The Emmaus Ministry is an organization that ministers to parents suffering the death of a child and hosts many Catholic spiritual retreats. These retreats give parents the opportunity to concentrate on their individual spiritual journey, find comfort in the Church’s teachings,
and to listen to the experiences of other grieving parents.
At the beginning of 2020, the ministry was preparing for a retreat but realized that physical retreats are not possible during these challenging times. The Emmaus Ministry reached out to Perfect Video Conferencing (PVC) for help facilitating a virtual retreat via Zoom. The partnership between like-minded individuals and organizations has been enriching for all involved.
The Perfect Video Conference team are tech experts and engaged by setting expectations on creating engaging meetings, using technology so that it is not disruptive and aided creating the virtual retreats for the Emmaus Ministry with Zoom and Google Drive. Initially, we collaborated to learn what the on-site retreats created for a sacred experience of healing, grief and comfort in the community. Our teams had subsequent meetings on how to unlock Zoom’s many features and using Google Drive became the foundations of training videos for future retreats.
We all understood that nothing could replace a physical retreat, but we could make the best of this experience and create a meaningful event over video conferencing. It could be perfect and prayerful. As a result of our work, the Emmaus Ministry voiced that they will create an eBook on a how-to guide on facilitating and creating a virtual spiritual retreat by using this experience with PVC, so that this digital model of community, healing and ministry can scale to other parishes and parents in need of community and comfort.
The Customer Challenge:
- Continue the growth of a ministry designed to be a model that can be replicated, onsite and exported to other parish and diocesan ministries around the world.
- Stay true to the mission of the ministry and model while having to do everything completely different
- Overcome fears of the technology and technical barriers therein, both of the parents and participating ministers.
- Have the technology enhance the meeting and not detract from the experience.
- Many of the retreat participants are technically challenged or have fear of the technology.
- Perfect Video Conferencing was engaged to manage and facilitate the technology for the first retreat, guided for the 2nd retreat (and create templates) and is coaching for the third. We work ourselves out of a primary role by design.
- Use exiting support and training tools deployed by Google and Zoom.
- Create and share customized trainings specific to the ministry and the use of this technology to facilitate this type of retreat.
- Document the common problems and how to overcome them.
Learnings to Share:
- Practice makes perfect and digital kindness goes a long way. This retreat was a more intimate and connected experience than most had enjoyed since the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
- Have a backup plan for presenters, speakers and content sharing facilitators.
- Take a deep breath – the retreat participants understand that this is not the same, so they too are ready for the community.
The PVC team learned that creating video tutorials helped the Emmaus team immensely to feel more confident and not fearful of technology. PVC was honored to help facilitate the virtual retreat and helped take the intimacy of a retreat and bring it online. While not the same, it was a wonderful experience and a real connection for grieving parents in these disconnecting times. In these times we all have one too many online meetings and too few in-person hugs. Together we created the best experience of what video conferencing technology can offer and a deep sense of connection in a disconnected world.
Founded in 2009 by Randy N. Marcotte and John Killcommons, Perfect Video Conferencing was born of a commitment to integrity and partnership and the desire to create a boutique brand based on white-glove service to its customers.
What started as a simple conversation about shared values evolved into Perfect Video Conferencing. Those seeds of dedication to innovation and customer satisfaction has moved PVC from a shining star in a clouded sky of VARs to our own constellation of VAP – Value-Added Partner.
As our industry evolves, we continue to innovate and forge relationships in order to provide our customers with the most up-to-date unified communications solutions backed by the most customer-focused support, remaining true to those inspirations that are at our foundation.
The Emmaus Ministry for Grieving Parents serves the spiritual needs of parents whose children of any age have died by any cause.
As Jesus joined his distraught disciples on the road to Emmaus, we ask him to join each of us in this ministry as we struggle through this horrendous journey of grief every day. In the Franciscan tradition of “All Are Welcome,” please join us.