Lay people continue their ministry work every day, even though the Archdiocese of Toronto's parishes are currently closed due to COVID-19. One archdiocesan department inspired to make a difference in these difficult days is the Office of Catholic Youth (OCY).
John MacMullen, Associate Director of Youth Ministry for the Archdiocese of Toronto, explains the OCY's plans for a virtual Day of Prayer on Wednesday, May 13. He reveals what the day will look like and how both clergy and lay people can find hope and comfort in this online prayer event.
1. Where did the idea of a Day of Prayer come from?
Since the quarantine began, many of our youth ministers from across the archdiocese have been doing a "virtual huddle" on Tuesdays to discuss various ideas in ministry. One of the ideas shared in a huddle was a collaborative effort to join together and devote our time, resources and prayers to the many people throughout the archdiocese. Recognizing that the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima was coming up and knowing her devotion to prayer, we thought a day of prayer would be a great way to honour her while also praying for the needs of youth ministry and parishes across the archdiocese.
2. What will the day look like?
The day will be a full one! We will be livestreaming on Instagram from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Twenty parishes, together with the OCY and two music ministers, will be taking turns praying anywhere from 30-60 minutes on the live feed. The participants will present different forms, styles and methods of prayer. This will include the recitation of the rosary, praise and worship, praying submitted intentions, paint sessions and more.
3. What message is the OCY looking to convey on this day?
We're trying to say that all these various parish ministries and participants recognize the importance of prayer, particularly under our current circumstances. Also, despite the quarantine, parish ministry is still actively engaged and seeking ways to communicate with young people from across the archdiocese. We think it is so important to network and work collaboratively in our ministry environments, even under the present conditions.
4. What are you hoping people take away from this Day of Prayer?
If even one person can experience a way to engage in prayer that is new to them, then I think the day will be worthwhile.
We find ourselves in exceptional circumstances that we would never have seen ourselves in six months ago. For anyone to see that there are different ways and opportunities to join others in prayer, I would see that as a distinctive blessing. Expanding our scope and finding new ways to evangelize, communicate and understand the needs of others during this time is an opportunity we cannot pass up. Being able to adapt and willing to journey is key.
5. What has brought you hope during this time of physical distancing?
I've been most inspired and have had the God-given opportunity to see youth ministers become more adaptable. I've seen how parishes and youth ministries have found creative ways to be disciples in their communities and bring young people to the Gospel.
To see the intentionality of others wanting to disciple their young people has been most rewarding.
To join on the OCY's Day of Prayer on May 13, visit the OCY's Instagram page at: @ocytoronto.