FAMILIES anticipating the need to stay inside the home together to fight the COVID-19 pandemic are being asked to pray together too.
Fr Tom McDonough, provincial of the Passionist Fathers in Australia, has encouraged families to find creative ways to assist the elderly, the needy, our members and neighbours in self isolation as a way of loving their neighbour.
The advice was shared with members of the Passionist Family Group Movement, which encourages the development of extended families in parishes.
“How about a phone call, some shopping, a meal dropped in,” Fr McDonough said.
“And, of course, a prayer, or better still some couple prayer and family prayer together, especially now Sunday Masses will be radically affected.
“Let’s make the home a real place where as Jesus promised – if two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them.
“You don’t have to leave Jesus behind at the local Church.”
Other members of the movement has shared their thoughts on living out Jesus’ message to love one another based on their experiences in the movement.
Tell children they are loved
Children are able to hear from parents and care-givers that they are being cared for during this time.
Help them discuss their own concerns and ask their questions.
A time to pray for people in the world. Pray for people they know going through difficult times.
Pray for each other.
Share a meal
We are often privileged to share a meal with our grandchildren. Mealtime is a time they are asked to share what they are grateful for and a concern or challenge they faced during the day.
We experience this time as a prayer as each child shares their experience.
Spend time with our children
Play some games – board games will help pass the time, allow conversation, help everyone deal with competition and co-operation and pass the time together.
Take time to get outside, back yards, safe open parks.
As one Catholic parent said: “Last weekend we had promised the grandchildren to go to SeaWorld naturally they were disappointed when we cancelled our trip.
We had a discussion with the three children (six, eight and 10 years old) how would they like to spend this time together.
They came up with a local park, suggested we take hand sanitiser and our own food. We took a blanket, and picnic basket.
They had a great time packing their favourite food. We were delighted to see them making up games together, sitting on the mat and not once did they complain about being bored. This brought back memories of my own childhood and picnics in the park.
Turn off the TV and iPads, and instead, let us take time to get to know each other.
This could be a little structured asking questions like;
What are three things about yourself we might not know?
Mum and Dad, grandparents, where did you meet?
What was your best Christmas, Why?
What is your earliest memory?
The list is endless.
The power of prayer
Have a prayer space, light a candle, your favourite prayer book to encourage us to pray daily for our families, friends, the wider community and the World.
One movement member recalled the gift of prayer: “Many years ago, our Family Group met weekly to pray for one of families and their sixteen-year-old daughter who was dying of cancer. The family today speak of the comfort that they experienced from these prayers.
The Passionist Family Group Movement is a lay-led group that was established out of the Passionist community in St Ives, New South Wales.