St Anthony's Mass brings students, parents and grandparents together
They sang and they laughed. Then coming back from communion to I’m Going to Let it Shine one girl began to clap in time, soon everyone was clapping in time.
While we all have the same deep need to worship we all have different ways in which that need is satisfied. While some people need silence and stillness, others need activity and flamboyance. Fr Ephrem speaks of the importance of variety in our liturgy across the parish so that there is room for everyone.
In this spirit the students, staff and friends of St Anthony’s came together on a Sunday at 4.30pm last month. There was Mass as usual at 10.30am but at 4.30pm it was over to the school students to celebrate in their own way.
Accolades to Jenny O’Brien who had decorated the church to reflect approaching spring. There was a spring banner at the front of the church and the pews were decorated with flowers. The feeling in coming into the church was that something different was about to happen.
Equal accolades to John Ashby who led the singing group. Music can set the tone. Together the singing group lead with gusto and everyone there responded by joining in. Director of Religious Studies Denise Johnson says people have a lot of different commitments in the week. It’s not so important when we celebrate Mass, more that we do celebrate it, 4.30pm is a time that works for most parents. She is keen to have Mass at this time each term.
The students wrote the prayers themselves. There was deep reverence in their prayer. The prayers were a reminder that when we get together as families and as a parish family it is different to all the other things in our life, we connect with each other and with God. Our worries and distractions fade away and the love that is God is all around.
Denise along with Principal Jennifer Ioannou are excited about this break from tradition and what it adds to our faith community. Future 4.30pm Masses might include a BBQ afterwards so people can get to know one another better.
Fr Lindus Clovis is a priest of St Lucia in the West Indies. He holds a doctorate in mathematics, but his great love is Mary and her advocacy for us all.Speaking at St Patrick’s early this month he recounted how the Spanish were only able to break through and convert the Aztecs, taking them away from their hardened blood sacrifices, with the help of Mary. She worked with an Aztec convert and together they founded a chapel that led to many miracles, not least the conversion of ten million Aztecs to Christianity. Fr Lindus’s main message was that Mary wants us to be with God for all eternity. She knows that we have free will and, in that knowledge, foresees what is ahead and advocates for us. She does not hesitate to intervene to lead us to her son Jesus.
What's a parish manager?
The advertisement is out for a new parish manager. This is an uncommon role in New Zealand parishes. A search found only four across the country. Here’s their advice on what we should be looking for, in their own words.
Margaret von Hartitzsch, Pastoral Co-ordinator, Napier (first photo)
Parishes are busy places. They need a point of co-ordination. The most important part of my role is providing a common point of contact.
Maggie Cooper, Parish Administration and Pastoral Co-ordinator, Tauranga (second photo)
Below are the duties related to the Pastoral aspect of my job:
Coordinate involvement of parishioners in:
The "person specifications" for the Administrative Role are:
The Parish has recently also employed a Pastoral Assistant (11 hrs p/w) , her main role is to visit parishioners, and coordinate Holy Communion to be taken to the sick and homebound.
Magey Hamilton, Pastoral Co-ordinator, St Heliers
It’s been very interesting thinking about the role of a Pastoral Co-ordinator. I have been in this role for 16 years, and when I look at the original job description it bears little resemblance to what I do!
The number of Pastoral workers in our diocese has dwindled to just a few of us now but, when there were many, we used to gather as a Diocesan group 4 times a year for sharing and education, and I noted that we all had a different role. Some were more like Office Administrators, some were Sacramental Co-ordinators, others were involved with the sick and elderly, others Youth Ministry etc. Only 2 or 3 were in a general role like mine. So, it seems that we are what is needed in our parish.
St Ignatius Parish in St Heliers is smallish and generally middle-class. It is full of young families so has a real mix albeit mainly Pakeha with a small Tongan community and a smattering of many other ethnicities.
Our priest, John Dunn works on a Community Model of Church and so we are very much part of a team and, while he is the leader, he doesn’t rule. This makes for good and healthy working conditions and consultative decisions.
