The 2020 year of ministry in the Parish Community of Our Lady of Fatima, Piccadilly, NL Canada, is mostly an account of our ministry in the midst of the worldwide Covid-19 Pandemic as we continued to make efforts to be present to our parishioners during this disconcerting and difficult period. Our first Pandemic lockdown came in March 2020, cancelling all Lenten Services with the closure of the Church, the pivotal place in this small community.
Each Wednesday and Thursday contact was maintained with as many of the parishioners as we were able to reach by telephone. For the most part our church going parishioners are the older people of the community, and these responded very positively to the personal contact each week by a phone call. These calls have become very important to these people and we continue this phone ministry each week.
During this time of pandemic shut-down, we were impressed to see many people drive up, park outside the Church and pray the Rosary.
With the Covid-19 lockdown Margie and I received many gestures of kindness and concern from the people in our community. Gifts of food were brought to us on a regular basis and calls came to inquire if we needed anything picked up at the shops in Stephenville, (a larger nearby town) or if there was anything that needed to be done around the church buildings and/or the convent. Times of our birthdays brought parishioners holding large cardboard Happy Birthday greetings, staying socially distanced, but the thoughtfulness came through loud and clear. During these difficult days we often wondered who was ministering to whom.
We were happy to be in contact with our two PBVM Sisters in nearby communities, Sisters Betty Daniels and Regina Quigley. E-mails and phone calls and a couple of masked visits, helped greatly during these days of isolation and shutdown.
We happily returned to the Church of our “new normal” in June of 2020, socially distanced and masked, and in solidarity with the world-wide community. Our church is small so we saw a return of 30-35 parishioners for the Sunday Liturgies.
The year, though difficult and scary, held many blessings and the year ended with a happy celebration of the Christmas Season, as with grateful hearts we set our hopes to the New Year of 2021.
Submitted by: Sr Rosalie Carey on behalf of both Rosalie and Margie.
Beginning with the 1st week of February 2020 and following the Christmas break, we resumed our weekly spirituality sessions at our Nano Nagle Spirituality Centre, where I live and am Director, continuing from where we left off in December. The Winter Program, an online program which I facilitated, was an 8-module presentation, “Re-imagine Healing” by Anita Moorjani. We had three separate small groupings, held each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 1:30 to 4:00. Each group follows the same program and a member from each group forms a team to assist me in the sessions.
All of us were disappointed when in mid-March Covid-19 and the pandemic forced the closure of so many social events. We had to discontinue our gatherings … and isolation from one another began. It became a difficult time for us all. Not knowing at this time how long it would last, we had set our hopes on just a few weeks. Little did we know it would be for many months.
Though it was a huge challenge trying to adjust to the alienation, and the opportunity to continue my ministry that was very dear to me, I took some time to reflect on how I could look at an alternative ministry that could be possible, at least temporarily. That wasn’t difficult because all around us were lonely, fearful, and needy seniors who were crying out for help, for connection, for someone to talk with. I decided to begin a phone ministry with some of these people whom I knew. I called this ministry “Companioning Seniors”.
As the weeks went by and some restrictions were being slowly lifted, I was able to become a designated visitor on a small scale to seniors in a Retirement Home and Long-Term Care, I also was able to visit seniors in their homes again on a small-scale. Through later Spring and Summer months, as more restrictions were lifted in our area, I was happy to take them for drives and some little treats and offer them some semblance of normal life to lift their spirits a little.
By mid-October we were happy to be granted permission to gather again in small groups and so, with joyful hearts, we returned to our Program sessions.
My ministries have been “Companioning Seniors”, and “Enriching Mid-lifers”. As spring begins to send shoots up, it’s time for gardening once again at the Centre. Now I have also been “Engaging Teenagers” as two beautiful young people have offered to help around the property with my flower beds, along with my “old faithfuls” from other years.
Submitted by: Sr Betty Daniels