Sacred Heart Church, the Jesuit Parish in El Paso, continues to find creative ways to serve the local community. Like many area food pantries, Sacred Heart’s is experiencing increased demand as many people have less income. New measures are in place to keep both guests and staff safe.
Participants are now asked to sit outside the parish building to await their biweekly grocery bag, in order to maintain social distance. To make the wait more enjoyable, staff play traditional music from northern Mexico and served coffee and pan dulce. Father Rafael Garcia, SJ, leads them in prayer. Last week, they served more than 100 people over six hours and expect to serve a similar number each time.
Since the suspension of Masses, Sacred Heart has offered online Masses through the parish Facebook page and instructional videos through their YouTube channel. For parishioners who do not have Internet access, the parish is participating in the Diocese of El Paso’s vecino a vecino (neighbor to neighbor) program, encouraging parish leaders to call groups of one another. For example, lay communion ministers are calling the people they visit; liturgical ministers are calling each other, etc.
“Overall, the COVID-19 crisis has provided an opportunity for us to adapt our methods while continuing to fulfill our fundamental mission of accompanying the people of the Segundo Barrio and greater El Paso in their spiritual and material needs,” said Fr. Stephen Pitts, SJ.