15+ Creative Ideas for Ministry During this Pandemic:
- Record yourself celebrating Mass! If you want to venture into live streaming, our friends at Spirit Juice Studios have provided this helpful how-to video and pdf. You can also record the video and post it – it doesn’t have to be live. People want to see YOU – their parish and their priest. Both live and pre-recorded Mass videos remind them that God is still present in their life even if they can’t physically receive communion. Remind them about the Act of Spiritual Communion. Say it during your Mass video.
- Involve parishioners in the Mass – ask school or Religious Ed students to record themselves doing one of the readings (a few days in advance) and insert it into your Mass video. Ask their teachers to do th same to show familiar faes each day.
Personally call parishioners to check in on them, particularly those who are elderly and need extra care. Enact a parish phone tree using staff or volunteers to contact everyone in the parish.
E-mail your parishioners and ask them to send photos of themselves and their families to fill your church. You can print the photos and tape them to the pews in your church or chapel to celebrate Mass with your people, just like this priest did.
- Include information about how to continue to support the parish during this time. Provide links to online giving, the parish address where checks and money can be sent, and requests for any other support (donations of food and other items for needy families, especially those affected by this crisis).
- Include your teachers, staff, students, parishioners to participate in online community activities- Google Meet and Zoom both offer great ways to hang out and talk or play games virtually.
- Start book clubs in your parish that discuss a book via email, group text, GroupMe, video discussion (see above), or on one giant phone call.
- Repay the favor to restaurants and businesses that support your parish with donated items/bulletin ads by encouraging people to order carry-out from them, post a picture of food you’ve ordered from them and tag the business.
- Fr. Shaun Whittington ’05 celebrates outdoor “Parking Lot Mass,” using an FM transmitter that broadcasts to people in their cars. Communion is brought to the cars so they stay the recommended distance apart.
- Videotape messages from you and any others in the rectory and post them to the church website and social media pages. These can be a variety of encouraging, fun, thought-provoking, informational – just say hello!
- Send handwritten letters or notecards to parishioners. Have school teachers and Religious Ed teachers send notes to their students. Encourage pen pals among your community – young with old, classmates, etc.
- The Magnificat app is available for free download, and has options for children as well. Introduce the Liturgy of the Hours (Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer) to families, encourage them to pray together.
- Take people on a detailed video tour of the sacristy – explain what goes on behind the scenes in preparation for Mass. Take them on tours of various parts of the church and rectory. Give them something new to notice when they return to Mass.
Record various prayer opportunities – praying the rosary, stations of the cross, even adoration and benediction – keep parishioners connected. Ask for their intentions, ask for their ideas of how they’d like to pray virtually with you.
- Share photos of how you are spending your day – What did you cook? Are you reading an interesting book? What are your pandemic hobbies? Encourage your parishioners to do the same on your parish page.
- Continue to offer the sacrament of reconciliation, perhaps using non-conventional means. Fr. Jacob Rouse ’18 introduced “Porch Confessions (and blessings),” which features two chairs a safe distance apart, or anonymously through the mail slot. Or try the drive-through option.