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Being Pastorelle in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic

Provincia Filippine - Australia - Saipan - Taiwan

Inserita il: 20/07/2020

2 commentario(i) ...


Our small community in Adelaide wishes to share with you something of our experience in responding to the challenge confronting us because of the lockdown and social distancing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. 
 
Our community is composed of Sr Rita, Sr Josie and Sr Estelita but the latter has not yet been able to join us from Melbourne due to the closure of the South Australia border to Victorians.
 
With the parish Church closed to worshippers, Fr Allan Winter, parish priest of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Payneham with Sr Josie promptly created a Parish Bulletin available in digital form to all parishioners who had access to the internet.  The bulletin featured Fr Allan’s homily as well as valuable information from the archdiocese and links to Home Masses and personal/family prayer. The parishioners’ response was positive and very much appreciated. As restrictions were lifted and parishioners were able to attend Mass (though in limited numbers), Sr Josie, in agreement with Fr Allan, began to update the parish records with details including email addresses.
 
This helped to increase the number of parishioners receiving the bulletin especially during the week of celebration of St Anthony’s feast which is an annual major festival in the parish.
 
People could still access the daily devotions and the Gospel reflections provided generously by Fr Allan. Many parishioners have commented on how they are finding the weekly digital page inspiring and encouraging during these difficult times and even share it with their friends. 
 
Similarly, in the parish of St Martin, Greenacres/ Walkerville, the parish bulletin has been sent to all families with email addresses. In addition, the members of the Parish Council were each assigned ten to fifteen parishioners who did not have an email and were mandated to fortnightly keep in touch with them on the phone and where possible drop the hard copy of the parish bulletin in their mailbox.
 
At the archdiocesan level, the second year theology students scheduled for a three-day live-in retreat at the Jesuit Centre in Seven Hill, on the theme Jesus knocking at the door (Rev 3:20) had to cancel it due to the Corona pandemic. Consequently, their coordinators invited spiritual directors in the Archdiocese if they would make themselves available to accompany the retreatants, using the platform of Zoom over a four weeks Retreat in Daily life.
 
Sr Rita was most pleased to accept the invitation. As Pastorelle in the ministry of the care of souls, our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, would be encouraging us to engage in this ministry using the most modern means so as to journey with people and support them where they are.
 
He would exhort us to be creative and become more familiar and skilled in the use of such means. 
 
The Retreat in Daily Life online takes place over four weeks and we meet with the directees six times. Sr Rita had the privilege of accompanying two young married men with family and full time work, desirous to be at the service of the Church once they completed their studies. As well as listening and staying with what each brought to the encounter, there were the weekly Scripture themes based on the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises. The encounter is one hour long and focuses on what happened during the prayer times, especially in regards to thoughts, feelings, movements, and any experience that occurred during the week that the directees felt important to bring to the encounter. By the end of the four weeks, each directee felt a deeper inner freedom that flowed into the quality of their relationships. Also a sense of being closer to the Lord and strengthened in their love for him and a keen desire and will to keep growing in their spiritual journey and their commitment in life.
 
Globally, the pandemic is still with us and hopefully a cure will be found soon. But new doors have been opened to us in the expression of our care of souls by reading the signs of our times, taking up the challenge and using the means of the digital world that are available today, to spread the Word of God and use them to nurture and sustain our life in Christ. 

 

Sr Josie Labata and Sr Rita Ruzzene





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Sr. Estelita (Australia)

22/07/2020 | 05:57

May the Pastorelle continue to be life giving to our people in this challenging time, even with the simple smile and gentle words that we can afford to show them amidst physical restrictions due to Covid 19. Happy Josie (who just arrived in the parish) is on the go, in happy collaboration with the Parish Priest, Fr. Allan. More power Rita and Josie.

Sr. Ignacia Coching

21/07/2020 | 00:24

Thank you Sisters for sharing. Very inspiring initiatives and it's good to hear the positive responses from people. Truly pastoral care is highly needed during this challenging situation. May we continue to be one!

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