LOCAL Lay Chaplain and youth-worker, Fran Walsh, has been busy raising awareness online for teenagers in the Oxford area. Fran works with the Birmingham Catholic Youth Service (BCYS) whereby Oxford is in it’s Archdiocese.
Fran’s work has included raising awareness by doing live Instagram and YouTube videos, describing how you can still attend church from home, but also how you can ‘be the church’.
In an almost 40-minute live Instagram video, Fran and her parish friend, local seminarian, and a young man discerning the call to priesthood, Jonny, inspired teens to pray, communicate, and have faith – all from the luxury of their homes during this unprecedented lockdown.
Religion is a concept which is celebrated for being historic and classic – however, churches internationally are making great efforts to virtualise their standard operations, with Fran mentioning that her parish are conducting Zoom meetings currently where they celebrate mass and drink tea together.
In the live video, Fran stated “To be honest, I think I’ve seen my parish family more in the last 5 weeks than any other time in my life.”
Outside of her dedication to her parish and church, Fran is a Lay Chaplain at a local Cowley school, St Gregory the Great – where she gave students a top 10 tips for attending a virtual mass:
- Find One – Fran explains that you can participate in local AND worldwide mass’.
- Invite others to join – Jonny explains that some families attend the online mass while messaging remote family members on Whatsapp.
- Get up and get dressed – be your ‘squeaky clean self’ ready for Sunday mass to help with concentration.
- Play the video on the largest screen you have – you can compliment this with candles to enhance your mass experience.
- Get your Missals out – follow along with the readings to help you stay focussed. You can also use an App if you don’t have a Missal.
- Say your responses out loud – it helps you to engage with mass as if you were there in person.
- Read the ‘Prayer for Spiritual Communion’ – you can pray this instead of receiving holy communion.
- Leave a comment on the live stream – this lets the community know that you’re there, and helps you become part of it.
- Do the virtual ‘Afterparty’ – participate in tea/coffee and biscuits over a video chat.
- Remember ‘this won’t last forever‘ – the current pandemic will be ‘over before you know it’!
If you’re interested in joining one of the live events, see the information below:
- BYCS Instagram Page: @birminghamcys
- Parishes with Live Streams: https://www.birminghamdiocese.org.uk/parishes-with-live-streams