Parish Best Practices

Please contact Craig Pohl or Cheryl Olsen if you would like to be put in touch with the point person(s) of any of these ideas. Thanks for all you continue to do to minister to people during these difficult times!

  1. From the ministry team at St. John, Jackson. Point person, Todd Gale: St. John STAY AT HOME RETREAT

  2. From the ministry team at St. Thomas, Ann Arbor. Point people, Mary Beth Sobel and John Biskner:
    We are taking this time to call all of our parishioners beginning with our Senior Citizens and checking in on them to see if they need anything (groceries, pick up medications, etc), offering prayer, and if nothing else, depending upon the response, we are able to update our database and hopefully get an email from them so we can communicate via a parish email blast keeping them up to date.

    Phone Script 65 Years and Older

  3. From the ministry team at St. Joseph, Ypsilanti. Point person Anna Nowaczewski:

    Our parish has established a CALL TEAM of 16 people. We've divided up the parish registry, and take our list for the duration of this pandemic. Callers are to call the members once a week checking on their emotional, spiritual and material needs. Anything required is directed to the correct resource and followed up until the need is fulfilled to the best of our ability. The CALL TEAM has a zoom meeting once a week to pray for the needs of our parish members, and for each other. We also meet to check up on one another and provide encouragement and support.

    For the CALL TEAM: It's helpful to provide a phone template that gives the callers a general idea of what to say and to assure that we are all giving the basic same message. It's important to check in with your CALL TEAM!!

    EMAIL COMMUNICATION LIST: We also send weekly updates to our parishioners through email. Also, links to spiritual, and religious ed resources are sent to keep people connected with the church. Finally, Father Pieter provides a recorded Homily / Message to be sent via e-mail and our Facebook page.

    Concerning email updates and resources: People appreciate links being sent to them for daily mass, other spiritual up building talks (Bishop Barron and Father Schmitz being a couple) plus good religious videos for the children.

  4. From the ministry team at St. John the Baptist, Howell. Point person Kim Kaye-Small:

    Using a FB page, we are reaching out to families to stay in touch: rosary live-stream, encouragement, YG live stream, and Mass live-stream. Buy the Mic. Good audio will make this acceptable for families to enjoy. Keep it simple.

  5. This one comes to us from Sylvia Stanton:

    I just wanted to share what my parish and some other parishes are doing. Actually my pastor and several other priests in my diocese have been working over time to reach out to their parishioners. My pastor has been making phone calls to each and every person in our parish. We received a call from him yesterday....if a priest is lonely and is naturally an extrovert this would be a great way for him to connect with his flock. And I guarantee his parishioners will be most appreciative. We are encouraged to send our pastor prayer requests which he prints out and puts in his private chapel before the Blessed Sacrament and are offered at every holy hour he prays. He and other priests have sent out videos of their own Lenten talks and virtual retreats sent to their parishioners. Several have recorded their daily Masses and have added encouraging messages to help us all through this time. We have also had outdoor adoration where we can sit in the safety of our cars and pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. These are just a few of things that I’ve experienced during this time. This is a great opportunity for priests especially to reach out to their flocks....they have a captive audience that might not otherwise open emails from their pastor and watch a daily Mass or be asked for prayer requests...and I do think his parishioners will be inspired and respond with love and care as well.
  6. From Gary Smith at St. James, Mason:

    Using Zoom to continue our 7th and 8th grade weekly Faith Formation classes at the same regularly scheduled time to help ensure some normalcy for the youth. I took photos of the classroom, prayer table and other items which I then screen share during the session to remind them of our time together in the classroom. Zoom is offering this free right now which is awesome!
  7. From Marie Sheridan at St. Agnes, Fowlerville:

    Our bible study leader is coming up with three scripture questions each week for our group to research at home and text me their answers or questions. Kind of like a bible trivia game!

