The ‘pause for prayer’ initiative has been introduced by the Catholic and Anglican churches as a way for the faithful to show their support for each other and the wider community at this time of uncertainty.
Administrator Delegate Fr Philip Marshall said members of Catholic communities were invited to stop and pray at 8am each Friday.
“This pause can be for just a few minutes to pray for an end to the pandemic; for healing for people suffering from the illness; for those researching a vaccine; for political and community leaders as they try to provide wise leadership; and for health workers as they are at the front line,” he said.
“We also invite where possible, and within community regulations, to ring church bells at 8am on Fridays as an audible sign of the Christian community in prayer for the wider community.”
At this stage it is proposed the Friday morning prayer will continue until at least Pentecost.
Several parishes within the Archdiocese have also started using different social media platforms to stay in touch with their flock.
Some are live streaming Masses on their Facebook page, while the Hindmarsh-Findon parish has chosen the Zoom video conferencing facility as the best way to connect with its elderly congregation. (Zoom sends an invitation via email for people to participate).
Also recognising that some members of its congregation have no access to computers, parish representatives have been hand delivering bulletins to the letterboxes of those people to advise of the new ways to ‘participate’ in Mass. They hope that a close family member may be able to assist the elderly to ‘connect’ via Zoom so they can be part of the Wednesday evening and Sunday morning Masses – from a distance.
Clergy are also being asked to use the time they now have free from normal pastoral duties to keep in touch with their congregations via regular phone calls or social media.
The mandatory closures due to the coronavirus have impacted many businesses and community groups and the Mary MacKillop Precinct at Kensington is no exception.
Closing its doors last month, museum director Sr Mary Ryan RSJ said she hoped that Mary Mackillop’s 1893 observation, ‘let no obstacle deter us from proceeding with courage’ would provide inspiration for everyone during these extraordinary times.
“We hope that Mary, whose courage and resilience shone through her many times of adversity, will continue to be a beacon of hope for those whose lives are being impacted so seriously by COVID-19,” Sr Ryan said.
Since opening in December the museum has welcomed 853 visitors from South Australia, interstate and overseas. They have been impressed by an array of historic artefacts and contemporary features which tell compelling stories of co-founders Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods, as well as the pioneering Sisters who helped their dream become a reality, and those who, captured by the Josephite spirit, continue to respond in a myriad of ways, to the needs of our times.
Tips for family worship at home
- Set up a prayer table with a cross or statue, some flowers and a candle, where the family can gather to say a short prayer together each night. Children can leave their prayer requests on the table during the day, and decorate the table with their drawings.
- At the normal time when the family would attend Mass, establish a ritual around this, making sure it is not too onerous for children. The shorter and simpler, the better!
- Organise some simple family liturgies over Easter, such as the Stations of the Cross in the backyard, with the children involved in creating the stations.
Tips on caring for others
- Check on elderly neighbours and members of your parish community regularly. Offer to shop for them for supplies and make sure you give them a call every few days.
- Pair up young members with older members of your community to provide mutual support.
- Be aware of those in our community who are most vulnerable – and reach out and offer them support.
- Create online communities and for those who don’t have online access, make a list of people to call by telephone.
- For yourself – be kind, patient and keep up a regular exercise routine.