Ministers from across the diocese have been finding new ways to stay in touch with young people and keep their communities connected. Here we have some quotes from reflections they wrote on how they’re finding lockdown and how they’re still serving our parishes.
Denise Fleming, Office Manager of New Plymouth Parish:
In endeavouring to carry out the Pope’s plan to be a Missional Church, the Parish staff in NP have used their time in lock-down to phone all those who are registered on our Parishioner Archiving Communication System (PACS). This has not only been a great opportunity to check our records are up to date, but it has also given parishioners a chance to seek support, with several reported running out of food, others needing an ear to hear their concerns.
Zoom has been a great tool in the kete which our Ministry team have embraced. This has been a great way to check on the growth of the Priest’s hair (chins included). I am sure we will all be heading to the hairdressers once we’re allowed to leave our homes!
Michelle Butler, Young Family Minister of New Plymouth Parish:
This week as NZ moved into level 3, we may have found ourselves reflecting on level 4 or perhaps we just are looking forward? While phoning our parishioners, it was heartening to hear of the networks within our parish and school communities that during this time have been working to connect and support each other, especially those without technology to help alleviate the isolation.
The lockdown has affected us all in different ways but we have been united in valuing the protection of our most vulnerable members. People have talked of the challenges but also the lessons in acceptance, gratitude and resilience in their bubbles. Many that I have spoken to have been grateful to be able to watch an online or televised Mass, not only has this been a spiritual lift, especially during Easter, but the familiarity has been comforting during the uncertainty.
Hika, Youth Minister of New Plymouth Parish:
Facing these difficult times during this Pandemic has been either a bit slow or feeling unsure about what to do next. In my role as a youth minister serving the youth kids in my community parish, I just listen to what the teenagers have to say and relating to them about it. What I usually do is just chatting and playing games with them as a way to bond and understand if they are OK.
During Holy Week we used our youth group chat to challenge each other to read the proverbs of the day and share a reflection on how they impacted us spiritually and personally.
Tausilia, Palmerston North Citywide Youth Minister & St Peter’s School Chaplain:
Despite the challenges the Holy Spirit continues to move, and the joyous Easter message remains the same, we are still messengers of God even from our bubbles at home! The power of prayer is undeniably our connection and communication to God and with each other.
I think it is important for them to know that I am still with them continuing to think, tautoko and pray for them and that they do have someone to reach out to. It has been encouraging receiving positive feedback from parents and the strengthened connections I have made with the youth through the conversations we have.
It was especially important to check in with the youth as they head back to online school and any pressures that it may bring. Even with the difficulties of this lockdown our sense of community and faith perseveres as we journey to conquer this pandemic together.
Faaki, Catholic Parish of Hastings Youth Ministry
This Easter lockdown gave me time to restructure my life regarding God and family relationship by reading more of my Bible and other Catholic books including online teachings. I had learnt so much of God’s endless love and care for our world, especially His people.
I believe that if my family will be healthy in Spirit, body and mind, other people that I encounter will be likewise.
Kea, Youth Minister at Catholic Parish of Whanganui & Cullinane College Youth Chaplain:
We are very fortunate to have our parish priest Fr. Vaughn and Fr Nathaniel making mass, liturgies, and prayer session available live on Facebook, and I encourage the youth to link into these as often as they can.
We can’t really know how this has impacted the youth and I know the sessions I have had till this point haven’t been necessarily flooded with students, but making a space available for the youth is very important especially during this time. I am reminded of a piece of scripture; “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
Victoria, Sacred Heart Napier Chaplain:
My mission was to continue to keep them active by constantly making sure they would be online every day and in those classes with the teachers.
We kept to our normal schedule by still having prayers weds lunchtimes and Spirit of sacred heart group meetings on Friday. Most of the girls would tune in to the meetings and love to pray for what is happening in our world today. Most of them just loved the meetings because they felt they weren’t the only ones feeling the way they did. It was just great to see them and know that we were still there for one another.