Faith and Life
Catholic Diocese of Wollongong   March 2012
In this Issue
Liturgy Notes
What's Happening in Youth Ministry?
The Promise & Challenge of WYD
Building Parish Life
CatholicCare Marriage Recruitment
Ten Questions With Bishop Peter
Ministry Profile
Helpful Hints
Links and Resources
Upcoming Events
Stewardship Renewal Day
Upcoming Youth Events
Chrism Mass Choir
Appin Massacare Memorial
Musicians Workshop
Spirit Alive: Ministry Festival
 
Liturgy Notes

By Paul Mason (Diocesan Liturgy Coordinator)

Welcome to “Liturgy Notes”, the liturgy and music section of the new Faith & Life e-newsletter. Each month there will be a number of news items and feature articles on liturgy and liturgical music, as well as a regular section on recommended music selections for upcoming Sunday Masses.Read more



View this month’s articles by clicking the links below:

Catholic Youth Ministry Wollongong - What's Happening?

If you’d like to stay connected with Catholic Youth Ministry Wollongong head to www.facebook.com/cymdow but here’s a sample to get you started:

21-22 April & 19-20 May - Youth Ministry Essentials
Youth Ministry Essentials is an exciting, intensive training program for those involved in ministry with young people. Facilitated by Catholic Youth Ministry Brisbane, the program is open to anybody wishing to further develop their skills and knowledge in ministry with young people. Read more

The program will provide an opportunity for valuable personal growth and an experience that will deepen participants’ understanding and appreciation for this important ministry of the church. The program itself is a tool, a developed series of sessions to assist you in developing yourself as a minister with young people. Much of the learning will occur with the interaction between participants over the course of the program. This is a free event for participants who live or work in the Diocese of Wollongong. Download Youth Ministry Essentials Flyer.

13-15 July - Diocesan Young Adult Retreat
Each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift. The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. (Eph 4:7, 11-13)

Come along to this Year of Grace event, connect with other young people, soak up the beauty of the Southern Highlands and spend some time encountering the grace of our God. Download Diocesan Young Adult Retreat Flyer.

21-23 September - Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Convention
Take advantage of this national Youth Ministry event when it comes right into our own backyard. The ACYMC aims to provide:

  • High quality formation and training for those engaged in youth ministry across Australia;
  • An opportunity for youth ministers to network within and beyond their immediate fields of ministry; and
  • A space for youth ministers to seek spiritual reflection and nourishment

Download Australian Catholic Youth Ministry Date Claimer Flyer.

The Promise and Challenge of
World Youth Day

By Loretta Brinkman (Diocesan Youth and Young Adult Coordinator)

When World Youth Day came and went in 2008 the Australian church was left with a promise and a challenge ringing in its ears: the promise, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you” and the challenge, “You will be my witnesses.” From the moment the last pilgrim left our shores many have been waiting with baited breath to see if the promise is indeed fulfilled and if we are up to the challenge. Read more

Many have been quick to judge the fruits of World Youth Day Sydney, but may I also suggest that many may have had expectations beyond the realm of possibility.

World Youth Day Sydney was a grace for both our country and our church. Like the Canonisation of St Mary of the Cross, it brought the faith and tradition of our church into bold headlines and lead news stories, but when these are replaced with the usual humdrum news what remains? What remains is a vibrant network of committed youth ministers across our vast country, working tirelessly in parishes, schools, ecclesial movements and religious congregations, walking the journey of faith with young people each and every day. And now, after World Youth Day, this youth ministry community has one united vision that directs their mission: ‘Anointed and Sent: An Australian Vision for Catholic Youth Ministry’.

Anointed and Sent was published by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference in 2009, after it had been initiated by the Australian Network of Diocesan Youth Ministry Coordinators and presented to the inaugural Youth Leader’s Gathering following World Youth Day. While it had been a work in progress for many years, there is no doubt that the focus given to youth ministry due to World Youth Day allowed this vital document to finally become a reality.

