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March 31, 2020

Resources for pastors and parish leaders

Resources for pastors and parish leaders

As pastors and parish leaders, it is difficult to know what to do in these days when every personal contact and pastoral initiative seems to be thwarted. OCP wants to help you in reaching out to people of all ages in your communities. Here are some ideas.

For children

It may be that the children are the hardest hit by these days of confinement. Trying to understand why they can’t visit friends, or go to school or church might be difficult for younger Christians. Offering them materials to strengthen their relationship with Jesus might help ease their minds and hearts.

Stories and Songs of Jesus, More Stories and Songs of Jesus, Many More Stories and Songs of Jesus and Palabras y Cantos de Jesús – These all have leadership books, CDs and activity books to help pass the time and learn about Jesus. Pastoral leaders could hold distance formation sessions using these resources.

The Way of the Cross for Children – Celebrating Lent and Easter is a real challenge in many places this year. This resource includes everything needed for a livestreamed celebration of Good Friday for children.

Could I Paint the Sky – This book has a great message — for people of all ages — in this time when we feel so helpless. The story centers around a little girl named Madeline Judith, who wants to work for God. She asks God if she could paint the sky for him. When God says, “No,” she realizes that there are special jobs for each of us to do. While they might not be great big jobs — “like moving mountains or painting the sky” — God knows we are willing to help. In these days, it may well be that the best thing we can ever do is to stay at home and pray for the whole world.

For young adults

Choose Christ Missal – Much more than just a missal, this resource has brief catecheses on the sacraments of the Church and on the rites of Adoration and Funerals, as well as a form of prayer in the morning, evening and night. In these times when the days can seem to drag on, the songs and texts of this resource can help give meaning to the time spent in isolation.

Walking the Sacred Path – This collection of 30 songs is a reflection on the 30-day Ignatian method — perfect for these times. Author and composer Dan Schutte explains that the listener is able to use “the power of imagination to enter into the story of Jesus as presented in the Scripture. We allow ourselves to become one of the people in the Bible story, to see, hear, smell, taste and respond to what is going on.”

For adults

A Contemplative Rosary – Through the use of images and texts, Bob Hurd and friends have created a resource that invites us to rediscover the rosary as a form of contemplative prayer. Designed for both communal and individual recitation, A Contemplative Rosary engages the whole person through music, Scripture, icons and meditations. It is at times like this that we need to return to basic prayers and rely on the help of Mary, our Mother. This resource includes the Luminous Mysteries, as well as the Sorrowful, Joyful and Glorious Mysteries.

Books by OCP composers – Over the years, many of our composers have written books that reflect upon life’s challenges. In the case of Michael Joncas, On Eagle’s Wings recounts his personal struggle with Guillain-Barré syndrome and, in doing so, guides others toward God’s loving care and comfort on the journey from sickness to recovery. For those affected by the virus, this is a story of hope. Roc O’Connor has written two books, both suitable for this time: I Want to See and In the Midst of Our Storms. Both titles point to their usefulness in these days. Bob Hurd’s first book, Compassionate Christ, Compassionate People, provides a liturgical spirituality that will help the faithful who feel removed from the liturgy.

Celebrating Marriage – Couples preparing for marriage are probably experiencing particular stresses in these days. What to do if the wedding can’t go forward as planned? Pastorally speaking, getting back to basics and examining the purpose of the Order of Matrimony can help them to understand what is truly important. Use this resource to help continue in their preparation for this sacrament.

Missals – OCP is offering 50% off of missals for use at home. With so many places unable to have public liturgies, this physical connection to the parish and its liturgy can be a powerful tool for keeping the parish family together. See my previous blogs on how to use your missals at home on Sundays and throughout Holy Week.

OCP is here to help you in your ministry. Be assured of our prayers and ongoing help for you and your people. To find more ways of engaging your assembly during this time, read our blog on parish resources.