Your Take: Lessons from a year of pandemic and women in parish ministry
‘What the Coronavirus Taught Us About Parish Life’
As a Catholic in his 70’s, I very much miss going to Mass. I don’t miss working or commuting to work or many other activities reserved for the young. But Mass is a place where you meet fellow travelers. We look forward to the liturgical year, the sacraments and greeting people we know. Afterwards we have our Knights’ pancake breakfast and other times coffee and donuts. For many of us raised in the Catholic Church, our oldest memories go back to childhood, when our parents first took us to church. Our bishop has given us a dispensation for a while longer. We will experience great joy to be vaccinated and reunited with our fellow adherents.
‘What the Coronavirus Taught Us About the American Family’
Women are oftentimes caregivers, and their labor is not valued and even frequently denigrated in structural ways by society’s outdated system of metrics. Gross Domestic Product is a metric for a nation’s cumulative production of goods and services. How will all the services alluded to in this article (which are fairly tangible) be included in GDP? GDP is only one lens to use here. More than the tangibles, how does society recognize the intangibles, the values touched on?
Andrew Di Liddo
‘What the Coronavirus Taught Us About Technology’
The availability of online church is a mixed blessing. I’m eager to return to my parish every Sunday, and I tend to stream its Mass on Sundays rather than another. Being able to stream a Mass on weekdays is a treasure. A parish in Massachusetts puts its daily Mass on YouTube very early in the morning and I’ve begun to spend my “coffee time” virtually participating in this 20 minute Mass. No worries about snow, running late for work, etc., and much better than browsing Facebook.
I too am a parish life coordinator and must say you well described a typical day for us, including the priest’s comment, “This is why I am glad you are in charge.” I had no idea of the stress and strain my previous pastor endured until I was appointed to this position. I must say, my days are full and packed with everything from A to Z, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Elizabeth Simcoe’s simple story of just one day in her life as a lay ecclesial minister running the Church of St. Vincent in the Albany Diocese warms my heart. I find it hard to imagine that the Holy Spirit is not trying to speak to us Catholics in these unsettled times through people like Elizabeth, and I hope we will eventually be able to decipher the message.
This is a good example of what parishes can do in the face of the shortage of priests. May Elizabeth Simcoe’s work inspire others.
Elizabeth is one of about 200 people serving parishes in this role around the country. It’s a good model that meets a need—perhaps in the future more bishops will be open to using this model.
This parish shimmers and shines with the vibrant light of Christ. Elizabeth is incredible, and the people of this parish are a testament to living faith. I am privileged to know Elizabeth and many parishioners past and present. We could all take a lesson from what happens here. I have been praying with this Scripture a lot recently and it seems appropriate here: “See, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the wilderness I make a way…” (Is 43:19).
Fran Rossi Szpylczyn