At Xavier we receive emails from the Office of Faith Events for the Diocese of Norwich and are often struck by the variety.
Join a virtual book club … pray the rosary online at a designated time, watch a video reading of a children’s book called “It’s OK To Be Different,” contribute to a memory page of deceased loves ones on the diocese web site, learn about a particular saint, attend an online workshop on grieving.
There’s a reason for it, says Andrea Hoisl, the director of the Office of Faith Events who spent 28 years working at Xavier, many as the Director of Campus Ministry, before leaving in 2016.
“Our offices focus on lifelong faith formation,” Hoisl said. “For every age and stage of life. We work on getting people to understand that you will never know all there is to know about God and faith.
“It’s a lifelong process of learning and searching for answers to questions that come up in your life as you age and experience different changes in the world around you. We can never stop trying to find ways to make our faith an integral part of our lives.”
COVID-19 has changed the way the office does business but not the business of the office itself. Reach people. Help people. Grow their faith.
The Office of Faith Events encompasses a lot of ministries: Parish Faith Formation for Children and Adults; Youth and Young Adult Ministry; Family Life; Bereavement; Marriage Prep; Partnership on Disabilities; Evangelization; RCIA.
“Our office offered workshops, conferences, prayer groups and spiritual experiences throughout the diocese in person before the pandemic,” Hoisl said. “Once the pandemic hit we had to shift to virtual experiences and offerings with the goal of keeping God and faith ‘on everyone’s radar’ at this difficult time.”
A “Hope and Faith” series, which started three years ago and only ran during Advent and Lent, has been ongoing.
“When the pandemic hit we extended it to all year because people really need some positive, feel good, enrichment right now,” Hoisl said.
The Diocese, through the gifts of its parishioners, was instrumental in the formation of Xavier and Mercy, purchasing property in 1961 that would be home to the two Catholic high schools in Middlesex County.
For the many offerings of the Diocese of Norwich, go to norwichdiocese.org.