Anointed and Sent takes the following passage as its guiding image: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour” (Lk 4:18-19). This document takes very seriously the challenge of World Youth Day, to be witnesses, and it gives us a framework to guide us strategically on our way.

Taking up three goals and eight focus areas that are based in Scripture and Canon Law Anointed and Sent hopes to provide a response to the question that many were asking after World Youth Day, “where to from here?” The three goals presented are:

  • To foster the personal and spiritual growth of each young person;
  • To draw young people into responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community; and
  • To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.

It is suggested that these three goals can be worked towards through eight focus areas:Prayer and Worship:

  • Evangelisation
  • Catechesis
  • Pastoral Care
  • Community Life
  • Justice and Service
  • Leadership Development
  • Advocacy

Anointed and Sent has been one of the many blessings of World Youth Day, it is a resource for youth ministers, in fact, a resource for all involved in pastoral ministry within our church. It provides a framework and strategic direction that allows us to harness our power and take on the challenge of being witnesses to our young people.

The late Bishop Joe Grech, a great advocate for young Catholics, writes in his introduction, “Young people are the church of today, not only the church of tomorrow. We are all in relationship with young people in some way, and each young person is important. Young people are a part of our community and we all need to be active in ministry with them to reflect this. We are God’s work of art (cf. Eph 2:10) and this means that every human being, including our young people, needs to be given the best. The best is to help each other to develop an even deeper relationship with Jesus Christ”. I can’t think of a better place to start, can you?

To download or order copies of Anointed and Sent and read about other exciting post World Youth Day Youth Ministry initiatives head to www.youthministry.catholic.org.au.

Building Parish Life:
Belonging and Engagement

By Darren McDowell (Parish Services Coordinator)

Where do I belong? We all belong and desire to belong somewhere, a country, a family, a culture, a parish or school community. Our sense of belonging is part of what it means to be human, it provides us with meaning and identity, a sense of purpose and security. Our sense of belonging empowers us to participate, develop our skills and talents and move out in love and compassion to those in need. Read more

A “sense of belonging is recognised as an important component of social capital, the glue created by trust, shared values, and experiences, and common purpose that holds a [community] together and enables people to work together more effectively for the good of all.”

When applied to our lives of faith, this need to belong, to be united with one another, serves a deeper purpose – engaging in mission. Through Baptism we are united as the Body of Christ. This unity however, exists for the purpose of moving us out beyond our comfort zones, beyond the security of ‘our group’ towards others. Pope John Paul II expressed it well in saying “Communion [belonging and unity] and mission are profoundly connected with each other, they interpenetrate and mutually imply each other to the point that communion represents both the source and the fruit of mission: communion gives rise to mission and mission is accomplished in communion.” Thus, whilst Baptism and the strong ties of community hold us in unity, they also send us out through giving us the strength and support required to reach out to others, inviting them to become part of the community.

So, how might we go about building this sense of belonging that leads us into mission? In the Building Stronger Parishes Project, the ACBC Pastoral Research Office has identified a number of factors and examples of how these elements can enhance the life of a parish. On the whole they identified that parish leaders “influence Mass attenders’ sense of belonging in a very powerful way, particularly through their ability to communicate a clear vision for the parish, their ability to get people to work together, and a readiness to encourage parishioners to put their gifts and skills to use for the good of the parish.” This endeavour however is not simply the responsibility of clergy but indeed all involved in leadership and ministry within the life of the parish.

The elements identified through the Building Stronger Parishes project included:

