Brian T. Olszewski, Janna Reynolds, The Catholic Virginian
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” – Plato
For parishes in the Diocese of Richmond, one of the “inventions” to surface as a result of COVID-19 was the use of technology in order to stay connected with parishioners once Bishop Barry C. Knestout suspended the celebration of public Masses on March 16.
Since March, the Catholic Community Foundation has been with parishes “every step of the way,” according to Alex Previtera, director of development and operations, in helping them get comfortable with technology and in utilizing social media.
“We wanted to show parishes how to connect with parishioners at this time,” he said. “We helped them with offertory support, but it was more than offertory. It was really important to have livestreaming of Masses and utilization of social media to connect with people through live Sunday Mass. Getting people to feel connected has been our big focus.”
According to executive director Margaret Keightley, CCF knew prior to COVID-19 that it was “vital that we get more digitally savvy” in parishes and the diocese.
“This just made it more important and set up the timeline, and it probably made people who were leery of the need or their ability to optimize their digital tools,” she said. “It made them have to use it.”
Previtera added, “COVID has forced us to use technology more effectively. Many parishes will be utilizing social media more in the future now that they have more comfort with it.”