Who Do People See As They Come to Our Church?

Carmel Bulletin, 27 October 2018

In the Gospel reading at Mass today, Bartimaeus is healed of his blindness.  He has the faith and courage to ask Jesus to do what would be impossible for mere mortals like us.  It seems likely that the first thing that Bartimaeus sees is the face of Jesus – a face of love, mercy and compassion.

Each of us is called to be that same face of Jesus to everyone we encounter in our lives.  And as we call ourselves Catholics, it seems only fair that we should start “in our own backyard”, or more precisely, at our own church doors.  A simple smile, a word of welcome, being there to answer a question or help with an issue can be crucial to ensuring that when people come here for Mass, they see in us the same Jesus that Bartimaeus saw.

Do you want to help people feel like they belong when they come to Mass?  We’re looking for people who can spend some time before Mass serving as welcomers, greeting people as they arrive and helping them to join in our gathering and celebration.

If you are interested in joining a team of people who provide hospitality to those who come to Sunday Mass, we invite you to attend an introductory workshop on

Wednesday 7 November at 7:00 pm in the Parish Centre

Register for the workshop now

If you have any questions, contact us.

Help Us Build a Welcoming Community

In the Gospel reading at Mass today, Jesus sets the challenge for the disciples: living in the likeness of Christ requires us to place ourselves at the service of others.

When we gather for Mass, that service to others begins from the moment people walk in the door.  Our vision as a parish is that families feel connected, supported and valued as they live and grow in their faith.  Making people feel welcome when they come to Mass is crucial to beginning that relationship.

We’re looking for people who want to make a difference to making feel welcome when they come to Mass by joining our hospitality ministry.  In particular, we’re looking for people who can spend some time before Mass serving as welcomers, greeting people as they arrive and helping them to join into our gathering and celebration.

If you are interested in being part of our welcoming ministry at Sunday Mass, we invite you to attend an introductory workshop:

Wednesday 7 November at 7:00 pm in the Parish Centre

Register for the workshop now

Welcome and Hospitality

Carmel Bulletin, 14 June 2015

Parish Vision StatementRecently, the pastoral council facilitated a parish forum that was focused on our parish vision that all families feel supported, connected and valued as they live and grow in their faith.  At that forum, some people recalled the practice of a former parish priest, Fr Laurie, who encouraged us to greet each other once we had gathered for Mass.

I have written here previously about the timing and meaning of the Rite of Peace at Mass, and about hospitality at Mass.  What the reflections of those who were present raised, however, was the obvious need for hospitality as part of our liturgical ministry to each other, and as a part of extending welcome and support to those who, for whatever reason, find themselves at our church even though they are not a regular participant in our celebrations.

One of the strategies that the pastoral council has identified from the feedback given at the forum is to extend welcome to new parishioners and to all who come to worship.  Over the coming months, the Liturgy Committee will begin to look at this in greater depth, examining what genuine welcome and hospitality look like in the context of the liturgy and ministry, and what steps we can take to strengthen this aspect of our parish life.

Of course, however, that doesn’t leave everyone else off the hook!  The vision is not the pastoral council vision, or the liturgy committee vision, but the parish vision.  It is still up to every one of us to work together to make people feel like they can truly belong to our faith community.

Hospitality

Carmel Bulletin, 8 February 2015

There’s a hardware retailer that has large, green stores all over the country that clearly trains its staff to do a very simple task.  Almost every time you pass an employee in the store, they make a point of saying hello.

The whole point of this is that people feel welcome.  If they feel welcome, then they’re more likely to return. That’s why many churches and parish communities have turned their attention to the hospitality they provide when people come to worship.

We certainly do our part; there may be people at the door handing out the Carmel and saying hello.  There may be tea and coffee available after Mass in the parish centre.  Yet this is only one part of the hospitality we need to provide.

Proclamation of the Word
Photo © 2014, Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

The manner by which the priest leads the community in prayer, the way the Ministers of the Word prepare their readings and proclaim them well, and the way musicians support the assembly in the singing of acclamations and hymns are just some ways our liturgical ministers provide hospitality to those who gather to pray.

The Sign of Peace
Photo © 2014, Alphonsus Fok, 321 Photography

Yet we are all called to show hospitality to others.  It can be as simple as moving a little further down the pew to let someone else take a seat.  It’s the warm smile that comes with the words “Peace be with you” at the sign of peace.  If a visitor has a question, can we answer it, or direct them to someone who can help them?  Making sure that the church is clean also helps contribute to hospitality.

Parish Vision StatementHospitality, therefore, is everyone’s business.  It’s not just a job a few people volunteer to do, but something that is part of the culture of vibrant, welcoming parishes.  Not only does it encourage people to participate fully, consciously and actively in the liturgy, but it’s also crucial to us achieving our vision to help families feel connected, supported and valued.

18/11/12 – Church Renewal Committee Report and Name Tags

Church Renewal Process

Church Renewal Committee Report

The Church Renewal Committee met this week with architect Jesse Mowbray.  Jesse outlined to the committee the terms of the Client and Architect Agreement and responded to questions.  The committee passed the motion that Fr Paul sign the agreement, which formally commissioned Jesse to develop three possible design concepts for the internal renewal of the church.  After completing exploratory work on the building, and spending time within the parish community during the rest of this year, Jesse will spend the first half of next year developing proposals of how the church can best be arranged to realise the vision articulated by parishioners through the consultation process.

Name TagName Tags

Following the recent formation workshops, Ministers of the Word and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion have been issued with name tags.  As time goes on, name tags will be provided to other ministers and parishioners who request them.

Your name tag, of course, is only useful if you wear it!  Fr Paul would like to see everybody who has a name tag wearing it so we can all get to know each other a little more, and at least be able to call people by name more often.  It’s a simple way of strengthening our relationships with each other and building up our parish community.  So please remember to bring your name tag with you to Mass.