My role has developed into a supportive and mentoring role with oversight of most of the groups. It used to involve co-ordinating the Baptism and Sacramental Programmes but that became too big so we employ someone especially for that role.
I am not on the Parish Pastoral Council but submit a report each month and mostly attend the meetings.
Something I was required to set up from the outset was regular supervision. So, I see a Psychotherapist who is also a Spiritual Director monthly. I am a strong supporter of this as I believe it has enabled me to stay in this job for this long. Some priests have this too and find it very beneficial as we are often dealing with parishioners in difficult situations.
I think that one of the most important attributes is someone who has empathy and is able to meet people where they are at. I also help families to prepare funerals. Fr John and I work together in this capacity.
Another string to someone’s bow would be some Theology training. I haven’t had that background except for one off courses over the years.
And here’s what Fr John added
The qualities that have been so important in this role have included:
- Ability to listen attentively without pre-judging
- Ability to welcome people so that they feel at home in the parish
- Ability to work with the parish priest, and creatively find ways to exercise ministry with him or around him
- Good group skills and corresponding ability to carry out what was decided
- The gift of ‘letting go’ so that others are greatly enabled to enter into ministry (this in contrast to a dominating presence with pre-conceived ideas that dominates and frustrates the People of God’s right to participate at all levels of parish life). Correspondingly, a great gift of encouraging people to ‘have a go’ and enter into active participation in the parish.
In terms of faith, a passion for the Gospel, a love of the Word of God, and of God’s people. In terms of knowledge, the willingness to study and learn for the good of the people. In terms of self-critical self-awareness, a commitment to regular, professional supervision.
Stephanie Grantham Parish Co-ordinator, Palmerson North (and previously Parish Manager at St Anthony’s) (third photo)
Being the Parish Manager at Seatoun and now the Parish Coordinator here at the Cathedral Parish, has provided me with a wonderful and challenging role and a role that is definitely never boring. 😊.
When I started as the Parish Manager for St Anthony’s, my only experience with parish life was that of a parishioner. I had grown up in Seatoun and was privileged to experience a vibrant engaged community and that was the foundation of how I wanted to grow the parish again.
Having St Anthony’s school next door to our beautiful church gave me an opportunity to engage with the children and their families and work closely with the Principal and Director of Religious Studies. I believe one of the best initiatives that Fr Sanele and I facilitated was to increase the use of the church space by the school community. It was an opportunity for the children to really make the church their parish home, to respect the space and to grow their faith, creating a living parish.
The role for a Parish Manager / Co-ordinator includes matters that relate to the ministries and pastoral care of our community, the day to day life in the Parish and items /concerns raised by parishioners and members from the wider community.
I see the most challenging areas of this role is how to engage with the various ethnic communities within the parish and how to weave together 3 individual parishes and make it a shared parish.
Identifying influential and enthusiastic parishioners within those groups is key to getting them engaged and involved.
Here in Palmerston North, we have started some new initiatives over the last couple of years and when setting them up and running of them, I consistently talk about the Catholic community of Palmerston North, not the Catholic community of the Cathedral Parish. I encourage our parishioners to bring parishioners from other parishes to join in – the “Blokes Morning Tea”, our Shining Stars pre-school music group and others. The same could apply to the Holy Trinity Parish.
Our parishes here in Palmerston North still operate independently. Our future is an exciting challenge, being inclusive, positive and forward thinking will be our foundation to build upon.
My strengths are, being organised, empathetic and focused on the pastoral care of our parish, our community and our people. It’s OK to have new ideas, making them reality is a lot harder. Your Parish Manager needs to be able to identify who are the right people, getting ‘buy in’ is critical and having to make some hard decisions when you know they are the right decision for your parish. A very big positive in the Trinity Parish would be the interaction of not only three primary schools, but the two secondary schools. What an amazing advantage to have so many engaged people willing to bring your parish to be the best that it can be.
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