As we inch closer to resuming the public celebration of Mass in time for Pentecost, parish communities, shrines, schools and other entities across the eight-county Catholic Diocese of Cleveland continue fine-tuning new methods of communication with the faithful. The onset of the coronavirus pandemic abruptly shifted things from the normal church bulletin, pulpit and school announcements to a variety of other platforms including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. It forced many staff and volunteers at parishes to become overnight experts in new ways of communication – and they rose to the challenge.
Clergy members experimented with livestreaming or taping Masses, devotions, Bible study, fireside chats and even tours of the parish. In the schools, creativity ruled as teachers and students found fun ways to implement distance learning and to celebrate the end of the school year.
Below are a few more examples of how some entities are working to stay connected as the pandemic continues.
Virtual tours, ‘Pints with Padre’ St. Patrick and St. Vincent de Paul parishes, Cleveland
Father John Pfeifer is shepherding two parishes in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood: St. Patrick and St. Vincent de Paul. He’s nearing the anniversary of his first year as pastor and has been working hard with parish staff and volunteers to ensure that members of both parishes are kept in the loop on announcements regarding public Masses, parish events, etc.
He’s found some interesting ways to stay connected with his flock, including offering virtual tours of both parishes and an online chat session he called “Pints with Padre.”
Father Pfeifer invited everyone to take a YouTube virtual tour of each parish as he pointed out some of the features of the church, grounds and even the rectory/parish office. St. Patrick, established in 1848, is an imposing sandstone structure at the corner of Rocky River Drive and Puritas Avenue. St. Vincent de Paul, established in 1922, sits near the corner of Lorain Avenue and Berea Road.
Father Pfeifer encouraged parishioners from each parish – and others -- to visit the churches and admire their features once public liturgies resume later this month. The current St. Patrick Church dates to 1898 while the St. Vincent building is a newer, brick structure. Although both parish schools are closed, the buildings are used by charter schools.
In addition to the parish tours, he uses traditional Facebook, Flocknote and YouTube platforms to stay connected with parishioners, offering both livestreamed and taped Masses from each church during the week and on Sundays, as well as the rosary and evening prayer. There was a virtual May crowning earlier this month and other devotions.
On May 16, he launched the first “Pints with Padre” Facebook Live event. Parishioners and other interested people were invited to grab their favorite beverage, tune in and chat. Questions were plentiful.
“I’m looking forward to when we can all be together again,” Father Pfeiffer told his parishioners.
Shrine will welcome visitors, Our Lady of Lourdes National Shrine, Euclid
The Sisters of the Most Holy Trinity are making arrangements for the public celebration of Masses to resume the weekend of May 30-31 at Our Lady of Lourdes National Shrine, 21281 Chardon Road, Euclid.
Sister Phyllis Ann, OSST, said there will be a take-out only spaghetti dinner at the shrine on May 21.
The 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass will resume on June 7, as will the 4 p.m. service.
“When you come, you will see sings for social distancing, every other bench – both inside and outside – will be marked out of use. There will be markers on the ground and floor telling you where to stand for a 6-foot distance for receiving holy Communion,” she said.
The sisters, who operate the shrine, ask that everyone bring a face mask and be sure to have their own hand sanitizer.
For more information, visit ststrinity.com or call 216-481-8232 or 216-481-8276.
Window posters and videos, St. Albert the Great Parish, North Royalton
St. Albert the Great Parish has been busy throughout the coronavirus health emergency. The parish community has been sharing school family prayer window posters and encouraging people to display them in their windows. The poster reads, “School family praying for an end to COVID-19” and it includes the school name and logo in the yellow and blue school colors.
St. Albert the Great also got some media attention when a teacher was shown dancing before a lesson – click here to see the clip -- and the staff did an imitation of the “Brady Bunch” TV show intro called “The Saint Albert Bunch.”
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