Hello, dear friend. We are glad you are here.

As we enter into this new time, adjusting our schedules, large gatherings canceled, and social distancing, let us not give up hope. Bishop Robert McClory, in his address to the Diocese of Gary on March 13, said, “We live in a time in which “social distance” may be necessary as a health precaution, but this does not have to result in “spiritual distance.”  We are one family of faith in the diocese of Gary.  As the body of Christ, “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.”  (1 Cor 12:26).  As people of prayer, we are never alone or helpless. We can use our blessings to serve others by what we do and what we do not do. In this particular instance, it is prudent for us to do what we can to thwart the spread of this virus. In this regard, we must use good judgement and heed the advice of health care officials.”

We would like to help you out as much as possible. Below you will find some resources to help keep you physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy. Allow this time to challenge you to become a stronger, more caring community. Servant of God Dorothy Day once said, “People, wherever they are, can make a community.” During this time of social distancing, lets create new and creative ways to reach out and care for others. I’m starting by praying for all of you and those you minister to. How else can we help each other?

Peace and all goodness,

Vicky Hathaway
Ministry Consultant for Youth and Young Adult Ministry
Diocese of Gary, Indiana

A Quick Guide to Best Youth Ministry Practices During a Pandemic

In-Person Youth Ministry Observations

A Check In on Ministry with Young Adults

What’s Next? When ministry isn’t how it used to be.

Best Practices for Online Youth Gatherings

Two-Way Video and Audio Communication Guidelines in a Youth Ministry

Diocesan Guidelines: Checklist for In-Person Non-Liturgical Events

Parish Non-Liturgical Guidelines

Youth and Young Adult Ministry Websites

Two-Way Video and Audio Communication Guidelines in a Youth Ministry Setting

Online Permission Form Creator – Jotform: Allows for the creation of 5 free permission forms, collecting 100 signatures a month. A paid subscription is required for more permission forms. Email Vicky for more information on how to create an online permission form.

Template of the Diocese of Gary Online Permission Form– Jotform

Tools for Ministering Online (In English and Spanish) – V Encuentro

Simple Steps to Creating a Virtual Youth NightMarathon Youth Ministry

Starting a Social Media Strategy for Your Ministry – Center for Ministry Development

How to Lead a Small Group Remotely + Online – Blessed Is She

How to Stream on Facebook Live – National Catholic Partnership on Disability

Activities for Online Youth Gatherings

Other Resources

NFCYM Covid-19 Resource: The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry has an extensive resource guide. Included are tips for working or gathering remotely, ministering to young people, supporting parents, prayer opportunities, best practices, and information on Covid-19.

How To Handle The Impact COVID-19 Can Have On Your Ministry?

Doing Youth Ministry During a Pandemic

Care for Your Coronavirus Anxiety

The Pastoral Center: Pastoral ministers helping pastoral ministers

NFCYM Upcoming Webinars: “Ministry Amidst a Crisis: COVID-19 and Ministering to and with the Young Church and their Families” and “Be Not Afraid: A Lenten Retreat.” These are free and open to all.

V Encuentro Resources for Ministry During Covid-19: Resources in Spanish and English

Prayer and Spirituality Resources

Prayer from the USCCB

The Diocese of Gary Spiritual Resources

Diocese of Gary Young Catholics Resources: Includes other websites, webinars, videos, books, apps, and podcasts to help you on your faith journey.

Hallow App: a prayer and meditation app based on Sacred Scripture, the saints, and Catholic prayers

Virtual Stations of the Cross from Busted Halo

30 Days of Random Acts of Kindness Calander from The Grotto Network

Illustrated Ministry: Faith based coloring pages 

Lifeteen Blogs

Online Faith Formation Resources

24 Hour Adoration Live Stream 

Pope Francis’ Prayer to Mary

52 Sundays: If your family is unable to go to Mass and is looking for ways to keep Sunday holy, look here for some great ideas! The Archdiocese of Detroit put together a resource for families to help keep the Sabbath holy. Each week, there’s a reflection on the scriptures, prayer, an activity, and a recipe

Virtual Men’s Conference hosted by the Diocese of Albany, NY

Be Not Afraid Digital Conference

FORMED: Think of it as Catholic YouTube. FORMED has hundreds of videos to help you grow in your faith and learn new things about the Catholic life. FORMED is offering a free 40 day trial so that while you are at home, you can still be spiritually fed.

