March 13, 2020
Dear Parents of Children and Teens in St. Barnabas Faith Formation and Youth Ministry,
The staff of St. Barnabas have been tracking the spread of COVID-19 and are doing what we can, in union with the Diocese of Charlotte, to slow its spread and flatten the curve of cases. As part of this effort, please follow the guidelines below for faith formation and youth ministry at our parish:
If faith formation and youth ministry are canceled, OR you feel unsafe about having your children/teens attend, please prepare in advance by
- Picking up the grade-appropriate books/materials from your child’s catechist (this Sunday). For teens in youth ministry, I have YouCats or Didache books for high school, and 8th grade Faith & Life textbooks for middle school.
- Creating a Flocknote account (www.flocknote.com) so you can send messages to other families and your catechists. Catechists will communicate regularly with you about what materials you and your child should read.
- If doing faith formation or youth ministry at home, send texts to Simeon Willis (not the catechists) via Flocknote each week when your family has completed the weekly assigned reading. We will give each child/teen credit for this so that s/he will be on track for when you feel comfortable resuming faith formation/youth ministry, or it they are canceled, for when they are held again.
- Most importantly: Praying for our parish, our nation and our world. People are increasingly freaking out. We want control over our lives, but that is an illusion. Life is fragile, and while we should take care of ourselves, this life is always only temporary. Be prudent, but above all, be prayerful! Help your children to focus on Christ during these difficult days ahead. It is morally good to be reasonably prepared at times like these, but we as Catholics must avoid fear. Fear is the enemy of faith. Only one can reign in the heart.
Some ideas for praying daily as families: the readings of the Mass, the rosary, the Bible, spiritual communions, etc. All are very beautiful and helpful in maintaining the faith and participating with Jesus in bringing all to God. One particular prayer I encourage you to say together for an end to this pandemic is the oldest known prayer to Mary. It comes from the Council of Ephesus in AD 431:
Beneath thy compassion, we take refuge, O Mother of God: do not despise our petitions in time of trouble, but rescue us from dangers, only pure one, only blessed one.
Let us pray this together, united in faithful hope in the love of God!
Sincerely in Christ,