.  

In response to the feedback, the connect teams personally letterboxed these to parishioners, while following proper sanitisation processes.

Deacon Michael Smith, who was part of the connect teams that letterboxed the Catholic Standard, said it was a good opportunity for parishioners to receive information that they may not know at this time. 

“I think that it’s important that parishioners can hear that the faith is alive,” Deacon Michael said.

Mersey-Leven Parish, on the North West Coast, has introduced a raft of steps to reach parishioners, including livestreaming Mass every day but Monday; emailing faith resources twice a week; and urging parishioners to stay connected with each other by phone and letterboxed welfare check cards.

Emailed copies of the parish newsletter have risen from 15 to 300, with another 40 posted out. Parish priest Fr Mike Delaney is urging parishioners to ring two or three people each day, to maintain caring contact.

He suggested parishioners focus on what they can control in these uncertain times: deepening their faith; increasing their connectedness with the parish and parishioners, friends, family and neighbours; and showing kindness to others. 

“Even though we are in social isolation, in one sense, many of us are talking to people now that we haven’t spoken to for a long time,” Fr Delaney said.

“I’d like to hope that people utilise the resources we give them, so that they make the most of praying, reading scriptures and finding different ways of making their faith come alive.”

“We care about our parishioners,” Fr Delaney added.

“We care that they keep safe. We care that they look after themselves and we pray that whatever we can do to help them might be a step towards them growing in their relationship with God.”