When New York shut down, the offices of the Archdiocese of New York remained very active. Here’s a snapshot of what they’ve been up to; for a list of upcoming events (virtual and in person), click here.

ADULT FAITH FORMATION:  All services went virtual in March and will remain so through 2020. Enlighten online class registrations tripled. New online features, including Divine Mercy Chaplet every Friday, Sunday Reflections and a digital version of the Christlife: Discovering Christ series, were received enthusiastically.

YOUNG ADULT OUTREACH: All in-person events moved online, including monthly Young Adult Masses and Holy Hours – followed by Zoom socials. The popular CatholicNYC Presents interview show ran nightly for 40 episodes and featured luminaries ranging from Cardinal Dolan to Jeannie and Jim Gaffigan. This fall, watch for a careful return to in-person events – with everything still available online, too.

SCHOOLS: Our Catholic schools had another year of outstanding academic achievement in 2020–21, despite the recent announcement that 20 schools would close due to the economic downturn. That still leaves almost 180 schools in the archdiocese – cautiously opening for in-person classes this fall!

HISPANIC MINISTRY: After weeks of online-only services, key in-person events – such as Marian celebrations and special Masses at St. Patrick’s Cathedral – are now being offered again. To serve the disabled, the office also plans to continue to offer these events virtually well into the future.

SHEEN CENTER: Beginning Easter weekend with the online premiere of The Gospel of John, all Sheen Center programming went online. The Faith, Hope & Love series featured daily talks and performances on the Sheen Talks YouTube channel from May through July. All fall 2020 events will be virtual.

RESPECT LIFE: Pro-life pregnancy centers continued to serve women, delivering food and goods to their homes. When the 40 Days for Life vigil switched to “pray-from-home” mode, the Manhattan campaign was able to have 24/7 prayer coverage for the first time. It will be back in person this fall.

LITURGY OFFICE: The office was a central resource on new and developing liturgical questions during the unfolding of the pandemic and in preparing parishes to reopen safely. The fall lineup of seminars and workshops will be offered exclusively online.

ST. JOSEPH’S SEMINARY: All classes went online in the spring, but this fall the seminarians are back in person for the seminary’s 150th anniversary!

Marriage Prep:

Get Me to the Church Online

For hundreds of couples in the archdiocese who had weddings planned this year, the pandemic presented tough choices: Postpone? Trim the guest list? Move the event outdoors?

There was one question that Dr. Kathleen Wither and the staff of the Family Life Office of the Archdiocese of New York did not want couples to worry about: how to complete the Church’s marriage prep requirements.

At first, in lieu of in-person Pre-Cana days canceled due to Covid-19, the office offered registered couples an off-the-shelf digital program. As it became clear that restrictions would extend indefinitely, however, the Family team decided to create a brand-new tool. Working with the Catholic Faith Network, they developed half-day English and Spanish Virtual Pre-Canas, including videos, talks and 10 couple exercises via a Zoom webinar.

From June through August, more  than 500 couples participated, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. While some missed the in-person experience, “Many couples appreciated doing the exercises at home on the couch instead of on hard seats in a crowded room,” Dr. Wither observed. We may just be looking at the Pre-Cana format of the future.

For more information, click here. Couples should meet with their priest or deacon before beginning marriage preparation.