  1. Identification and Encouragement of the Gifts and Skills held by Parishioners. According to the research “Mass attenders who felt that they were encouraged by leaders in the parish to use their gifts and skills were almost three times as likely to have a sense iof belonging as those who felt that they were not being encouraged to use their skills.” One of the best ways to accomplish this is ‘tapping people on the shoulder’, recognising and naming their gifts and asking them if they would like to share their gifts with the community. Such identification requires us to get to know each other and be on the look out for needs and opportunities that may present themselves.
  2. Clear Vision and Mission. This was important as it provided parishioners with a sense of purpose and direction and a reason to belong. “Feeling part of the parish is strongly influenced by whether parishioners are well informed about and committed to the vision of the pairsh.” Our Diocesan vision is ‘Bearers of Christ’s Love’ and many parishes have also created their own vision and mission statements to good effect.
  3. Positive experiences of the Community at Prayer – especially the Sunday Liturgy. We’re probably all aware of how uplifting a good liturgical experience can be for our spiritual nourishment. The research found that “those who usually had positive worshop experiences were twice as likely to feel part of the community as those who rarely experienced inspiration, joy or helpful homilies.” While ‘positive worship experience’ is somewhat subjective there are some important elements that will assist all people gain this experience. Questions we may ask include: Do we have a varied and known musical repoitre? Are our cantors and choirs truly leading the congregation in song? Can our readers be understood when proclaiming the Word?

These three elements for developing a deeper sense of belonging and mission provide food for thought and invite us to explore ways in which we can develop the life of our parishes. Questions worth asking include how can we assist more people in using their gifts and talents, how might we develop a clearer vision and mission for the parish, how are we able to enhance our liturgical experience? Some useful examples can be found in the preliminary report entitled Building Stronger Parishes that can be found at www.buildingstrongerparishes.catholic.org.au

CatholicCare Recruiting Marriage and Relationship Educators

CatholicCare Wollongong is seeking to recruit people to assist in the running of the Partnership Course in the Wollongong and Campbelltown regions on a casual basis. In particular we are looking for a male to assist with our Campbelltown courses. Read more

The Partnership Course seeks to provide encouragement, support and insights into how to have a happy, rewarding and lifelong relationship. It also aims to equip couples with skills for dealing with the challenges they will face in marriage. Partnership is conducted by a male and female team. If you are interested in the opportunity please contact program coordinator, David Bunder on 0429 367 990 or call 4254 9343.

Ten Questions With...
Bishop Peter Ingham
Bishop of Wollongong
  1. When and where were you born?

    Crows Nest, NSW – 19 January, 1941.

  2. What do you normally eat for breakfast?

    Orange juice, vitamin tablets, an orange, cereal and a cup of tea.

  3. What book/s are you currently reading?

    I’m always reading the Divine Office, and I read The Tablet each week. Books are more things I dip into when I’m looking for material to talk about in homilies or speeches. I haven’t read a novel for years because I don’t have the time.

  4. Pick three words that describe your life so far.

    Contented, busy and joyful.

  5. What's your earliest memory?

    I can remember going with my mother to Cowra and Hay during the Second World War. My father was working up there in the army at the prisoner of war camps. I’ve got this memory of being on the train with Mum going up to see him. That would have been sometime before 1945.

  6. What country would you most like to visit and why?

    I’ve never been to South America. I know there are many countries there, but it is one part of the world I’ve never ventured into. Possibly World Youth Day might be the time.

  7. Who are your heroes?

    Cardinal Freeman, Cardinal Bernardin (Chicago) and Cardinal Hume; to me they were all great mentors or models of being a Bishop in the modern world. Another one of my heroes was Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, the Vietnamese Cardinal whom I knew, I knew his family and spent time with him on his visits to Sydney and also in Rome. He’s a great hero of mine because he was all those years in a communist prison; thirteen years, nine of them in solitary confinement. A man who was so gentle, and yet so strong. I was able to be in Rome for the opening of the Cause for his Canonisation.

  8. What's one thing you could never give up for Lent?

    Going to bed.

  9. What inspires you in your ministry within the Church?

    Jesus Christ, obviously, he’s my inspiration. The needs of people; being able to do something practical to help somebody else. The great satisfaction that God has enabled you to do something that has really helped somebody.

  10. In 25 words or less, what message do you believe the world needs to hear the most?

    Forgiveness: building bridges, reconnecting people, bridging the divides that exist. Justice: it’s because of unjust situations that people are divided and are at each other, and, of course love binds all things together. I believe forgiveness is one of the hardest sayings of Jesus.

