This is an evolving page to help us continue our Catholic life while we are away from our worshipping communities. Coronavirus is a challenge to many areas of life, and this page will grow with new resources including how to access live-streamed Mass, prayer and formation at home, and practical help in the community.
Getting to Mass
There are no public Masses for the foreseeable future, but we can still be together and worship, if at a distance. This article from Fr Nicolaas Sintobin, gives helpful tips on attending Mass digitally: https://www.pathwaystogod.org/resources/ignatian-insight/five-tips-enjoy-digital-celebration-fullest
We can join with Bishop David and the diocese for 11am Mass at the Cathedral on Sunday. The Cathedral Masses are all live-streamed (Sat 6pm, Sun 8.30, 11am and 5.15pm) and you can access them here: https://northamptondiocese.org/live/ Some local parishes are also live-streaming their Masses, so check your parish website to see if this is happening near you. If you want to live-stream from your church, click here for an excellent guide to live-streaming from the Church of England.
New! We know that for people with intellectual disabilities, going to church is both a spiritual and social space for to share their lives and faith. In this time of uncertainty, with our churches closed to the public, things are particularly difficult. The Kairos Forum is providing valuable resources. Visit the Kairos site or the CBCEW page: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/our-work/health-social-care/coronavirus-guidelines/accessible-communication/ You can find a signed Mass here: https://www.churchservices.tv/pottersbar/embed
You can find the official statement on our current status from our diocese here, and see Cardinal Vincent’s video message. https://northamptondiocese.org/covid-19-liturgical-response/
Join with Pope Francis and Catholics across the world in daily prayer, Mass, and Angelus from the Vatican News website: https://www.vaticannews.va/en.html. Find the full text of Pope Francis’ Urbi et Orbi blessing here: http://www.nores.org.uk/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=-p1n6diBocA%3d&tabid=172
NORES also have prayers and refections, including information on spiritual communion, a priest’s reflection on saying Mass on his own, and lovely Stations of the Cross: http://www.nores.org.uk/SCHOOLLEADERSHIP/COVID/tabid/172/Default.aspx
Grieving and saying goodbye
Grieving is difficult at the best of times, but even more so at the moment. The website artofdyingwell.org has helpful pages on dealing with grief and saying goodbye in current circumstances.
The Liturgy Office has produced a service sheet that can be used for prayer when a funeral is happening for those that can’t attend:
Looking after the Vulnerable
Many of our parishioners are over seventy, or with underlying health conditions, and face a long time shut in their homes. At the same time we have many parishioners wanting to help. Our parish Call and Care scheme gives a simple structure for matching volunteers and vulnerable parishioners with safeguarding and GDPR built in. It has been developed with the SVP and with the help of the safeguarding and data management offices. Click here to find out more, and to download all the information, guidance and forms you need.
Some advice from experienced social distancers:
Alone Together: a project from Million Minutes, CTVC and Fr Christopher Jamieson, pulling together experiences of being in isolation from within the monastic tradition and from further afield. There are a whole host of videos and reflections from across the religions on being alone and finding God:
Looking to a new normal
It’s becoming clear that our current situation is not going to be over soon. Many things will have changed by the time we are back in our churches, from missing faces in our communities, to those newly worried about debt and employment, but also the flourishing environment, and for many people a slower pace of life. What will our communities look like after lock down? Here are some resources to help us start to imagine…
Divine Renovation have a fantastic guide to “Ministering in the new reality” covering messaging, meeting, ministry and money. It has lots of very practical examples and tips: download it here: https://divinerenovation.org/rkreality
Divine Renovation UK is bringing together practitioners in parishes and Catholic life in conversation about nurturing community through this crisis. Register here for their weekly webinars.
Catholic Voices are offering weekly free webinars from top Catholic thinkers including Fr Steve Grunnow, CEO of Word on Fire, and Fiona O’Reilly from Divine Renovation: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/cv-connect/register
The Sycamore evangelisation courses are free for use until August 2020, and they offer excellent advice about taking your group online.
Alpha is offering help to parishes wanting to take their courses online: https://alpha.org.uk/alpha-online. You can register here for a free webinar to get hints and tips to get started.
Adele Angel from Brentwood Diocese is a freelance consultant, walking with parishes to help them grow. In this Coronavirus leaflet, she offers a host of ideas of keeping parish communities together through lockdown.
Our parishes are suffering a dramatic fall in income with the churches closed. If you usually give by cash or envelopes, you can set up a standing order which will really help your parish through these uncertain times. You can also give a one-off gift. We know that many people are facing financial difficulties at this time, but any help would be very gratefully received. Find more information here: https://northamptondiocese.org/donate/
Catholic Icing has a fantastic collection of resources from children’s homilies to printable sheets, weekly videos, and ideas for setting up your home for live-streamed Mass. https://www.catholicicing.com/weekly-mass-resources-for-kids/
Cafod are running virtual Children’s Liturgy sessions each week at 10am. Click here to sign up.
