At the peak of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, Chloe Zaiter felt her faith being tested. Churches were closed and public Masses were suspended.
But instead of locking herself away, Chloe decided to keep her faith alive through social media.
Chloe, from the Granville Catholic Community, is behind the ‘30-Day Catholic Self-Isolation Challenge’, which ran on Instagram through the @catholiccarddo account and on Facebook in the days following Easter.
“I’ve had the idea of starting a social media page dedicated to spreading the faith through games and fun activities I’d seen on Instagram,” Chloe told Catholic Outlook.
“But once COVID hit, and we had to start closing churches, it struck me that maybe we should be doing more with our faith and find ways to spread our faith through [social] media.
“Our churches are closed, but what can we do as a community to try and draw on our faith and make ourselves more of a part of it, even though we can’t physically be in the church?
“A lot of my friends on Facebook are from the Catholic faith, and they were sharing riddles and maths-themed puzzles instead of sharing live-streamed Masses from church or sharing posts about prayers. So I thought, why not try and get them involved?” she said.
Throughout the 30 days, participants were asked to complete different activities, including creating a Catholic music playlist, taking a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel, and praying the rosary as soon as they wake up.
“It was quite easy to come up with the posts because I felt that I needed to do it, rather than wanting to,” Chloe explained.
“My favourite part was being able to interact with people that I wouldn’t normally interact with, in a way that involves the faith. A lot of people that were getting behind it were people that I might have seen before or spoken to, but never really spoken to them about our faith.
“It was also a way to bring the community together when we were so far apart.
“Being able to connect with people through the challenge, and having the ability to watch Masses from around the world and not be restricted in celebrating Mass at a particular time strengthened my faith, knowing there was still a way to connect with my faith because God is always there,” she said.
Fr Andrew Bass, parish priest of the Granville Catholic Community, also saw the benefits of the social isolation challenge as keeping parishioners connected during isolation.
“It was an exceptional means of evangelisation because it gave parishioners a chance to speak about the faith and to learn from others about the faith in a way that was quite personal and in ways that they may not have done before,” Fr Andrew told Catholic Outlook.
“The Catholic Self Isolation Challenge, as with all the other great initiatives of the Granville Catholic Community, was a way to engage and connect with parishioners, and parishioners with one another.
“It was a remarkable sign of the vibrancy of the parish and the way in which parishioners pull together to keep building up the community,” he said.
Looking ahead, Chloe is planning on conducting a second isolation challenge, focussed on Christ during his last days on Earth.
“The first challenge was more for fun, but the second challenge is more to do with how the faith connects with our emotions.
“I would tell people hoping to participate to not be afraid. I think a lot of people fear that if they post something, they’ll be ridiculed or looked at strangely, but that’s not what it’s about, it’s about your faith.
“If you believe and want to be a part of something, do it, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
This article was originally featured in the Spring 2020 Edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine.