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How have parishes served the faithful during the pandemic?

How Have Parishes Served the Faithful During the Pandemic?

FAITH asked parish priests and staff

FAITH Catholic conducted a survey of parishes around the country from April 23 to May 7, asking how they have responded to the pandemic crisis. Forty percent of respondents were priests or deacons, and the rest identified as a Director of Religious Education, RCIA director or “other parish staff.”

Here are just some of the results. Overwhelmingly, the biggest fear expressed was that people would not come back once the doors open again.

What tactics or tools are you using now to communicate that you have not used in the past?

•    Livestream/video of Mass and other events: 78%

•    Video conferencing: 72%

•    Phone calls/phone trees: 43%

•    Social media: 30%

•    Email/e-newsletter to parishioners: 30%

•    Mobile apps/mass communication systems: 14%

What has been most effective in caring for parishioners?

•    Phone calls (mentioned in 47% of responses)

•    Livestream Masses and Rosary

•    Daily Mass livestreamed as well as Sunday

•    Facebook Live/Zoom conferencing

•    Electronic newsletter/emails that are honest and convey feeling

•    Drive-thru confessions and blessings

Thinking about a post-pandemic Church, what is your biggest concern?

    Will people come back?

•    Not attending Mass will become habit

•    Decrease in attendance

•    Losing marginal Catholics

•    Parishioners are living in fear

•    What will it look like? Who will return? How will we worship?

•    What is “new normal”?

•    Diminished fidelity to Mass/confession; diminished collections

    Financial stability of parish

•    Inability to have planned fundraisers

    That coronavirus will cause another shutdown

•    Seeing people back at Mass and not knowing who might be sick/infectious

    How to bring people together but keep them socially distant

•    People will be reluctant to gather in groups

•    How to limit the number of people at Mass

    Helping people process what they have gone through

    Catching up on sacraments

What have been the biggest challenges in caring for parishioners?

Communicating effectively

“No feedback from emails”

“Not knowing how people are doing”

Lack of personal contact

“No face-to-face contact, handshakes, hugs”

“Not enough time to write to families more than once”

“Not being together, in community”

“Saying Mass without a congregation”

Tech issues for parishioners

“Elderly parishioners without email/social media”

“Some in community do not have Internet access”

Being present to the sick and dying

“Not being able to visit local hospitals”

“Not being able to visit nursing homes”

Missing the sacraments

“Funerals and weddings and sick calls”

“Frustration of not being able to meet people’s needs”

Economic impact

“Major local employer furloughed its workforce”

“Uncertainty for parishioners”