Students from St. Mary’s University participate in an outreach event associated with the Good Food Box program in Calgary, which offers low-cost fruits and vegetables. While events like this have been paused during the COVID-19 crisis, students have online resources to keep their faith alive. Photo courtesy St. Mary’s University Campus Ministry

Feeding the faith online

By  Quinton Amundson, Youth Speak News
  • March 25, 2020

Young Catholics wishing to enrich their relationship with God during the COVID-19 pandemic should have no problem discovering that there is a slew of quality online resources at their disposal — and more options are materializing by the day. 

Sabrina Chiefari, the interim director of Faith Connections, a Toronto-based young adult ministry program, says the organization is working to provide more resources and support the initiatives of other organizations, including a video series on Meetup.com launched by the IGNITE young adults’ ministry group last week. 

Acknowledging that there will be a proliferation of online video series, prayers and Scripture reading materials over the coming days and weeks, Chiefari advises youth and young adults to figure out which resources speak to them the most. 

“For me, the most practical advice I can relay to Christian young adults is that they should devote some time to curating the materials that are out there,” she said. “Right now, the Catholic and Christian communities are being asked to participate in spiritual Communion. We need to each understand what it is and then find a way to best participate in it.”

Faith Connections is also adapting to the current social-distancing landscape by shifting its programming to an online format. A Theology on Tap seminar event that was supposed to be hosted on March 30 at the Duke of York Pub is instead going to be accessible via webcast.

Lance Dixon, the campus ministry director at St. Mary’s University in Calgary, urges all Catholic youth to find strength in God during this time of isolation.

“Faith orients ourselves to a deeper answer to our universal and existential questions,” said Dixon. “We have come to see that God has the answers to our deepest questions when the world is falling apart.”

Dixon says he “has absolute confidence” in encouraging youth to check out the resources on Word on Fire, which is a Catholic media organization founded by Bishop Robert Barron out of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Word on Fire contains homilies, lectures, study kits and a slew of other online videos, including a topical video blog about being quiet in faith during the coronavirus quarantine.

“The young students that I teach and work with find that Bishop Barron speaks very well into their lives,” said Dixon.

Dixon is also contributing materials of his own by publishing a daily quote of discernment on the St. Mary’s campus ministry Twitter account (@StMU_CampusMin) and launching a podcast on his personal SoundCloud channel.   

Bishop William  McGrattan of Calgary says it is essential for Catholic leaders to share a message of hope during this confusing time. 

“I believe that people experience a deeper sense of peace when they realize the gift of faith is supporting their lives,” said McGrattan. “I would encourage people experiencing anxiety to rediscover that element of faith and that relationship that God wants to establish with each of us.”

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