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When the world pandemic caused churches to close their doors to the faithful, many parishes came up with ingenious ideas to keep their flocks connected. Some offered live-streamed Masses and prayer services, while others dedicated themselves to community outreach in order to support not just their brothers and sisters in Christ, but their entire communities. Now their efforts are to be honored with the first ever Parish Excellence Award, to be presented during a five-day Parish Excellence Summit.
Catholic News Agency reports that the Parish Excellence Award was the brainchild of Scot Landry, a Catholic author who has worked extensively with the Archdiocese of Boston in the field of new media, and comes thanks to a partnership between Landry and the Parish Excellence Summit, alongside Good Catholic Leadership Group.
Landry told CNA that he had wanted to honor the exceptional works of Catholic parishes for years, but it was not until the world pandemic that he felt the time was right, noting that the isolation orders has turned most parishes into “broadcasters.” Of their efforts he said:
Some parishes were “excellent on the technical side of things, and the broadcast is beautiful. Others were excellent at trying to maximize the number of parishioners who were watching the livestream. Others were good at solving the complexity of doing livestreams when they have a multilingual, multicultural community.”
The Parish Excellence websitedescribes their accolade as an award to “[recognize] parishes who have exemplified mission-driven innovation during the Covid-19 Pandemic.”There are 16 categories that will be considered for the honor, of which there are three for broadcasting alone. Other categories include: Parish Outreach, Pastoral Outreach, Service Ministry Continuation, Adult Faith Formation, and more.
All are welcome to nominate their parish for any of the 16 categories and they are invited to attend the live-streamed Parish Excellence Summit. The deadline for nominations is October 19, 2020. Interested parties can nominate their parish here.
The event, scheduled to run from November 9-13, is free to watch live and for up to 48 hours after it has concluded, and will include a handpicked collection of experts who will explain the various benefits that have come from the hard work of selected parishes. Virtual tickets can be procured for free by signing up at the website.
Landry noted to CNA that while this year’s Parish Excellence Award is focused on outstanding performances during the pandemic, he hopes that the new honor will become an annual affair. He said:
“Winning people back after the pandemic, that could be a theme for next year,” he said. “As long as there’s a need to share what’s working in some parishes with all the other parishes in the church, at least in the United States, we certainly have an interest in doing it.”
Learn more at the Parish Excellence Summit’s website.