New book chronicles Church creative responses to global COVID-19 pandemic

Pastoral Creativity Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Global Experiences” chronicles the pastoral responses that pastoral agents, ordained and lay, implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic from first-person narratives woven together to form a tapestry of rich and moving personal stories.

The book launched online on May 24 is edited by Fr. Anthony Le Duc, SVD, and Fr. John Mi Shen. It contains essays from over a dozen countries around the world, with many of the authors working in cross-cultural contexts.

The editors enlisted collaboration of professional theologians to dialogue with these real-world experiences in order to present observations and insights that reveal themselves in these inspiring accounts.

“The book hopes to contribute to the ongoing conversation and reflection about the various dimensions of the pandemic, in particular, highlighting the pastoral creativity needed to sustain the life of the Church during one of the most dramatic times in contemporary human history,” read a statement on the Asian Research Center for Religion and Social Communication, where Fr. Le Duc is the Executive Director.

Concrete stories of real encounters

“What makes this book precious is that it is not a collection of ‘recipes’ for pastoral service, but rather an invitation to keep the dialogue open, to reflect on what we have learnt from this new condition, and on how the Church should answer to the need of belongingness that emerged from this unprecedented time, ” said Nataša Govekar, Director of the Theological-Pastoral Department, Dicastery for Communication, Vatican.

“Concrete stories on concrete encounters is what inspires the desire and encourages the effort to prepare more encounters between God and humanity. After all, pastoral creativity – with or without the pandemic – is an art of preparing the encounters! And the pandemic probably helps us to understand it better,” she added.

Father Le Duc holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley (USA), Bachelor’s Degree in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley (USA), Master of Divinity from the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago, IL, (USA), and Doctor of Philosophy in Religious Studies from Assumption University (Thailand).

Father Le Duc entered the Society of the Divine Word in 1998 and professed his first vows in 1999. He made his perpetual vows in 2005 and was ordained to the priesthood on 27 May 2006 in Chicago, IL.

At present, he is a lecturer at Saengtham College/Lux Mundi National Major Seminary of Thailand and has been the Executive Director of the ARC since January 2021.

Book cover of Pastoral Creativity Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic: Global Experiences (Image supplied)

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