SUMMIT, NJ — The Faith Formation team at St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Summit knew that many members of its congregation wanted to get away for the summer, after being cooped up inside due to COVID-19, but it still wanted to keep parishioners connected. So it devised a way families could take a version of St. Teresa with them.
Inspired by the classic children’s book “Flat Stanley,” the parish recently launched a “Flat Teresa” program, in which families can bring a plastic cutout of St. Teresa of Avila, similar to a large paper doll, wherever they go. Family members are encouraged to share photos of themselves with “Flat Teresa,” so the rest of the congregation can keep up with their summer adventures on social media. The photos will be judged for a contest at the end of the summer, with categories such as “Most Unusual Photo.” Category winners will receive gift cards to a local ice cream parlor.
“The future of our church lies in our families and how we engage them,” said Cassandra Bosquet, director of Children’s Ministry at St. Teresa of Avila Parish. “Through the ‘Flat Teresa’ program, we’re trying to reinforce the togetherness of our parish families, so they see that, even if they take time off to be with other friends and family, they still have a home here at our church in Summit. They’ll always have a home here. The parish community is its own family.”
Though the program has just started, parishioners have already taken “Flat Teresa” on the road, from a fishing camp to California to Mass at the parish. Follow St. Teresa of Avila’s social media channels — @StTeresaofAvilaSUMMIT on Facebook, @STA_Summit on Twitter and @sta_summit on Instagram — to see where she goes next.
Photos Courtesy of St. Teresa of Avila Parish