Becoming a more welcoming parish...
renewing and encouraging the faith in every parishioner
The ICPE Mission seeks to strengthen and encourage the local Church in the various countries in which our centres are located. At St Gerard’s we do our utmost to actively support the Church in our Archdiocese and beyond. In the last few years many doors have opened for us to minister in parishes around New Zealand through our Parish programme - Becoming a More Welcoming Parish.
This parish mission has two main aspects - the visitations and the teaching seminars. Members of our team split in twos and visit parishioners in their homes, particularly those in need or those who have not been attending Church for a while. We often do more listening than talking - people want to talk about their lives, their faith, their struggles. Sometimes they are open to receive prayer, often they want to hear our own experiences of God and His action in our lives. They are encouraged to have faith and to come back to the Church.
The 3-evening seminar is geared towards people who are active in their parish and are looking for more. The evenings include personal testimony, dance and drama, and talks that are both practical and inspirational. The topics deal with our own personal faith as well as how to share it with others in our parish. At the end of each evening there is time for personal talks as well as prayer ministry.
The ICPE team usually spends a week in a parish. In between visitations we run programmes at local Catholic schools and youth groups. The team members often stay with different families in the parish. This in itself provides blessing and encouragement for the families involved and also builds friendships which last long after the parish mission ends
Fr Martin Bugler Te Atatu Parish Auckland, NZ
Now let us do likewise..
"The members of the Team visited so many homes in the parish, praying before, after and during their visits. The visits, though brief, touched many hearts deeply. How much more deeply did they touch and bring a blessing to the homes in which they were billeted.
Most of all they touched my life and my home. The presbytery was filled with the joy of the Lord as we had lunch and other meals together, and as each day’s outreach was carefully and prayerfully prepared for and afterwards reported on.
God’s blessing be with this team of young people! Their generous response to Jesus’ call inspires us to like generosity. They offered their five loaves and two fish so that the hungry might be fed. Now, let us do likewise!"