Union: NL – Sharing Stories of Parish Ministry, Piccadilly, NL, during COVID-19

20 May, 2021
Sister Rosalie at a arish baptism pre-COVID

The 2020 year of ministry in the parish community of Our Lady of Fatima, Piccadilly, NL Canada, is mostly an account of our ministry in the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic as we continued to make efforts to be present to our parishioners during this disconcerting and difficult period. Our first pandemic lockdown came in March 2020, cancelling all Lenten services with the closure of the church, the pivotal place in this small community.

Each Wednesday and Thursday contact was maintained with as many of the parishioners as we were able to reach by telephone. For the most part our church going parishioners are the older people of the community, and these responded very positively to the personal contact each week by a phone call. These calls have become very important to these people and we continue this phone ministry each week.

Sister Margie at parish liturgy

During this time of pandemic shut down we were impressed to see many people drive up, park outside the church and pray the rosary.

We happily returned to the church of our “new normal” in June of 2020, socially distanced and masked, and in solidarity with the world-wide community. Our church is small so we saw a return of 30-35 parishioners for the Sunday liturgies.

With the COVID-19 lockdown, Margie and I received many gestures of kindness and concern from the people in our community. Gifts of food were brought to us on a regular basis and calls came to inquire if we needed anything picked up at the shops in Stephenville, (a larger nearby town) or if there was anything that needed to be done around the church buildings and/or the convent.  Times of our birthdays brought parishioners holding large cardboard “Happy Birthday” greetings, staying socially distanced, but the thoughtfulness came through loud and clear. During these difficult days we often wondered who was ministering to whom.

We were happy to be in contact with our two Presentation Sisters in nearby communities, Sisters Betty Daniels and Regina Quigley. E-mails and phone calls and a couple of masked visits, helped greatly during these days of isolation and shutdown.

The year, though difficult and scary, held many blessings and the year ended with a happy celebration of the Christmas season, as with grateful hearts we set our hopes to the New Year of 2021.

Submitted by Sister Rosalie Carey on behalf of Rosalie and Margie