PARISH
MINISTRIES

PARISH SAFEGUARDING
MINISTRY OF WELCOMING
MINISTRY OF READING
MINISTRY OF COMMUNION
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT
MINISTRY OF MUSIC.fw
CHILDRENS LITURGY
SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION
SACRAMENT OF THE SICK
HOUSE VISITS FOR THE SICK

Parish Safeguarding

PARISH SAFEGUARDING

Every human being has a value and dignity which we as Catholics acknowledge as coming directly from God’s creation of male and female in his own image and likeness. This implies a duty to value all people and therefore to support them and protect them from harm.

In the Catholic Church this is demonstrated by the provision of carefully planned activities for children, young people and adults; supporting families under stress; caring for those hurt by abuse in the past; ministering to and managing those who have caused harm.

It is because of these varied ministries that we need to provide a safe environment for all, which promotes and supports their wellbeing. This will include carefully selecting and appointing those who work with children, young people or vulnerable adults and responding robustly where concerns arise. Children may be in need of protection from abuse or maltreatment in their own home or in other environments including the church itself. Wherever a child is at risk or concerns are raised about a child, all adults have a duty to act to safeguard that child and promote his or her welfare.

The need to safeguard children is not confined to any particular age group or groups in the community and all concerns should be responded to equally, always bearing in mind that the welfare of the child is paramount.

In all research and in reviews where a child has died or been seriously injured as a result of abuse, the same messages to all organisations come back time and again – namely, the importance of adults responding promptly to concerns, listening to children with respect and most importantly, communicating effectively with one another within and between organisations and agencies.

The Parish Rep has special responsibility for raising awareness of safeguarding aims and policies, and promoting good and safe practices in all activities involving children, young people and vulnerable adults within the parish. He or she is responsible to the Parish Priest and the Commission.

The Rep is the link between the parish and the wider team and as such is in regular contact with the Co-Ordinator and his team. The Rep attends training sessions and has a sound knowledge of the policies and procedures ensuring they are implemented and consistently adhered to. The Rep is involved in the recruitment of people to roles within the parish and has the responsibility for facilitating the CRB Disclosure procedure at parish level and ensuring that everybody who is required to go through the procedure does so. The Rep promotes engaging with children and vulnerable adults within the parish whilst safeguarding all those involved.

Should you have any concern or need confidential advice:-

Office hours contact (0121)2306240 or email cpo@rc-birmingham.org.

Outside of office hours please contact Jane Jones on 07976516629.

Our Parish Safeguarding Rep is Maggie Warren.

Ministry of Welcoming

MINISTRY OF WELCOMING

The Nature of the Ministry.

When the faithful gather for Mass Christ is present in a number of ways. He is present in the person of the priest standing ‘in persona Christi’, He is present sacramentally in the consecrated bread and wine, He is present in the proclaimed Word of God and he is present in His Church as represented by the assembled people. The Ministry of Welcome seeks to ensure that all feel that they have a place in that assembly and through this that can enter wholeheartedly into the celebration of the liturgy, giving thanks to God for the love he has poured out on us.

There is an old saying that “you cannot create a first impression twice”. So it is with any parish, any Catholic community. A visitor’s or a new parishioner’s view of the community around them is significantly shaped by the presence or absence of a welcoming atmosphere when they enter a new church for the first time. Although the Ministry of Welcome to newcomers, and to all, extends to all members of the community a special responsibility falls on those who have come forward for this Ministry – very often the first people that a stranger will meet or speak to when entering the church for the first time – and you cannot create a first impression twice.

Many Catholics bemoan the perceived lack of reverence that they see has crept into the Church following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The Ministry of Welcome asks us to address the question of reverence towards our neighbour an a fellow temple of the Holy Spirit and a co-heir of God’s grace through the hospitality that we show them for when we welcome the least of these, we welcome the Lord Himself.

I am interested in this ministry – what will it involve me doing?

As a Welcomer you will be asked to arrive early, about fifteen minutes, before the start of the Sunday Mass to greet people as they arrive, to hand out the weekly newsletter, hymn books and other items as required. You will also be asked to count and record how many people attend the Mass when you are on duty. At the end of Mass you will be asked to collect any hymn books as they are handed in and to say ‘goodbye’ to people as they leave. There is a rota, see link below, so for most weeks you will not be on duty.

