A Heart For Others – Using Your Gifts To Help Others – A Spiritual Reflection
A Heart for Others—Using Your Gifts to Help Others
A key part of our “Parish Vision” will be outreach to people who do not, or can not, attend Mass on a regular basis at the Church of St. Monica. One group of very special people who belong to this group are the sick, disabled and non-mobile members of the parish. They comprise a number of categories:
- People who would come but for whom transportation is not available.
- People who live at home and cannot come to Mass at St. Monica Church due to age or illness
- People who live at “Devon Manor Nursing Home” and are healthy or mobile enough to attend monthly Mass when we celebrate in the nursing home.
- People who live at “Devon Manor Nursing Home” but are sick and not mobile and would need to receive Holy Communion in their rooms.
- People who live at “Trinity House” and are healthy or mobile enough to attend Mass if we celebrated it there.
- People who live at “Trinity House” but are not healthy or mobile enough to attend Mass and would need to receive Holy Communion in their rooms.
In considering the needs of these parishioners, and in light of our “Parish Vision” to reach out and serve others, why not look to begin in our own backyard? Thus, I decided to re-examine the policies and practices of our pastoral ministers which include: Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, Lectors and even our Altar Servers and Sacristans. In discussing this with some of our current parish ministers, some thoughts and issues that have arisen are:
- Awakening the parish to the critical shortage of people who are ministering to our shut-in and in-firmed parishioners. This is especially important since they are truly “the least” of our brothers and sisters and should be the primary focus of our Extraordinary Ministers (NOT Mass on weekends),
- The steady decline of the number of Extraordinary Ministers, Lectors, Altar Servers and Sacristans available at Mass during the week and on weekends.
- The need for our ministers themselves, to be refreshed and have their “Eucharistic Hearts” fed by the Pastor during some type of annual retreat or day-of-reflection as well as a way for the ministers to feed themselves over the course of a year (“One cannot give what one has not received”)
- Encouraging our ministers to faithfully attend Eucharistic Adoration in some way. Several opportunities exist at St. Monica including Monday Adoration every week and “Nocturnal Adoration” during the First Friday of the Month. In addition, The church is open daily for ministers to have a private “visit” (say, 15 – 30 minutes) once a month – or even more often.
- Ways to include our young people (Altar Servers, Sacristans, Hospitality Greeters) in such “service-oriented” ministries.
- There is a critical need for an individual or several individuals to help manage, schedule and monitor the logistical aspects of each of these ministries which would include the items below:
o The need to begin to invite, train and encourage our younger parishioners to become Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, Altar Servers and Sacristans.
o The need to train and re-certify all of our Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Lectors according to the guidelines of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
o The coordination of the “Eucharistic Outreach Ministry” as outlined above.
As the lone priest here at St Monica, I cannot address the pastoral needs of all of our ministers nor our parishioners all alone. Thus I am sending this out to all of our ministers (Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of Communion, Altar Servers, Sacristans) to pray, re-evaluate and discern their ministry and commitment to this important calling. In addition, I am appealing to all other parishioners, who feel that they might be called to active ministry in one of these areas, to prayerfully consider assisting me in this initiative.
If interested, please contact me at 610-644-0110 ext. 119.
Thank you and God bless!