Livingston County parish keeps adults learning about the faith - Catholic Courier
Father Jeffrey Tunnicliff, parochial vicar of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Livingston County, leads a video series titled Sacraments: Channels of God’s Grace. (Photo courtesy of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish)

Father Jeffrey Tunnicliff, parochial vicar of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Livingston County, leads a video series titled Sacraments: Channels of God’s Grace. (Photo courtesy of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish)

Livingston County parish keeps adults learning about the faith

St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Livingston County is finding both in-person and online ways to help keep adult parishioners learning about the faith.

Since February 2015, Father Jeffrey Tunnicliff, parochial vicar, has offered such adult faith-formation opportunities as videos and blogs on his Renewal of Faith website. When he was assigned to St. Luke in June 2019, he said he expressed his interest in adult faith formation to Father Bernard Dan, parochial administrator. Father Dan told him parishioners had been asking for that particular type of ministry.

“As soon as I got here, people knew (of my adult faith-formation work), because some people had actually Googled me on the internet and found out I had done this stuff before and had expressed they wanted me to do it (at St. Luke),” Father Tunnicliff said.

He said he began to learn about the saints for whom St. Luke’s worship sites are named — St. Mary in Geneseo, St. Patrick in Mount Morris, Holy Angels in Nunda, St. Thomas Aquinas in Leicester and St. Lucy in Retsof. In the fall of 2019, he conducted a series of three presentations called “Our Saints and Intercessors” regarding the churches’ namesakes.

“Such presentations are something that has been part of my ministry for several years in previous parishes,” he said, adding that he is continuing those efforts in Livingston County.

At the beginning of 2020, Father Tunnicliff began a new series of presentations, titled Sacraments: Channels of God’s Grace.

Although the first of five presentations in the sacraments series had begun on Jan. 8, the fourth presentation was scheduled for March until the coronavirus pandemic forced churches across the Diocese of Rochester to suspend Masses.

Prior to the suspension of Masses, the first three presentations on the sacraments were conducted in person at St. Mary’s parish hall and featured PowerPoint presentations. The sessions were video recorded by Father Tunnicliff and edited to be made available online through his website. As a result of the pandemic, the fourth presentation was completed solely relying on the slideshow presentation.

When the diocese set up Zoom accounts for each parish to use during the pandemic, Father Tunnicliff said he set out to learn how to use the videoconferencing platform. Zoom made it possible for the fifth and final presentation in the sacraments series to be hosted as a live webinar, which was later uploaded to the Renewal of Faith site.

“It was a seamless transition and a gift that Father Tunnicliff took the extra step to continue the series once the quarantine started,” said Linda House, a parishioner who took part in the sacraments series.

According to Father Tunnicliff, while he would have liked to do a webinar at some point anyway, the diocesan effort of providing Zoom accounts to parishes encouraged him all the more.

There were 16 people in attendance during the May 6 webinar, although the previous in-person sessions drew larger crowds of 25 to 40 people.

According to House, the webinar worked very effectively, and the lower attendance compared to the other sessions in no way changed Father Tunnicliff’s enthusiasm to share the material. In addition, she said the webinar was something to look forward to during the pandemic.

“We find the posting of them (the sacrament videos) to be very valuable; all of this series is worth watching a second time,” she remarked.

Following the conclusion of the sacraments series, Father Tunnicliff offered a webinar presentation on Praying with the Trinity in June and continues to offer adult faith-formation presentations through his website about once a month.

Tags: Faith Formation, Livingston County News
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