Beautiful hands on prayer activities designed for families at home https://www.prayerspacesinschools.com/prayer-spaces-at-home The first one involves setting up a prayer den with duvets and sheets – I’m there!
Tips on living as a Catholic family through lockdown: http://catholicmom.com/2020/04/15/tips-for-catholic-families-during-the-pandemic/
The Diocese of Westminster has excellent Children’s Liturgy sheets which can be used for family conversation around the weekly readings: https://rcdow.org.uk/faith/catechesis/childrens-liturgy/
Weekly videos for young people from LifeTeen: https://www.youtube.com/user/LifeTeenInc/search?query=easter
Resources for prayer and formation at home
New! Great movie recommendations from the Daughters of St Paul: http://media.pauline.org/Resources/Blog/ArticleID/4377/Hunkered-Down-and-Waiting-–-Contemplating-the-Eucharist-on-Screen-during-COVID-19 See their twitter feed for film reviews, helpful articles and much more: https://twitter.com/PaulineMediaEd
New! Pause for thought with Fr Stephen Wang: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbrIxeH2TSwEc8eVwwMGv8w
New! Weekly homilies from the Dominicans: https://www.english.op.org/torch#jump
New! Hozana, a huge collection of online prayer groups that you can join, hosted by the Catholic Truth Society.
Pray-as-you-go have released a daily retreat, Pray-as-you-stay, a series of audio reflections on being at home and self-isolating: https://pray-as-you-go.org/article/pray-as-you-stay-week-1. Explore the rest of the site to find reflections on the daily readings, rosary reflections, and a series of prayer tools addressing loneliness, grief, and anxiety.
Prayers in time of ‘flu and illness’. From the national Liturgy Office: http://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/Flu/Prayer-Flu.pdf
‘Making it a Retreat’ for those self-isolating. A lovely, almost monastic, daily structure of prayer and work to make self-isolation easier: http://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/Flu/Retreat.pdf
An amazingly international facebook group called: Christ, Covid, Community: https://www.facebook.com/groups/267518617576684/
Resources from the God Who Speaks campaign for dwelling in Scripture through these difficult times: https://www.cbcew.org.uk/home/events/the-god-who-speaks/word-at-home/
Online talks from Cafod looking at a range of topics from mental health, how COVID-19 will affect development, and also a lovely prayer and chat time each week. https://cafod.org.uk/Volunteer/Online-talks
Just like spiritual communion, spiritual confession is a provision the Church makes for us for times like these.
Cardinal Vincent explains more about it in this video.
Helping in the community
This is a strange time to be volunteering as many charities, including food banks, homeless meals, and dementia clubs come to terms with social distancing. At the same time there are many new needs to be met. CSAN have produced a Pandemic Planning Template for parishes to use:
The Cinnamon Network has helpful tips for good ways to help the wider community: https://www.cinnamonnetwork.co.uk/connecting-with-your-community/ Many local communities are setting up their own groups to look after the elderly and vulnerable via the Good Neighbours Scheme: check out your local Council webpage for more details. You can also volunteer via the NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme: https://www.goodsamapp.org/NHS.
Even if churches are closed, don’t forget to support your local food bank. See Trussell Trust for more information.
Keeping your prayer group or Bible Study group going remotely
Keeping isolated in our houses for weeks is hard, especially if you live alone, or if you are worried about your family. Maris Nicholson took her mums’ prayer group online using Facebook messager video: read more about it here: https://formationpathways.co.uk/parish-blog/. Other ways to keep your group going include:
Here is a 3 minute video introduction to taking your group online from Ascension Press: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyJ-3vWmHTA&feature=youtu.be And see this page for great tips on running prayer groups remotely, from conference and video calls to social media groups.
Keep your usual meeting time, and using WhatsApp group chat or alternative, work through a Scripture passage or post prayers and intentions. The group leader can lead people through the session. It’s very powerful to know that people are praying at the same time as you.
Set up a regular time each day for your parish to say morning and evening prayer. Even if you’re saying on your own, you know you’ll be joining with a wider community (including those saying the same prayers all around the world). You can find the words on the Universalis website: https://universalis.com. Laudate is a free Catholic app with the daily office and lots of other readings and prayers: https://catholicapps.com/laudate/
“Trusting the young” – see Brandon Vogt’s blog post here about getting parishes online by involving young people. What ideas do they have?
Use Netflix Party to watch a movie with a religious theme together (good suggestions here on Busted Halo: https://bustedhalo.com/ministry-resources/curate-your-own-lenten-movie-marathon)
Don’t forget to advertise your group via your parish website and email group. Lots of people are stuck at home and may have the time to join you. You could also ask for prayer intentions so that you can hold the prayer needs of your parish during your meeting.
Resources for Easter
We have created a separate page for Easter resources: see here