Ministry Profile

Parish Pastoral Councils
By Alan Raisbeck (Chairperson, Parish Pastoral Council, Maquarie Fields Parish)

The journey to pastoral support for the clergy and parishioners in Mary Mother of the Church, Macquarie Fields commenced with formation, discernment and prayer circa 2006 under the auspice of Fr Michael Knight SVD. During the next two years a select group of parishioners participated in focus groups facilitated and aided by the Parish Services team at the Office of the Bishop in Wollongong. The first Parish Pastoral Council was elected in July 2007. The first meeting of the council was held on 24 August 2007. Read more

The Mission of the parish is “To be a light unto the world” and our Vision is “To fulfil God’s will in our parish by being instruments for spiritual renewal and growth, and to be able to serve our parish members and the community. We would like to become a spiritual home inviting both young and old, and people of all backgrounds and cultures, to love and learn the Catholic faith centred in Jesus Christ, through the intercession of Mother Mary.”

In striving to achieve our mission and vision our pastoral council aims to be a consultative body to our Parish Priest on ways to foster pastoral action - action that is centred on Jesus Christ; that proclaims the Gospel in terms that are meaningful for members of the Community; and that helps parishioners to discover and live, personally and as a Parish community, the mission of the Church.

During the five years since the formation of our first parish pastoral council our parish has grown in strength with many parishioners participating in the 40 or so ministries that are active in our parish. We have held numerous successful events that have aided in the growth of our faith life in the parish. These include:

  • A parish assembly at which parishioners expressed their ideas about the future for our parish.
  • An outreach to former parishioners and others interested in the Catholic Church with flyers placed in letter boxes of all homes in Macquarie Fields and Glenfield area. A number of people who responded attended a faith Life seminar held in the parish. The first pastoral council pastoral planning committee conducted this initiative.
  • Participation by parish in the Jesus All About Life campaign and hosting a successful seminar.
  • Participation by a number of parishioners in formation on Stewardship and the parish has established a stewardship committee which aims to foster commitment to our baptismal promises.
  • A program of faith renewal in the form of Parish Life days facilitated by a member of the Parish Services team.
  • Holding vibrant annual parish dinners, multicultural festivals, liturgical events and ministry expos and fairs.
  • The parish being always well represented at diocesan events including the diocesan pastoral planning forums.

I am now in my second two year term on the pastoral council and I feel that I have grown in my own faith as a result. When I take the time to reflect on my personal faith journey I am more convinced that the important things that have occurred are due to the influence of the Holy Spirit and I believe that I receive inspiration through a closer relationship with God. I also spend more time in prayer and discernment and I appreciate more fully the gifts God has given me and others. I am inspired by the obvious commitment to faith I see in other members of my parish community.

I look forward to the continued growth of our parish community as we develop our pastoral plan for the parish of Mary Mother of the Church, Macquarie Fields and I pray that God will bless our community and our Diocese.

Helpful Hints

How to Advertise Your Parish Event so that People Turn Up
By Richard McMahon (Director of Parish Services)

Two common complaints around parish events: “It’s always the same people who come!” or “We put in so much effort and hardly anyone showed up!” Here is a checklist which may help ensure the next event has a good turn up and successful outcome.Read more

Give Yourself Time... and God Time
Ensure you plan the big event at least three months ahead. This allows one month to shape the event with others and prepare materials. The second month to advertise and the final month to do follow up and do final preparations. Obviously, bigger events require longer time frames. So many events fail because effort was put into preparation with no time left to promote. Involve prayer from the outset, and ask your prayer groups to include your event in their intentions.

Who are You Inviting?
Is the event for committed parishioners? Is it for those who come to Sunday Mass but not involved in broader parish? Is it an outreach to those not normally at Sunday Mass? Is it for younger Catholics? Is it for retirees?
If the invitation is too broad or tries to capture all, everyone may slip through the net. Who do you really want to come?