As an Usher your duties before (and during for latecomers) Mass will involve helping people, especially the aged, frail and infirm parishioners, to their seats. During the Mass you will be asked to supervise and participate in the taking of the collection and in taking this to the sacristy and in ensuring that the Procession with the Gifts is ready to move at the appropriate moment in the Mass. In addition you will asked to deal with any matters that may arise within the congregation during the Mass.

Please offer your services to Father Paul.

Ministry of Readers

MINISTRY OF READING

The History of the Ministry.

The first lector was Jesus. He was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and He reads:

”The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.”

Luke 4: 16-30.

The word of God was proclaimed by the Word of God.

Readings from the scriptures were an integral part of Jewish worship and the first disciples came from that tradition. In the immediate post-apostolic era the proclamation from the scriptures had become an integral part of Christian worship. In the writings of St. Justin Martyr, c. 150, we have the earliest known account of a Mass; “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together in one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read; as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen, and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those absent a portion is sent by the deacons.”

Apology 1, 67.

By the third or fourth century the role of lector and what they proclaimed was beginning to develop an importance of their own. Before the reading began, the bishop would pick up the book and hand it to the lector by this simple action indicating the worthiness of the book and his appointment of a reader to serve as a minster for the people. We know that a lectionary was used in Christian worship early in the history of the Church but prior to the sixth century none have survived. It appears that they were not as comprehensive as the lectionary we use today. The development of the lectionary continued through the Middle Ages and the one-year cycle of readings established after the Council of Trent served the church for 400 years until the Second Vatican Council.

The Nature of the Ministry.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews writes that: “The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or the joints from the marrow; it can pass judgement on secret emotions and thoughts.” (4: 12-13). The ministry of the lector takes the cold dead text of the printed word and through its proclamation turns it into something living, something that can change the lives of those who hear it. The lector takes ancient words and through speaking those words turns them into something applicable to our modern world.

A lector is someone of faith who has nurtured a relationship with God through their love of the sacred scriptures, they seek to develop that relationship through prayer and meditation on what the read and on what they proclaim. A lector is someone for whom the word of God is so important that they want to bring it alive for their brothers and sisters.

“When the Sacred Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself speaks to his people, and Christ, present in his own word, proclaims the Gospel.

Therefore, all must listen with reverence to the readings from God’s word, for they make up an element of greatest importance in the Liturgy. Although in the readings from Sacred Scripture God’s word is addressed to all people of every era and is understandable to them, nevertheless, a fuller understanding and a greater effectiveness of the word is fostered by a living commentary on the word, that is, the Homily, as part of the liturgical action.”

General Instruction of the Roman Missal 29.

I am interested in this ministry – what will it involve me doing?

In addition to an ever growing and deepening relationship with the Lord in the Sacred Scriptures you will be asked to assist with the proclamation of these at the weekend and occasionally at the weekday Masses.

Please offer your services to Father Paul

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

MINISTRY OF COMMUNION

The History of the Ministry.

This ministry arose out of necessity. In the early Church ordained clergy were in short supply and the restrictions on who could distribute Holy Communion were more relaxed. It was usual for a sick person to ask a friend to bring Holy Communion to them. One of the early martyrs, St. Tarcisius was killed while bringing Holy Communion to the sick as an acolyte.

By the Middle Ages the pendulum had swung to the other extreme and the Ministry was restricted to bishops and priests – even deacons were classed as extraordinary ministers. This period was also marked by an infrequent reception of Holy Communion by the faithful who, although they might attend church every weekend, would only receive Holy Communion once a year, usually at about the Easter celebrations. This situation continued until the early years of the twentieth century when in 1905 Pope Pius X started promoting regular Holy Communion among the faithful.

Following the liturgical changes of the Second Vatican Council and the restoration of the chalice to the people the Ministry of distribution Holy Communion was also opened up. Deacons, as ordained ministers of the Church, came into the fold of Ordinary Minsters of Holy Communion. The Council and Pope Paul VI felt it opportune to permit bishops to appoint lay people to assist with the distribution of Holy Communion as Extraordinary Ministers – extraordinary in the sense that they were ‘out of the ordinary’.

The change was difficult for many older Catholics who had been brought up that only a priest would touch the consecrated host with his hands. The communicant would receive the body of Christ directly on their tongue – they would not even touch the sacred vessels.

The Nature of the Ministry.

The Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion still remain the bishop, priest and deacon – however:

“The faithful who are special ministers of communion must be persons whose good qualities of Christian life, faith and morals recommend them. Let them strive to be worthy of this great office, foster their own devotion to the Eucharist, and show an example to the rest of the faithful by their own devotion and reverence toward the most august sacrament of the altar. No one is to be chosen whose appointment the faithful might find disquieting.

