Parishes turn to technology in the age of coronavirus

Father Tim Furlow, administrator of St. Patrick Parish in Northwest Portland, shared a note with parishioners through Instagram on the church’s patronal feast day. (Facebook)

As the outside world shifts to make way for life in the age of the coronavirus, so too have Catholic parishes. Events are canceled. Masses are canceled. Bible studies are canceled. Public liturgies are canceled. So, pastors and their staff across the Archdiocese of Portland are making efforts to reach their flocks through nontraditional means.

St. Pius X Parish in Northwest Portland is offering parishioners live-streamed Masses available on the parish website and on the parish’s Facebook page. Streaming allows community members to watch the Mass together. “We got great feedback and lots of attendance on that platform,” said Kristin Mombert, director of faith formation at St. Pius X. The staff also are regularly touching base with parishioners on Facebook and Instagram with a staff-led morning prayer at 9 a.m. and a lunchtime gratitude quote. At 2:45 p.m. there are live teachings Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, praise and worship or song on Thursdays and the upcoming bulletin article on Fridays. The staff finish up the daily postings with sharing faith through an end-of-business-day article or quote.

Shepherd of the Valley Parish in Central Point also is reaching out to the community primarily over social media. Staff regularly upload prayers, announcements and streaming videos on Facebook, including daily Mass. The staff plan to stream English and Spanish Masses on Sundays. “We are also doing many other prayers and devotions on Facebook Live,” said Father Stephen Kenyon, parochial vicar at the church, noting that parishioners prayed the rosary with Pope Francis over Facebook Live on Thursday.

Christ the King Parish in Milwaukie is leaving the church open during the day for parishioners to come in and worship before the Eucharist in the tabernacle. Confessions and adoration are continuing at the church and the parish is working on a way to air Masses online. Msgr. John Cihak, pastor of Christ the King, sent a list of activities in which parishioners may want to participate. Among them was watching Mass online or on TV, meditating with Scripture, praying the rosary as a family and praying the chaplet of divine mercy as a family.

St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro is offering pre-recorded Masses for the faithful through ABBA Television. ABBA Television has applications on Roku TV, Android, Apple and Amazon Fire. The application can be used to view the Masses at St. Matthew. The daily and weekly Masses can all be seen on the parish’s Facebook page.

Holy Redeemer Parish in North Portland has sent a selection of Sunday Mass options to parishioners, all of which can be viewed on the internet including Mass from Notre Dame University.

In a note to parishioners, Holy Cross Father Patrick Neary clarified that the daily Mass said at the Portland church would be a private Mass with just the two priests in residence. “But we will be praying for you each day when we offer it,” wrote Father Neary.

St. Thomas More Church in Southwest Portland is open to the public during the parish’s office hours, except for the times that Father Martin King, pastor, is celebrating Mass. In a letter to his flock, Father King told parishioners to set aside time daily or at least weekly for prayer. “You may want to consider praying the rosary as a family,” said Father King, adding another option of logging on to an online media source to pray or study.

Having a high-quality television installed in the church, St. Edward Parish in Keizer is making available live-streamed daily Masses, Sunday Mass, the Stations of the Cross, a holy hour and talks that are in development. The videos are available on the parish website.

Like many parishes, The Madeline in Northeast Portland is using email to reach its members. The parish staff, who are all working remotely, are sending periodic inspirational messages with ways to stay connected. The parish is also creating an electronic alternative to the weekly parish bulletin. “The Madeleine is taking a very elevated response to this pandemic and refraining from any communal gathering of any sort, regardless of the recommendation to limit all contact to no more than 10 people,” said Darlene Maurer, pastoral assistant at the parish.

As St. Ignatius Church in Southeast Portland, the staff is keeping the parish’s website current with tips from the family life coordinator on how to walk through stressful events and reflections from the parish’s recently finished novena of grace in honor of St. Francis Xavier.

St. Frederic Parish in St. Helens is not having Mass for the public. “If people call and they have internet, I have given them the times for daily Mass on EWTN,” said Phyllis Dahlin, bookkeeper at the parish. “They may also come into our chapel and pray.”

Sacred Heart Parish in Portland is livestreaming Mass every Sunday at 10 a.m. on the parish’s Facebook page. The pastor, Father Bob Barricks, also is communicating throughout the week to members, offering spiritual guidance and support.

St. Anthony Parish in Waldport is staying connected with members through email. Mass will be recorded and then posted to the parish’s Facebook page afterward. Father Joseph Hoang also is collecting selfies from parishioners to tape to the pews during Mass.

St. Joseph Parish in Salem has canceled Masses and closed its office but it has presented several options for spiritual guidance on its website. On the list are watching daily Mass and Sunday Mass on EWTN, praying the rosary, praying the chaplet of divine mercy, exploring or reading a spiritual book. “The adoration chapel remains open but only 10 people are allowed until further notice,” said Isabel Rico, administrative assistant at St. Joseph.

At St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Southeast Portland, parishioners are encouraged to receive a Flocknote, a text or email message going out to all members at once. For 14 days, beginning March 28, a Flocknote goes out to members with one Station of the Cross. “The idea is that everyone would pray along at 3 p.m. until we’ve reached the final station on Good Friday,” said Terri Fessler Boris, administrative assistant at St. Joseph the Worker.

Holy Redeemer Parish in North Bend is encouraging parishioners to visit the parish website for updates, information, resources and a daily livestream of the Mass.

Immaculate Conception Parish in Stayton is making the Mass available to the faithful through the parish’s Facebook page every Sunday at 9 a.m.

St. Henry Parish in Gresham is putting a recorded Mass on YouTube and the parish’s website starting March 22. The parish bulletin also is available for the faithful on the website.

St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Southwest Portland is regularly updating its website with its latest offerings. Staff will be providing a video and handout with a Sunday celebration and are forming groups, a program called “Gathered in His Name,” to meet virtually and share questions.

All Saints Parish in Northeast Portland is making three Masses available online each week, two during the week and one during the weekend. The Masses will ready for access on Facebook and the parish’s website. The staff has asked parishioners to send in names of loved ones living in senior living and nursing homes, to become the prayer intentions for Mass celebrated in the church. Father Jeyamani Paul, pastor of All Saints, has asked parishioners to set aside a certain time to pray in their families, so that every family will be praying from home at the same time. The priest has suggested family pray the stations of the cross on Fridays at 5 p.m., the rosary on Saturdays at 5 p.m. and a prayer to Mary each night at 5 p.m. On Holy Thursday, the parish will be exposing the Eucharist from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the church. Similarly, the Good Friday cross will be at the center of the altar on that day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for faithful wishing to meditate on the Passion of the Lord. All Triduum Masses will be made available on the parish’s website.

St. Mary Parish in Albany has supplied a list of online Masses to members, including EWTN, the Sunday 11 a.m. cathedral Mass with Archbishop Alexander Sample on the archdiocesan Facebook page and Mass with Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop Robert Barron on his website Staff also has gathered a list of other resources, including Stations of the Cross, prayers and videos.

St. Cecilia Parish in Beaverton connecting with parishioners regularly on social media, posting live Masses, prayers and encouraging notes on its Facebook page.

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