The commencement of COVID-19 lockdown measures were announced on the 26 March 2020, impacting the deliverance of congregational services and masses. At the time, public schools and catechism classes were on their first quarterly break. As catechists we endeavored to keep contact with parent groups to offer a sense of support during this period of uncertainty.
The urge to connect directly with our parish family became a fundamental desire probed by Holy week occurring during this world pandemic. Lent is an essential period in our faith community, which inspired us to explore alternate channels to create a platform to communicate. Various forms of social media platforms became the viable choice for communication because it offered an accessible space for interaction between parents and children. This form of engagement enables us as catechists to nurture spiritual formation, encouraging the “domestic church’’ to participate deeply within their households. During the period of Holy week through to the Easter Sunday celebration, we shared activities and prayer services, which offered a space for parents to participate with their children.
We have been communicating with parents via WhatsApp, SMS, Google classroom, email and phone call. These platforms fostered a virtual connection with the parents, inspiring and offering us a space to prepare and share weekly lessons according to our catechetical syllabus. Invitations to participate in lessons were encouraged. Pace of completion was dependent on the parents as no deadlines or pressure was added because of our awareness of the demands parents face. Parents are working from home, assisting children with schoolwork, completing everyday household demands and still faced with the strain and stress brought about by this pandemic. So our desire was to create a space that did not offer additional pressure.
The interaction and response from the parents via social media has been very positive. A sense of excitement is experienced from the families when they post their ‘family participation pictures’. The drawings, messages and images received from the children offers us catechists a sense of joy, watching them attain spiritual nourishment. Initially, the parent’s response to the catechetical programs on social media was slow, however progression is growing steadily. We are aware that this is a new platform that requires time to adjust and get used to.
We continue to pray for an end to this pandemic and for all affected by the disease.
With light and strength,