Beginning today, Tuesday 11/17/20 at 12:00 noon, all Faith Formation Programs at SFX are non-gathered only. We will continue Faith Formation programming through virtual and non-gathered means. Our new default is to not gather in person. Any possible exceptions will be addressed on a case by case basis.
This announcement only applies to Faith Formation programs (i.e. First Communion class, RCIA, book groups, prayer groups, CGS Atrium, etc.). The schedule of Masses & other liturgies, as well as parish office hours, and any other parish programs outside of Faith Formation, is unchanged at this time.
Specific details regarding the programs you and your children are enrolled in will be coming to you this week. The parish has built remarkable digital capacity in the last 9 months. We will get more creative about postal mail, ministry to individuals, and outdoor possibilities. We will continue to seek you out and engage you.
Faith Formation at SFX is not alone in this decision. Missoula Area High School Youth Ministry and Loyola Sacred Heart Catholic High School are also both now remote, non-gathered only ministries. We are starting to accumulate stories of affected parishioners and their families. I am moved by those examples and stories to take this step.
I understand, and grieve with you, possible feelings of anger, disappointment, frustration, discouragement. Maybe some others of you will feel relief, and gratitude. Maybe, like me, you feel both, all day long.
However you are feeling, please know this decision comes from me only, and does not reflect a change in policy at the Diocese of Helena or at the our parish as a whole. I welcome your feedback and always value hearing from you.
You’ll remember from the fall program brochure that our theme for the year is “Oneness and Wellness.” Let’s try to focus, together, on what we CAN do:
1) Attend Mass
Perhaps there is an invitation to us all to emphasize the place of the Mass in our spiritual life. Daily 8am Mass and the full schedule Weekend Liturgies continue in person with masks and physical distancing. We have overflow seating in the basement with HD picture and sound if the congregation gets too large to be safe upstairs. The 10am Sunday Mass is livestreamed every week, and available on-demand all week long. Details for how to connect are at www.sfxmissoula.org
2) Family Advent Wreath Project Kits
Autumn, our Parish Secretary, and the Parish Life Commission, in lieu of a Christmas Party, have Advent wreath kits to offer families! You can pick one up this Sunday in Riedy Hall (the church basement) anytime between 9am and Noon. We would love if you take a kit that you share a picture with us of your family enjoying it!
I don’t know about you, but I’ve not been super pleased with all my behaviors lately. Such grace, healing, and peace is offered to us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Saturday afternoons in the church or by appointment. Just call the church office 406.542.0321
4) Virtual High School Youth Ministry
Got a bored or isolated teenager? High School Youth Ministry will be moving to zoom for the following two weeks. We will reevaluate after Thanksgiving. Please text Shai at 406-491-1970 if you would like the zoom link to join youth group. Consider attending WITH your teen. Also please feel free to reach out to Shai with any questions or concerns regarding this decision. We hope to be back in person soon!
5) Digital Faith Formation Offerings
Nothing is cancelled! It all continues, in digital and non-gathered forms. Watch our parish website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, your mail box, email, and your text messages for updates on Men’s and Women’s Groups, book studies, prayer sessions, etc.
6) Be Christ to Each Other
With masks and physical distance, ministry to one-another individually, and not in a group setting, is a viable option. You don’t need my permission to reach out and be Christ to one another! And, in the coming weeks, I’ll generate some specific individual opportunities.
You all have my love, prayers, and effort.
Director of Faith Formation
St. Francis Xavier Parish