In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the suspension of public Masses, the Diocese of Rochester’s offices of Pastoral Services and Evangelization &Catechesis are working together to provide digital resources for both parishioners and parish staff members.
According to Leslie Barkin, diocesan coordinator of youth and young-adult ministry, resources include information on virtual prayer events, worship and faith sharing in the form of a dedicated web page accessible through the diocesan website.
Bernard Grizard, diocesan director of Pastoral Services, told the Catholic Courier that the COVID-19 page was developed with three types of users in mind: parish staff members needing resources and best practices; parishioners, including homebound children and families, needing faith-based resources; and those needing help in accessing such emergency services as food, shelter and unemployment assistance. The third resource category provides links to such organizations as Catholic Charities, government agencies, and local groups offering support and telemedicine assistance.
The three categories are featured as three boxed icons at the center of the web page https://covid.dor.org. As the site continues to be developed and updated, links to additional resources will be provided, Barkin said.
“For our parish staffs, we are gathering webinars provided by many of the national Catholic organizations about ministering during the COVID-19 crisis,” she explained. “We are also providing resources that are coming to us on the national level from Catholic publishers and other dioceses.”
According to Barkin, this information will help parishes to decide which directions they might want to take within their pastoral ministries. For parishioners, the resources available focus on prayer and spirituality, home learning and dealing with anxiety surrounding the current crisis, she said.
“This website will provide the infrastructure to communicate pastoral and faith-formation resources broadly and in the most user-friendly manner for technically challenged parishioners,” Grizard said. “No additional registration or sign-ins will be necessary.”
The site also provides links to the Catholic Courier’s livestreams of liturgies by Bishop Salvatore R. Matano and to the local parishes that are livestreaming their Masses and can include resources for spiritual Communion or other methods of prayer during the crisis, he said.
“We hope that the public will visit covid.dor.org frequently to assist them in this unprecedented time and keep them connected to our diocesan church,” Barkin said.