As lockdowns emerged and restrictions increased across the country last year, communities found new and creative ways to stay connected.
In late March, a box of chocolates, a knitted chicken and an anonymous note were left on the doorstep of the Norwood Presbytery in South Australia:
“I am a little Easter Chick, chirping on my way. You may ask, “What are you doing on such a lovely day?” I say, “Don’t hinder me, I pray; I’m here to spread Easter joy because it’s Easter day!”
With the parish newsletter having recently moved from print to email, and Masses and church events postponed, the Parish Office embraced the chick and missioned him to bring some joy to the community.
Children were invited to draw pictures of the chick and to put forward name suggestions to be voted on. ‘Bird of Pray’, ‘Lay-ola’ and ‘Superchook’ were amongst the popular suggestions, but it was the name ‘Eggnatius’ (after Saint Ignatius of Loyola) that eventually won out.
An Eggnatius-themed ‘Home Page’ was established, and it quickly became a regular and popular addition to the parish newsletter.
In the weeks and months since, Eggnatius’ Home Page has featured prayer invitations, recipes, craft activities and more recently, footy tips! The aim of the newsletter is to promote community engagement in a lighthearted and fun way. Eggnatius has become somewhat of a ‘mascot’ for the parish, and has firmly secured his place as a much loved member of the community.
Following his initial success, the Norwood Parish Craft Group presented Eggnatius with two Companions, ‘Clayer’ and ‘Chooknatelli’, who were named by the community after the Jesuit Saints Peter Claver and Joseph Pignatelli respectively, with a footnote that ‘Pignatelli and Chooknatelli go together like bacon and eggs’. More recently, ‘Layola’ joined the flock and just last week was transferred to the Retreat House at Sevenhill.
“Eggnatius is really about fun,” Parish Secretary Kate Hill said. “He now has too many followers for us to decide to discontinue.”
“Only yesterday we received an email from a parishioner stating: “Time for Eggnatius to write his book! A children’s book, perhaps, or an adult book of great wisdom!””
As COVID-19 continues to affect the way we engage with each other, particularly with the news of recent lockdowns in Victoria, Eggnatius is a wonderful reminder of how we can find and create opportunities for joy and connection in our communities.