Children's
Ministries

The Catholic Parish of Hornsby run a Children's Ministry which includes various school based programs and which oversees and supports a variety of children and youth ministries.

Summary of Learnings

Jennifer Skelly was employed as Pastoral Assistant for Children’s Ministries by the Catholic Parish of Hornsby for twelve hours per week over a two year period. This ministry included co-ordinating CCD, Ready for School and Back to School programs, overseeing Children’s liturgy, junior altar servers, parish playgroups and liaising with the Catholic School REC. The role also included supporting youth ministry.

In discussing the CCD ministry Jennifer drew on her experience in responding to a variety of questions regarding the co-ordination of this ministry.

In her role Jennifer noted that one of most important aspects was to work as part of a team. This involved connecting with other ministries and participating in them so that she had knowledge of the other activities happening in the parish. Likewise people who were engaged in other ministries were invited to participate in Children’s ministries.

With this shared knowledge it was then easier to support other ministries and to find ways to maximise or share resources.

Attending a variety of parish events and being a part of other parish groups such as a bible study group and the parish community dinners also provides the opportunity to meet and connect with people in the parish. These sorts of activities provide the opportunity to invite people into the various parish ministries on offer.

Particularly in terms of Catechist recruiting there is a lot that can be accomplished through celebration and stories. Rather than have an annual “appeal’ for catechists, emphasis was placed on having an annual mass to celebrate the ministry with lovely thanksgiving reflections.

Regular information about catechist events and successes were published in the parish newsletter as well as having stories on Catechists who are working in the ministry.

In telling the stories of people in the ministry potential volunteers can see the journey that people have in coming into ministry, the benefits they gain from participation and some of the challenges they face in terms of time and confidence.

Another important aspect of recruitment is to remind the parish about the ministry that is being conducted on their behalf – to celebrate this; the annual mass included a blessing of the catechists by the parish and the assigning of prayer partners to pray for the teachers as they work.

Jennifer also acknowledges the many ways that participation in ministry can benefit people in their everyday lives. Through parishioners participating in the Catechist ministry she has witnessed new migrants gaining confidence and skills to enter the paid workforce and has seen the impact of the support of the catechist team to people undertaking study or simply in offering prayer support in challenging times.

To encourage people into ministry there must be pathways to make it an easy transition. In the catechist ministry Jennifer found that the best way to invite people into ministry was as a classroom helper.

In this way a new recruit can be eased into the ministry building their confidence, knowledge and friendships, taking on first one task, then another. Integral to building this confidence and knowledge was participating in the Diocesan CCD support and training.

With regard to ministry Jennifer stated “we have to move our faith from being a service to a mission. It’s important to centre ourselves with words of Jesus when he said “Do this in memory of me”.

It is the Eucharist that centres us to understand ourselves as being His heart, voice and hands and thus to go forth in mission to serve.

As people working in ministry we should reflect on what we are doing “in memory of Christ.” This question helps to empower us in our ministry and gives us that inspiration for mission in our local context first and foremost.

Summary of Learnings

  • Our view of ministry should move from being “a service” to our mission
  • When people are paid in ministry it means that they can dedicate their primetime to its development, they can be immersed in it. This means that they focus on improvement and growth
  • The best way of recruiting volunteers is celebrating the ministry, telling the stories of volunteers in the newsletter, having a special mass to celebrate their achievements. Its important to remind the parish of the ministry that is being carried out on their behalf

 

  • In a parish setting it is helpful to have people work across ministry so that they are better able to see opportunities and offer support
  • We need to remember that for the volunteer engaged in ministry there can be something in it for them, skill or personal development.
  • It’s important to centre ourselves with words of Jesus when he said “Do this in memory of me”. It is the Eucharist that centres us to understand ourselves as being His heart, voice and hands and thus to go forth in mission to serve. As people working in ministry we should reflect on what we are doing “in memory of Christ.”

Catholic Diocese of
Broken Bay

Building 2, 423 Pennant Hills Road
Pennant Hills NSW 2120

PO Box 340
Pennant Hills NSW 1715

Phone 02 9847 0000
Fax 02 9847 0001
news@dbb.org.au

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