What is the Goal of Your Event?
If you cannot answer this question in a short sentence, you are in trouble. A clear focus for your event will help people decide whether to attend. It will also help with your planning. A simple focus activity can be: “At the end of the event I hope people will have…” Then list three main goals (eg socialised; learnt about Christian ethics; felt appreciated in their parish roles; discovered what our parish has to offer).

What is Your Budget?
If the goal of your event is to reanimate your community, then this sounds significant and surely needs to be backed with a reasonable budget – including a realistic advertising budget. Sometimes all the budget goes into speaker and catering and nothing is left to promote! Conversely, a well-established function may require only minimal advertising.

Is it what People Want or Need?
You could have the best keynote speaker on ethics in the world, but is that what people are interested in? A short survey of parishioner interests may help appreciate what they want. Be sure to concentrate your survey on the focus group of who you are seeking to invite.

A different question is what is needed. Parish leadership can recognise the need for formation in liturgy or an event to build a fractured community. You may not get these answers from a survey of the general parish. Such events require a mixture of what people want (to get them to come) and what they need. As Mary Poppins says: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down!”

Is it at a Good Time?
Does it clash with sports awards, First Communion, the school fete or State of Origin? Has the parish or local region just held a big event; will people be tired out? Is it too close to Christmas or in school holidays? Is a focus on liturgy formation the best thing if a community is feeling fractured? Maybe they need a community building event first?

Is it also at a good time of week? Again, a survey can ask these questions, with some general questions about their demographics. So, if you discover those interested in Christian ethics are all retirees then maybe a weekday morning session may work best.

Is it a Welcoming Venue?
Size of the group is an important determinant to where you hold an event. The big hall is great but if only 15 people are coming, is there a smaller venue that would suit? A significant parish event may require a hire of a local venue. This shows that the event is special and ensures a good environment. A good venue will have adequate temperature control, enough toilets, a good speaker system, and a good stage and screen, and comfortable seating. Sometimes people won’t come because no matter how much they are attracted to your event, they remember how drafty the hall was last time or how hard the seats were or how they couldn’t hear anything. If you are catering, are there adequate kitchen facilities?

Who Will Promote and How?
Parishes sometimes fall over at this point with their event promotion. The main promoter becomes the priest from the pulpit and the bulletin. Modern marketing speaks of the “white noise” your message has to penetrate through to reach the listener. In other words, there are so many competing noises in our consumer world, that hearing an event advertised once may simply not find room in the listener’s mind.

The key is repetition of promotion AND promoting through many different formats: bulletin, pulpit, notice board, website, sandwich board, letter drop, flyers on pews, email, SMS alert, twitter, Facebook, school bulletin, local newspaper.

The most important promoter is personal invitation. If three separate people can invite one parishioner, they are far more likely to attend.

At the same time, we need to ask God to be at the heart of our event. A simple prayer of the faithful or parish prayer for larger events shows how serious this occasion is to the life of the community.

How to Get Others to Promote?
Quite simply, if an event is only the idea of one person, then others may help promote but may not be as enthusiastic. Is this an event which the parish pastoral council has helped put together? Are they passionate about it? What about the finance committee, liturgy committee, stewardship committee, adult faith team?

The more significant the event, the more important to bring the coordinators of all your parish ministries together as early as possible. If youth are involved then are youth representatives at this planning meeting? If it is for non-Mass goers, have you considered speaking to the school P&F or local community leaders to hear what are the broader concerns of the community? Could you combine neighbourhood watch issue with your event – if that is of concern to your area?

Brainstorm your ideas and event with them. Let them shape the event with you, let them share their ideas; let them share in the big decisions. If you can get your key community members excited and committed, then you are halfway there. Better still if they are putting up their hands to help with catering, set up and promotion. Alternatively, if they are only lukewarm, maybe it is time to reconsider your event’s goals.

Form a small team to promote and prepare for the event. This is crucial, as parish leaders, however committed, will have limited time to contribute and a good event promotion requires an ongoing commitment.

