Parish Newsletter — Volume 1:2

Parish Vision Statement
St. Patrick Parish is a vibrant and engaged faith community committed to building up one another in Christ. We are nourished by the sacraments and our shared service to one another and the wider community.

Annual General Meeting & Ministry Appreciation: June 6, 2019
At the close of the Pastoral Year (2018-2019), parishioners were invited to a first Annual General Meeting of the Parish (AGM), to hear what the Councils and Organizations had accomplished and what is planned for the coming Pastoral Year (2019-2020). The goal and purpose of this meeting was to share information with parishioners. The responses to some of the questions on the parish survey indicated a desire on the part of parishioners for increased communication from the different groups within the parish structure that affected the day to day operation and activity of the parish. There were many activities and events over the past year; those who prepared and presented these spoke of the successes achieved through your participation and generosity, not only to our parish but to the broader community in our city and country. Representatives from the Pastoral Council, Finance Council, Leadership Team, Catholic Women’s League and Knights of Columbus presented a summary of their activities and answered parishioners’ questions.  The consensus from those attending the AGM was that we should continue these meetings on an annual basis and encourage more parishioners to attend. The Ministries Appreciation Reception followed the AGM and was catered by CMB Catering.  This reception was planned as an opportunity for those who are engaged in ministry to be honoured for their commitment to the parish and for their dedication to the ministry in which they serve.

Divine Renovation: Year One Goals Review
Our parish has embarked on a journey of faith enrichment and personal renewal for the parishioners along the path called Divine Renovation.  This project is pastoral in nature, which is to say, it is about renewing people’s relationship with Christ and their engagement with the parish and community here at St. Patrick’s. There is nothing to fear from Divine Renovation; we are moving forward with small steps and will keep you informed as to what is happening. Drawing inspiration from the Five-Year Plan created by the Pastoral Council, the Leadership Team developed and fulfilled several of the Goals identified by the Pastoral Council.  Among these, to increase awareness and improve communication with parishioners, a new bulletin board was installed and all three were revised so as to give parishioners more pertinent information and to highlight the activities of the parish. Students from Holy Trinity High School were engaged in this plan; they provided art work that highlighted liturgical seasons and presented messages of faith.  Creating opportunities for young people to participate in the life and ministry of the parish is a major goal of the Five-Year Plan and from the Parish Survey.

Each week our parish welcomes “new parishioners and visitors” at the introduction to Mass.  To make this welcome personal a Welcome Team has come together to invite new members of our community to parish events and to familiarize them with who and what we are as a faith community.  Being “invitational” as a parish (everybody invites) is a major Divine Renovation goal. With this new Team we are building on our strength as an open and welcoming parish.

One of the key projects undertaken by the parish to meet the Goal of assisting parishioners know more about the Catholic faith, the parish subscribed to, a program offered by the Augustine Institute and Ignatius Press.  Presenting a wide variety subjects, for young and old, and making use of diverse formats, offers parishioners programming to nourish and nurture one’s spiritual life and one’s relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Leadership Team, taking its direction from the Pastoral Council, will continue to implement action plans to accomplish the goals not only from the Five-Year Plan but also the recommendations which the Council has identified from the Parish Survey results.

As we move into Year Two of the Five-Year Plan, the Pastoral Council and Leadership Team will be working to strengthen our awareness of and participation in the areas of evangelization (don’t be frightened by the word), liturgy, discipleship, and community.

Ministry Formation: Discovering New Meaning in Ministry

To meet the first-year goal of ongoing formation for liturgical ministers, our ministers of Communion, the Word, and Music were given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of their ministry and how to best prepare themselves to participate in it for the benefit of the whole community. Musicians and Eucharistic Ministers were fortunate to have Heather Reid, an accomplished music minister and liturgist, present the Church’s teaching on these ministries, especially in light of the new (2010) Instruction from Rome. Touching on the meaning and purpose of these ministries, Heather presented rich and informative workshops.  Music ministers learned of the “changes” in the new Instruction as to the nature of hymnody at particular times in the liturgy (i.e. singing a hymn with an easily remembered refrain at Communion). Eucharistic Ministers were offered a particular understanding and model for their ministry: “not just helping Father,” but sharing in Jesus’ ministry arising from the Last Supper when he said, “take: this is my body,” and “he gave [the cup] to them” (Mark 14:22-23). As Jesus gives himself in the Eucharists, so the ministers give Christ and themselves to others. Lectors were offered a morning “mini retreat” by Fr. Shepherd.  He presented the spirituality and theology of this ministry and led the participants in an exercise of exegesis (an interpretation of scripture), showing the link between the Binding of Isaac in Genesis and Jesus’ passion and crucifixion. An Instruction for Lectors (not from Rome), outlining the fundamentals of this ministry was presented and will be examined more closely in the next Pastoral Year before being adopted for our parish.

Church Renovation: What’s Next?
At the AGM members of the Finance Council presented a summary of our financial position (very good) and what is planned for the continuation of the restoration of the church – inside and out.  This Council has reviewed the Condition Report for the Church and Rectory and, in keeping with Diocesan Protocols, is asking an engineering form to update that earlier report.  The new assessment will give us a current priorities list from which to continue restoring the parish’s buildings. One issue that must be resolved before any interior work can be done is the humidity in the church rising up from the basement.  There are large open areas of the basement with exposed soil which, seasonally, becomes damp from ground water seeping up into it.  this causes excessive amounts of moisture in the church which adversely affects the plaster, paint, and wood.  We are engaging a company that specializes in assessing the Building Envelope (the quality with which the elements are kept out and heating, etc., is kept in).  Once this assessment is made and a plan to remediate the cause and effects of humidity, the Finance Council will address restoration and interior work. We have, on deposit with the Archdiocese (at 3.5% interest), a sizeable sum, but the age and nature of our church and rectory mean that we must still collect and put aside money for this restoration work.  Going forward, we will be holding fundraising events for the Restoration Fund.  We have been especially blessed to have a parishioner pledge a matching donation, dollar for dollar, for all that we raise for our parish. The people of Fallowfield, from 153 years ago to this day, have supported and maintained the historical and spiritual character of this church.  We continue to do our part to carry on the legacy the earliest families handed on to us and to future generations.

— Fr. Paul