Immensae caritatis.

The Eucharist is at the core of our faith. A minister is a person of faith, who believes in God, follows Christ and trusts in the Holy Spirit – and has a genuine love of the Eucharist so that they can share that love with their Catholic brothers and sisters. In carrying out their ministry they follow in the footsteps of the disciples obeying the Lord’s command feed the faithful (Mark 6: 31-44). The minister is someone who, through prayer and meditation, will grow, develop and deepen their own personal bond with the Lord concealed within the Blessed Sacrament.

I am interested in this ministry – what will it involve me doing?

In addition to the spiritual journey that will deepen their reverence for the Eucharist you will be asked to assist with the distribution of Holy Communion, either the consecrated host or the Precious Blood, at the weekend or weekday Masses when there are insufficient Ordinary Ministers to fulfil that role. In preparation for assuming this Ministry you will be asked to become familiar with the Church’s teaching regarding the Eucharist and its distribution – you will be handling the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, a duty not to be taken lightly. Before you take up this Ministry you will be officially commissioned and renew this commission annually at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening.

The Ministry of the Liturgical Environment

MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT

The History of the Ministry.

Although perhaps appearing under different titles, ministers of the liturgical environment have been around since Christians first started to gather for worship – since someone decided to create something of beauty for the place where the community gathered. Throughout the centuries men and women of all nationalities have, whether through permanent works of art in fresco, mosaic, pictorial representation or sculpture, or temporary arrangements of flowers and other objects, tried to enhance our worship through their skill.

This has been especially true since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. The primary role of the church building has always been to give the community somewhere to gather to celebrate the Mass. Immediately prior to the Second Vatican Council the focus was very much on private devotion – the priest celebrated the Mass, the congregation sat in the pews engrossed in their own devotions and rarely went to Holy Communion. Following the Council the focus moved back to public worship – the people were again full and active participants in the mysteries being celebrated, and they needed visual aids to draw their minds into that active participation.

The Nature of the Ministry.

“In order to communicate the message entrusted to us by Christ, the Church needs art. Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms, that which is in itself ineffable. Art has a unique capacity to take one or another facet of the message and translate it into colours, shapes, and sounds that nourish the intuition of those who look or listen. It does so without emptying the message itself of its transcendent value and aura of mystery.”

Pope John Paul II, Letter to Artists 12.

I am interested in this ministry – what will it involve me doing?

God is beauty. God deserves beauty. As a minister of the liturgical environment you will be part of the team responsible for making that beauty and through it enhancing the worship of the community. As you do this you will deepen and enhance your own relationship with God as you take things of beauty that He has created to create mood and atmosphere within the blank canvas that is the church building. This will be done through arrangements of flowers but also through other objects such as banners used to reflect and emphasise the changing feasts and seasons running through the whole spectrum from the austerity of Lent through to the exuberance of Easter and Christmas.

Please offer your services to Father Paul.

The Ministry of Music

MINISTRY OF MUSIC.fw

The History of the Ministry.

Music and worship have a long affinity going back to the Old Testament. The Psalms were written to be sung – Jesus and His disciples sung psalms after the Last Supper before making their way to the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14: 26). The Psalms formed the backbone of Jewish worship and this, in turn, inspired Christian prayer. In the psalms Christians saw the coming of Christ, His ministry, death and Resurrection all foretold. As a result they became a keystone to Christian worship forming the core of the prayer of the church known as the Divine Office. Saint Paul, writing to the Ephesians, exhorted them to: “Sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs among yourselves, singing and chanting to the Lord in your hearts, always and everywhere giving thanks to God who is our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (4: 19-20). He takes up the theme again in the First Letter to the Corinthians: “I shall pray with the spirit, but I shall pray with the mind as well: I shall sing praises with the spirit and I shall sing praises with the mind as well.” (14: 15). The author of the Letter of James advises that “ … anyone in good spirits should sing a psalm.” (5: 13).

As monasticism developed in the west monks and nuns would spend the hours of the many daily services singing and chanting the psalms in the worship of God. This needed to be led by a skilled singer or cantor.

The Nature of the Ministry.

Saint Augustine said in one of his sermons that “Singing is for one who loves.” Music still does, as it did in the past, form an important part of the liturgy. It drives the rhythm of the Mass, it creates mood, atmosphere, emotion that leads us into prayer, praise, sorrow and wonderment that draws us closer to the beauty that is God.