What You and Your Parish Can Do to Help “Flatten the Curve.*”

Adapted From NFCYM
Stop the Spread
Even if you are not particularly concerned about the risk to yourself or your own family, these tactics will protect others who may be more vulnerable. Many of us will carry the virus before having any symptoms (and may never develop any).

  • Wash your hands well for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Sing the refrain to Michael Joncas’ song “On Eagle’s Wings” (“And he will raise you up…”) while you wash.

  • Avoid touching your face.

  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.

  • Follow the guidance of local officials.

  • Stay home if you become ill.

Don’t Take What You Don’t Need.
Hoarding worsens the situation, and can lead to more infections and more impacts for the most vulnerable.

  • Leave the masks to others. Masks only make sense for health care workers and those who are infected. They are not guaranteed to prevent transmission anyway.

  • Do not overbuy supplies. Retailers are being wiped out of disinfectants and other supplies, leaving some who most need them without. Be prepared, but be thoughtful and reasonable.

Advocate for the Vulnerable and Targeted

  • Have compassion for those most at risk. Stand up for those who need the most help and make sure they are being cared for, without judgment.

  • Fight racism. Discrimination against those with Asian background only hurts the situation.

*For more info on why we need to Flatten the Curve, check out this resource.

What You and Your Parish Can Do to Love Your Neighbor

Host virtual/online small groups. Many parishes had small group events already planned. If you are able, move the small group online. Contact Vicky at vhathaway@dcgary.org for some tips if you’ve never hosted an online meeting.

  • Google Hangouts

  • Microsoft Teams: video calling included, everyone on the call has to have Microsoft Teams to join in the call.

  • Zoom: Online conferencing. Free version has a time limit on meetings, but paid version has unlimited.

  • GoToMeeting: Online conferencing. To host a meeting, you have to have a paid account.

  • FreeConferenceCall.com

Helping Care for the Elderly or Home-bound. Our elders are encouraged to stay home due to the high risk of getting sick. Nursing homes are limited the number of visitors or are not allowing visitors at all. Here are ways to help stay connected with the elderly and bring joy to others.

  • Check in on your neighbors. Here’s a note you can print out and give to your neighbors to offer your assistance.

  • Pen Pals! Home with the kids? See if you can get addresses of some of the older parish members, utilize that parish directory, or contact your local nursing home. Have the kids create cards or letters to send to them. Helps you stay connected with parish members and teaches young children important skills like writing letters, addressing envelopes, and sending physical mail. Also, this isn’t limited to just kids! Anyone can do this! You can also purchase stamps online from the post office.

  • Offer to help (over the phone) older folks set up ways to video chat with family members and friends on their phones or computers. Be kind and patient!

  • Check in with caregivers. Many people are caring for older family members. Check in with them or send them a note/text saying you are there for them.

Caring for Our Communities. This is a time to come together and think big on how we can become the best communities we can be.

  • Be kind in the grocery store. To the staff and other patrons.

  • Donate to your local food bank or St. Vincent De Paul.

  • Buy gift cards to your favorite hangout places! Restaurants and small local businesses have already seen a decrease in their sales. Buy gift cards now to show your support.

  • Shop Online Using Amazon Smile: Amazon Smile is the same a regular Amazon, but when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

  • Stop the spread of misinformation. If you see something online that is not true about Covid-19, speak up and share appropriate resources.

  • Give Blood: Only if you are healthy and are able, please consider giving blood.  Contact the American Red Cross to schedule an appointment.

  • Look to the Helpers. Many school districts are addressing the needs of kids and families by providing free meals. Teachers home from school are offering to help parents with subjects they may not be comfortable with. People are offering to watch kids if parents still have to go into work. Through the darkness, we can still see light!

Share your ideas! How can we help others during this time? Email Vicky at vhathaway@dcgary.org to share your suggestions or what you are going to do to help others!