What is Your Advertising Content?
While you cannot judge a book by its cover, a poorly designed poster or messy bulletin notice may be all it takes to lose the interest of a potential attendee. Well designed glossy colour flyers say to people your event matters and compete with similar materials invading our letterboxes and emails daily. Surprisingly, 10,000 small colour glossy flyers can cost as little as $250! You may also consider investing in a graphic designer, or one may exist in your community. These people have special gifts in making your event engaging to your target audience.

Posters should have in large print the main goal of your event and a large image reflecting this goal. Consider A3 size (or larger!) People walk past notice boards at a distance and so large words and images are needed. Less is more with posters as long as there are clear contacts for finding out more information.

For your advertising does it answer these questions:

  • Why should I be interested? What will I get out of it?
  • Where? When?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Will there be food and drink (especially if around meal time)?
  • And for parish events – will they want me to do a job if I go? People are sometimes turned off because they are suspicious that there will be strings attached.
  • Do I need to RSVP?
  • Who do I contact? How?

Where is it Promoted?
As already noted, bulletin notices and a pulpit appeal are well short of what is needed.

Bulletin Notice
If your event matters, show that through the prominence in your bulletin. If possible, add an additional flyer and insert this in the bulletin. Ensure advertising occurs in the bulletin at least four to six weeks before event and try changing the message each week – as well as the heading. Different messages appeal to different people. Larger bulletins can include engaging images and perhaps the personal endorsement of recognized parishioners who are attending.

Speaking at Mass
Have other people deliver the invitation and then back it up with the priest’s endorsement. The priest may feel they are only repeating what has been said, but those in the pews are quick to judge what the priest may be enthusiastic about by the priest’s willingness to add their own words of support. Again, have the message delivered over a few weeks, with a different angle each time. If it is seeking a particular target group, then have someone from the target group offer the message.

Significant events may even require people to fill out an attendance form before the end of Mass and/or have a registration table set up after the Mass.

Local Catholic School
Both the Catholic Primary School and Regional Catholic School are excellent forums to share the message. Beyond the school newsletter and website, place posters at strategic locations, send flyers home with endorsement from principal and offer talks at assemblies.

Letters
A personalised letter from the parish priest to parishioners involved in ministry or to other key members of the parish followed up with a phone call from a member of the pastoral council to attend a planning meeting for your big event is a great start. Then the various coordinators can issue their own letters followed by their own calls to personally invite to the event.

Emails, SMS, Facebook, Twitter
The communication world is changing and it is important that your advertising employs these mediums. However, a word of warning. Do not become dependent solely on these approaches. Email boxes are overflowing and your message can be lost. Not everyone has computer access or is connected via facebook. There is also a message that you are making a greater effort if people receive a personalized paper invitation. An email attachment may never be open; an invitation in the hand is easier to ignore.

“How to Invite” Guide
There are flyers available which assist parishioners in inviting others to a gathering. It sounds like such a simple thing, yet Catholics tend to be shy and don’t like to be pushy. Offering them some simple techniques can take the pain out of inviting others. And, as we have said, personal invitation is the most powerful way of persuading others to participate.

Final Thoughts
There is easily space for another article as there are many more considerations. Most importantly, when people come to the event will they have a positive experience? Offering a good event does wonders for people’s desire to come again and for them to say to others that it is worth the outing!

Some things to consider at the event have been mentioned but include comfort for participants, a nice looking venue, good sound and lighting, proper accessibility including for those with a disability and for those who find walking difficult. Is there a crèche if the event is for families? Have people been asked for dietary needs? Does the event start and finish on time? If we are inviting strangers or people are unfamiliar with the locale is it well lit and signed? Are there ample parking spaces? Ushers and greeters can make a great difference too and good food and drink can make all the difference!

Links and Resources

Here is a list of links and resources relating to Faith and Life:Read more

Website and Bishop Peter Ingham

Bookstores

Youth & Young Families

Liturgy & Music

Faith & Spirituality

Inclusion & Outreach

Stewardship

Sacraments & RCIA

Pastoral Councils & Pastoral Planning

Contact Us

Darren McDowell
Coordinator of Parish Services
(02) 4253 0985
darren.mcdowell@dow.org.au