Please offer your services to Father Paul.

Children's Liturgy

CHILDRENS LITURGY

This takes place during the Sunday Mass. Children leave the church and have their own liturgy in the Church Hall. They are usually divided into two groups, children up to the age of seven and the older children. We begin with a prayer and maybe a song and then teaching about the gospel, God’s Word, of the day. We hope that they will learn about Jesus in an enjoyable and sensitive way. The children are given leaflets of activities to complete at home, to reinforce the message of the day on their journey of faith.

The children return to church at the Offertory to join their families in the celebration of the Eucharist.

Sacramental Preparation

SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION

Baptism

If you wish to have your child Baptised the first thing you need to do is to speak to Father Andrew. Please give as much notice as possible. Then you will need to attend a course to help you understand the importance of the sacrament of Baptism, and your responsibilities. You may be in a small group with other parents. This will take place in the church hall. One of the Catechists will lead the instruction.

We follow the CaFE resource programme, ‘BAPTISM, Helping your child get the most from life’ This was commissioned by Archbishop Vincent Nichols when he was Archbishop of Birmingham. This video will help to give both parents and godparents a better understanding of what you are undertaking when a child is Baptised and equip you in the role of developing the spiritual life of the child.

First Confession and First Holy Communion

Children attending St Benedict’s School will receive instructions in Year 3 and usually make their First Confession just before Easter and their First Holy Communion at the end of June. One of the Catechists will lead the instruction.

Children not attending a Catholic School, parents need to contact Father Andrew in the autumn term when their child is in Year 3. Arrangements will be made to give instruction during the spring and summer terms. Instruction will take place after Sunday morning Mass.

Confirmation

Children attending St Benedict’s School will receive instruction in Year 6 and receive the Sacrament usually in the summer term.

Children not attending a Catholic School, parents need to contact Father Andrew in the autumn term when their child is in Year 6. Arrangements will be made to give instruction during the spring and summer terms. Instruction will take place after school or on a Saturday morning. One of the Catechists will lead the instruction.

Matrimony

Couples wishing to be married need to give Father Andrew plenty of notice. A year’s notice or six months is good. If you wish to marry in a shorter time then arrangements can be made.

Father Andrew will give instruction to the couples.

Sacrament of the Sick

SACRAMENT OF THE SICK

Father Paul is willing to visit people who are sick or housebound. Please contact him and ask for a visit. Both he and Eucharistic Ministers are willing to take Holy Communion to members of the parish.

People who are seriously ill or are about to have an operations can ask for the Sacrament of the Sick. Father Andrew will administer this Sacrament.

The Sacrament of the Sick is a common name used for, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, which is administered both to the dying and to those who are gravely ill or are about to undergo a serious operation, for the recovery of their health and for spiritual strength.

The modern celebration of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick recalls the early Christian use, going back to biblical times. When Christ sent His disciples out to preach, “they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:13). James 5:14-15 ties physical healing to the forgiveness of sins:

Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.

Who May Receive the Sacrament?

Following this biblical understanding, the Catechism of the Catholic Church notes that:

The Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.”

When in doubt, priests should err on the side of caution and provide the sacrament to the faithful who request it.

The Form of the Sacrament:

The essential rite of the sacrament consists in the priest laying hands on the sick, anointing with blessed oil (usually olive oil blessed by a bishop, but in an emergency, any vegetable oil will suffice), and praying “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.”

When circumstances permit, the Church recommends that the sacrament take place during Mass, or at least that it be preceded by Confession and followed by Holy Communion.

The Minister of the Sacrament:

Only priests (including bishops) can administer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, since, when the sacrament was instituted during Christ’s sending out of His disciples, it was confined to the men who would become the original bishops of the Church.

The Effects of the Sacrament:

Received in faith and in a state of grace, the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick provides the recipient with a number of graces, including the fortitude to resist temptation in the face of death, when he is weakest; a union with the Passion of Christ, which makes his suffering holy; and the grace to prepare for death, so that he may meet God in hope rather than in fear. If the recipient was not able to receive the Sacrament of Confession, Anointing also provides forg

House Visits for the Sick & Infirm

HOUSE VISITS FOR THE SICK

Father Paul is willing to make house visits especially to people who are housebound or unwell. He will bring the Eucharist to those who request it.

Other members of the parish are also happy to visit members of the parish who are poorly.

Eucharistic Ministers will bring Holy Communion on a regular basis to those who wish to receive Holy Communion at home.