    We can access YDisciple through Formed so put together a worksheet of questions for our candidates to answer from their Confirmation series.
  8. From Marinell High at St. Joseph, Dexter:

    We are continuing to meet as an RCIA group using an online meeting site. These gatherings include those going through the process as Elect or Candidates along with their sponsors and the team. We have done this twice now and will continue to meet as long as we are in the stay at home mode.
  9. From the ministry team at Immaculate Heart of Mary, Lansing. Point person, Jen Brown:

    Instead of streaming our Masses Facebook where less than half of our people are, we video tape it, post it to Vimeo and upload it to our website. It is not complex and I’d be willing to help parishes figure this out.

    One of the ways we are reaching out to connect with people is to say a daily rosary. This IS live-streamed on Facebook and though it isn’t available to every parishioner, we have let parishioners know they can join us spiritually at 4pm each day if they like. The decision to do it live on FB instead of recorded and uploaded meant that it gives us a chance to check in with folks on a daily basis and let them respond. Yes, it’s still only those on Facebook, but we valued people’s opportunity to respond immediately.
  10. How to Live Stream Mass on Facebook
  11. Maire Gilchrist from St. Gerard encourages a powerful act of faith by “sealing your doorpost” with the Divine Mercy image. St. Faustina’s confessor, Bl. Michael Sopocko, said Jesus revealed this promise to the saint: “When chastisements for sins come upon the world and your own country will experience utter degradation, the only refuge will be trust in My mercy. I will protect the cities and homes in which The Divine Mercy Image is found; I will protect the persons who will venerate [honor] this Image. The only refuge will be trust in My Mercy.” Jesus added: “Let everyone procure for their homes this Image because there will yet come trials. And those homes, and entire families, and everyone individually who will hold this image of mercy in deep reverence, I will preserve from every sort of misfortune. The time will come when all those who do so will give witness to the miraculous efficacy and to the special protection of mercy flowing from this Image.” Need a Divine Mercy Image? Download one for free here:
  12. Fr. Michael Newman, OSFS, from Holy Family - Adrian provides a weekly opportunity for Bible Study for those in the Hispanic Community via Zoom. This class is offered to the Spanish-speaking only and provides an opportunity for people to connect with other parishioners, learn from the Bible, and share our faith with one another. Classes are currently held every Friday and generally run from 7:30pm to 9:00p. Anyone interested in joining can email Fr. Mike at

    La parroquia de la Sagrada Familia en Adrian ofrece clases de la Biblia por zoom cada viernes. Cada clase nos da la oportunidad de convivir, aprenden de la Biblia y comparten nuestra fe. Las clases se llevan a cabo cada viernes de 7:30pm a 9:00pm. Si está interesado usted, envía un email al párroco,  P. Mike Newman, OSFS en

  13. Christ the King – Ann Arbor is seeing great fruits in offering Alpha on-line. Jessica Dudek shares that Alpha Online provides a wonderful opportunity to care for parishioners during this difficult time, and engage your community in evangelization! The on-line course is simple and easy to facilitate! Simply download the films, set up a zoom call, and invite friends. Start with an ice breaker to get to know one another, watch the film together, and engage in discussion.

    Learn more here:

  14. The Family Life Ministry team at St. Martha, Okemos invites people to “Walk with Jesus” this Easter season.  Jackie Rosalez shares: “Several of us from around the Okemos and East Lansing area were able to go on a Pilgrimage to the Holy Land this last December and we came back very excited to share our experiences with everyone. We did a lot of walking while we were there and Jesus walked almost everywhere he went, so we thought it would be fun for us to walk there too!”

    Join form on our webpage ( to enter miles you have walked or minutes you have spent in prayer, reading the Bible or other Spiritual Practices; 10 minutes of prayer and/or reading equals 1 mile of walking. As we walk, we will "unlock" new video, pictures, and history that help us get to know Jesus better.

    They have also provided Bible Scavenger Hunts to help engage the family in fun activities throughout their walks.