Take advantage of these initiatives to connect with your faith online

While Covid has shutdown pretty much everything - including churches - here are some great online initiatives from the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation to sustain and enrich your spiritual life

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Lockdowns driving you crazy? Try some of the new online initiatives from the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Centre for Evangelisation. There’s something for everyone. Photo: Archdiocese of Sydney Centre for Evangelisation

The Covid lockdowns of the last two years have obviously been problematic for Catholics just as much as other faiths. Perhaps one silver lining for Catholics is that they have shown or reminded us of how important some of the things we had taken for granted really are – like a regular Sunday Mass, or being free to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation at certain set times, and so on.

One benefit many writers and bloggers have remarked upon is the realisation (we presume under the influence of the Holy Spirit at work in the Church) of the need to deepen our personal prayer life to ‘fill in’ the holes in our faith lives that Covid has created.

Another ‘silver lining’ has been a huge array of online initiatives that parishes, church organisations, dioceses and groups have launched around the world to address our reduced capacity to take part in the centre of our life as a Church – the Eucharist – as well as a growing rediscovery of the importance of Christian communion – being together as a community – to pray.

Centre for Evangelisation online offerings

The Archdiocese of Sydney’s Centre for Evangelisation (SCE) has launched a raft of online initiatives through its various teams. They cover a wide array of aspects of our faith – from preparing children for their First Communion through to helping parishes better use the now-ubiquitous Zoom online meeting app.

“As the doors of our churches remain closed and many parish events postponed, growing numbers of Catholics across Sydney have taken part in these online opportunities for prayer, formation and community, SCE Director Daniel Ang said.

“Just last Sunday, nearly 7,000 people watched the livestreamed Solemn Mass celebrated by Archbishop Fisher at St Mary’s Cathedral, a cathedral which in usual circumstances has a physical capacity of 2,000. Also, our online retreats, led together with the Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia, have attracted over 450 participants to date, with our workshops for youth leaders and spiritual formation together with priests of our Archdiocese being well received.

A couple enjoy the moment during their wedding Mass. Great formation for couples and marriages is available in online sessions organised by the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Life Marriage and Family Team (details below). Photo: CNS, Gregory A. Shemitz

Nurturing faith the goal

“As we await the easing of government restrictions, I hope these new online initiatives will continue to help nurture your faith, that of your parishioners and loved ones during this time of pandemic.

“Whether you are a parent preparing your child to receive the sacrament of First Holy Communion, a parish secretary looking for tips on how to livestream parish Masses or develop e-newsletters to stay in touch with parishioners, or a parish looking to equip your leaders for a new chapter of ministry and evangelisation, I hope these offerings will encourage and inspire in these challenging times.”

Here’s a guide to great online faith initiatives the SCE’s teams have put together which will be occurring in coming weeks and months:

Parish Renewal Team

Go Make Disciples Online Lay Leadership Series – “Christ-centred Leadership”

Date: Tuesday 3, 10, 17 and 24 August 2021

Time: 7:00 – 8:00 PM

Platform: Online via Zoom

Register here

Zoom Basics for Parishes

Do you want to keep connected with your parishioners during lockdown?

Date: Tuesday 27 July 2021

Time: 10:00 – 11:15 AM

Platform: Online via Zoom

Register here

Alpha – Equipping Parishes for Mission

How can Alpha serve your parish for parish renewal?

Date: Wednesday 28 July 2021

Time: 10:00 – 11:15 AM

Platform: Online via Zoom

Register here

Online reflections

“Know that I am with you always”: Nurturing Discipleship in Challenging Times

Dates: Saturday 31 July, Saturday 7 August, Saturday 14 August

Time: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Platform: Online via Zoom – register here.

Digital and Design

Supporting Parish Teams: Email and Livestreaming to Reach Your Parishioners

Date: Wednesday 11 August

Time: 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

Platform: Online via Zoom

Register here

Sydney Catholic Youth

Upper Zoom Formation: The Flawed and the Faithful with Fr Joseph Murphy.

Date: Thursday, 22 July

Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Platform: Online via Zoom

Register here

Upper Zoom Formation with Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP: Choosing Death for the Dying.

Date: Wednesday, 28 July

Time: 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Platform: Online via Zoom

Register here 

Life, Marriage and Family

Parenting Conversations: The Teenage Years!

Date: Thursday, 22 July

Time: 8:00 PM

Platform: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook Page

Parenting Conversations: The Young Adult Years

Date: Thursday, 12 August

Time: 8:00 PM

Platform: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook Page

An Evening Retreat for Married Couples: In the Beginning – Marriage in the Divine Plan

Date: Thursday, 16 September

Time: 8:00 to 9:00 PM

Platform: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook Page

Preparing your child for his or her First Communion is not only a big step, it’s your responsibility as a parent. Great help is available online with sessions run by the Archdiocese of Sydney’s Life, Marriage and Family Team. Photo: CNS, courtesy Holy Family Parish, Gaza
Preparing Children for the Sacrament of Holy Communion

Date: Monday, 19 July

Time: 7:30 PM

Platform: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook Page

Preparing Children for the Sacrament of Confirmation

Date: Monday, 2 August

Time: 7:30 PM

Platform: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook Page

RCIA Coordinators Deanery Gatherings

Date: Mondays, 16, 30 August and 13 September

Time: 7.30 PM

Platform: Zoom – via email invitation.

Sacramental Coordinators Deanery Gathering

Date: Mondays, 9, 23 August and 6 September

Time: 7:30 PM

Platform: Zoom – via email invitation.

Raising Fathers Podcast

A timely conversation discussing the necessity of intentional fatherhood.

Date: Friday, 23 July

Time: 7:30 PM

Platform: Life, Marriage and Family Facebook Page

Maximus: The Ride for St Joseph

Join us for this fascinating conversation with three Catholic men who organised and undertook an 800km motorcycling pilgrimage in honour of St Joseph.

Date: Friday, 6 August

Time: 4:00 PM

Platform:  Life, Marriage and Family Facebook Page

A Mind at Peace Book Study and Discussion Group

The final two sessions of this course will take place during August, reflecting on ‘A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction” by Dr Christopher O. Blum at the Augustine Institute, Colorado.

Date: Wednesdays, 21, 28 July and 4, 11 August

Time: 7:30 – 8:30 PM

Platform: Online via Facebook.

Register here

The Mustard Seed Bookshop

During this time of lockdown, the Mustard Seed Bookshop offers a range of spiritual reading and resources.

Explore these books, including new releases, at our online store at www.mustardseed.org.au or phone Atef and team on 9307 8350 with delivery available for your convenience.

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