Ministry in the Church can be defined in many ways, but in essence we need only look at the formation of the early church when its many disciples came together as a caring and sharing community with a sense of mission to journey together in faith, love and service. Built upon the foundation of the apostles, we are the ‘living stones’ commissioned to support and serve the Church’s needs, whether in ordained or lay ministry.
Though we are a small parish we are truly blessed to have so many volunteers called to serve the parish community in so many different ways, sometimes in more than one role, sacrificially giving their time and energy for the common good of us all. Their contribution to these various ministries and the community as a whole is greatly valued.
Welcomers – As part of our ethos, ‘Everybody is Welcome’ to form part of our parish community, and we want both neighbour and stranger alike to feel loved, accepted and cared for, and to offer a place where values are shared and friendship can be found. Meeting and Greeting is a fundamental element to demonstrating friendly hospitality, and an important ministry in a Liturgical setting in terms of making people feel at home.
If anyone feels drawn to this ministry and is able to contribute to parish life in a significant way, then please contact a member of the clergy.
Readers – This ministry is of fundamental importance in any Liturgical setting, especially the Mass, when proclamation of the Word is actually a dialogue between God and His People. God is effectively speaking to us in the Liturgy of the Word through Scripture upon which we rely for the understanding and nourishment of our faith. Ministers of the Word, otherwise known as Lectors, should first and foremost recognise the responsibility of speaking on God’s behalf by way of careful preparation and practice of readings in advance, to ensure effective and a meaningful delivery to the faithful.
We currently have a good number of Readers available at each of our Masses via a rota system, but if anyone wishes to volunteer and be added to the group then please speak to a member of the clergy.
Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion – on 25 January 1973, Pope Paul VI issued an instruction ‘Immensae Caritatis”, which included permission for lay people to assist in the distribution of Holy Communion. This was a revival of an ancient practice to facilitate distribution of the sacrament when priests were unavailable, but in a modern context, to enable large congregations to receive holy communion more efficiently, and also the sick more frequently.
The parish is blessed to count on a number of the faithful who feel called to, and have been Commissioned in, this ministry, which is a very important and valuable contribution to the pastoral care of our community, especially the sick and housebound. Should anyone feel they have a calling then speak to a member of the clergy.
Musicians – Music is an integral part of good Liturgy, and although we may be small, our parish community is fortunate to have a number of brilliant musicians who serve and contribute their not insignificant skills to lift any ‘drooping spirit’ and enhance our Mass celebrations.
Should anyone with a particular musical gift be interested in joining a group, then please get in touch with a member of the clergy.
Altar Linen – As a low profile, behind the scenes type of ministry, this is no less important than any other service to the parish, and is in fact of significant value in ensuring that used purificators, finger towels, corporals and altar cloths are washed, ironed and kept in pristine condition ready for use at each celebration of the Mass.
By serving in this ministry, a deep and loving reverence for the altar is shown, and anyone who is interested in sharing in this worthwhile and necessary work, should contact a member of the clergy in the first instance.
Sacristans – This ministry is likewise unobtrusive and behind the scenes with responsibility for setting up for Mass, ensuring that everything is in place for the Celebrant, eg the lectionary being open at the right page, candles lit, and vessels laid out etc, and then clearing up afterwards.
There is currently no-one officially in place to carry out this valuable ministry, particularly at Whaley Bridge, so if anyone is interested, please contact a member of the clergy.
Church Cleaners – Everybody appreciates a clean house, don’t they? You might wonder how the church always looks clean and tidy week after week! Well, we have a great team of parishioners who work together to ensure that God’s house is always ready to receive His family and guests and is fit for celebration of the Mass.
If you know how to use a vacuum cleaner, a broom and/or a duster, then you are more than qualified to join the team and share in this important ministry, as ‘labourers in the vineyard’, caring for the ‘Lord’s own dwelling house.’ The team operates by way of a rota system, so if you wish to add your name, then please get in touch with the parish office, or a member of the clergy.
Flower Ministry – In the Creation story, plants and flowers preceded humankind ‘…..and God saw how good it was….’ Providing us with this important ministry is an inspired group of creative artists who come together week after week to decorate the church with imaginative and colourful displays.
A wonderful way of honouring God and His house and lifting the ambience of the Mass setting, so if you would like to join this group please contact Monica Prophet, you’d be very welcome.
Counters – You don’t have to be a mathematician to share in this ministry, just a few fingers or a calculator, to check and record the weekly Offertory collections, yet another example of how broad ministry can be in terms of giving service to the parish. The parish has several teams working in pairs that count the collections usually after the 11:00 Mass on Sunday at Whaley Bridge.
Should you wish to ‘count’ yourself in and consider offering yourself to the parish in this way, then please contact Ambrose Smith.
Chauffeuring – Currently, Father Francis doesn’t drive and needs assistance in getting him to and from Disley for the early morning Sunday Mass at the Methodist Church. A rota of volunteers is in place, but if you feel you would like to contribute to this chauffeuring ministry, please contact the parish office or speak to a member of the clergy.
Food Bank – Part of our local mission involves the generous donation by parishioners of foodstuffs and household items that need to be delivered to our local food bank. Working to a rota system, we have a team of volunteers who carry out this work, roughly every fortnight. Please contact the parish office or speak to a member of the clergy if you feel you would like to help out with this ministry.
Catechists – Catechists are recognized for the valuable and very practical teaching contribution they make to the life and mission of the Church. They share in one of the essential ministries of the Church – teaching the faith.
At the heart of the catechist’s identity and ministry as a member of the Church and one specifically designated or commissioned to participate in the Church’s teaching ministry is the message we share when telling or instructing others about Jesus and His life. As members of His church, we live and talk in such a manner that the truth of what we proclaim inspires others to accept and follow the Lord. This is the primary role of the catechist – to tell the story of Jesus with such conviction and with such witness that others want to follow Him. Faith is awakened and nurtured with this witness.
At the Sacred Heart, catechists traditionally exercise their ministry in the sacramental preparation of young people for First Forgiveness and Holy Communion, and Confirmation. We have been blessed to have a small team of catechists working in the parish for many years helping in the formation of several generations of Catholics, and whilst there is no immediate demand to expand the team at the moment, there is always a need for the faith to be taught and passed on to each generation, young or old, so if anyone feels called to this ministry, then please speak to a member of the clergy.