Throughout the month of August 2020, we conducted multiple sessions of online dialog on the new guidelines and best practices for 2020-2021. Here we present a recording of one of our sessions. We have also compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for reference.
"Accompanying Our Formation Leaders" Session
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are masking requirements for in-person sessions of any kind?
No one under age 3 should wear a mask as it poses a suffocation risk. In the Archdiocese, 1st graders and above are to wear a facial covering.
2. Are we limited to having only 10 persons in a room at the same time?
No. At this time, as long as safe social distancing (6 feet) can be maintained between participants, there is not a particular limit to the number of persons in a given space. The appropriate number of persons will vary according to the space available.
3. Are temperature checks required before on-site formation?
Temperature checks are not required. It is optional if the parish is able to handle the logistics involved in its implementation
4. What is the recommendation if a parish wants to do in-person formation for certain age levels or programming, but there are too many participants for safe social distancing?
In such a situation, there are at least two options (1) multiple sessions for that particular age level or program (2) alternating sessions, with a portion of the group coming in one week, and the other portion coming in the following week – with at-home work or projects for these families during the weeks that they do not come in for in-person formation.
5. What is required if minors (17 yrs. and below) from the parish appear in a video posted online – on YouTube or the parish website, for example?
6. Is the Archdiocese providing paid online platform resources for parishes to use?
Because of licensing requirements and widely varying parish needs, each parish is to choose the online platform that best meets their needs.
7. Are the online resources listed on the Guide also in Spanish?
Most publishers do have their resources in Spanish, please consult each resource as listed in the guideline.
8. Can we utilize the language on the Guidelines for our own parish guidelines?
Yes, this is public information written for parishes, thus please feel free to use it.
9. Youth ministry is relational ministry. What can we do to help build relationships even when we are only meeting online?
No program alone can create a relationship between the teen and Jesus Christ and between the teen and the community. In an online faith formation program, youth ministers are called to be creative in building a wider community that will support the youth. This can be done by identifying existing relationships between teens and faith companions (grandparents, sponsors, friends, extended family, etc.). Calling the family or sending a card can also help maintain that sense of community that can foster relationships.
10. We know overnight retreats are not recommended at this time. Can we do day retreats?
Yes, day retreats can be done as long as the parish COVID19 Safety and Health Plan is followed.
11. At our in-person ministry meetings, can we serve lunch, snacks, coffee, etc.?
Yes, the Guidelines state in page 15: “Food can be part of your ministry gatherings if you can follow standard food safety practices and regulations, including the following:
a. Ensure that all food preparers or distributers wear masks, gloves
b. Food should be served in individual covered containers/wrappers
c. Design your distribution process in such a way as to limit contact between employees/volunteers and the guests they are serving.”
12. Are confirmation teens required to go to a confirmation retreat or it is no longer required?
When we think of a retreat the main point we are called to focus on is on the encounter the person will have with Jesus Christ on that retreat. With this as a starting point, a Confirmation retreat is always a good idea. In our current times, a weekend, overnight retreat is not recommended but a day retreat or a series of spiritually rich sessions can certainly address this need for the teens to encounter God as they prepare for the sacrament of confirmation. These day retreats or sessions can be done using all options available (in-person, virtual, blended, etc.).
13. How can the teens of Confirmation do service hours during this time?
Teens (and all adults) can volunteer in the different service and ministry activities in the parish (food pantry, senior ministry, home packages for families, service at mass, etc.) or other agencies like Catholic Charites, the Food Bank, etc.
14. Will the formation guidelines be in Spanish?
Yes, they are available in Spanish. Download them here.