As the weather warms in Minnesota, we are turning our eyes towards public or direct evangelization projects, those times in the park or on the street corner where we witness to strangers of the love of Jesus. But how can we do that with the social distancing rules in place, which in MN currently involve staying home except for essential activities and exercise, staying 6 feet apart from others, and not gathering in groups larger than 10? Well, here are a few things we’ve tried or are trying to witness publicly during this time.
One outreach was inspired by a parish homily challenge and it consists of calling 3-5 people to check in on them. The parish challenge was to call the people before or after one in the parish directory, which usually meant calling strangers. Katy Jantscher was the first to take up this challenge and ended up talking to an older gentleman who lives alone and whose cat was dying. She was able to offer compassion to him. Ginny Triplett called her parish office to ask for the phone numbers of two or three socially isolated parishioners and now has a weekly phone call set up with two elderly women. Heather Triplett hasn’t called strangers, but she is calling friends she hasn’t connected with in a long time and the widowed woman who used to have the holy hour after the Triplett family’s hour.
The second outreach was a twist on the traditional May crowning of Mary. Since we cannot have large gatherings, parishioners were invited to leave flowers in front of the Holy Family statue in front of the church for the first week of May.
The Skinner family kicked off the week by crowning Mary and placing a lily in Joseph’s hand. In the week that followed, more and more flowers showed up in front of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. This was a silent testimony of our love for the Holy Family.