Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Need some ideas - parish involvement? Chime in!

Our very first long Monday of the fall semester is behind us, and I'm very glad that it's Tuesday. :) Mike has his longest day of teaching on Mondays, and the kids had their challenging moments while home with me in the evening, but we navigated everything well. Today is a beautiful day, and I'm wearing cute new tweed work pants and my acorn earrings, what could be better? ;-)

This morning, I was listening to Catholic Weekend on my way into work, and Fr. Cory Sticha (@FrCorySticha on Twitter, whom I met at last year's CNMC, and is absolutely adorable) was talking about a conference he recently attended about building a vibrant parish. He discussed reigniting the parish council at his church, and building a new leadership team.

This got me to thinking, especially with it being fall and the season wherein parish activities get kickstarted for a new year: how can I become more involved in *my*parish? I've wanted to do this for awhile, and the right opportunity just hasn't seemed to come along. I used to volunteer for Children's Liturgy of the Word, and that worked out well for a few years. I felt a bit burned out with that after a time, plus once I started bringing Anne to Mass regularly, it just wasn't feasible anymore. So I began just scouring the bulletin weekly for ideas, and so far...nada. There is a Women's Sodality, but they meet on Monday nights, which is a night I can never attend because of Mike's teaching schedule. Mike also points out that I may be significantly younger than the other members of that organization by several decades. :) That really wouldn't dissuade me if it weren't for the problematic meeting time, although I note that their activities often take place during times I also couldn't do because of my own work schedule (cleaning the altar at 2 pm on Thursdays, for instance, or praying the rosary following 8 am daily Mass). So, for the time being, the Women's Sodality doesn't appear to be right for me.

I would LOVE to look into the parish council, if only my parish appeared to *have* one. :0 I never see anything about that in the bulletin. I just keep mentioning this intention in my prayers, and hoping that one day something will jump out at me.

Do any of you volunteer at your parish? If so, what do you do? How did you originally get involved? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear new ideas!

15 comments:

  1. As you know, I was on the RCIA team and cantor at church. Maybe you can speak with the Deacon? I know that ours are always aware of ares that could use another set of eyes and hands.

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    1. We have a wonderful deacon at our parish. :) He baptized Anne!

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  2. I can say this is a big topic and it's HARD! Right now the only thing I really do is I help with the faith formation classes at my parish. I've been helping with the confirmation program for the last few years and I enjoy it..most of the time HA. But my mom is also the DRE so that helps. I've also helped with things like Vacation Bible School and other things. But yeah other than that there aren't a lot of things at parishes. Another parish has a bible study that I'd love to do. I'm doing a Theology of the Body study that was just posted in a facebook group of young adults.

    I really enjoy retreats but haven't been on one in awhile or found one. Our diocese does a Eucharistic Congress during lent that i always enjoy along with theology on tap events. Depending on your interests you could look on your dioceses' website about events in the dioceses like talks and such that may interest you or things going on at other parishes nearby.

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    1. Hi Beth Anne! I've helped out with Vacation Bible School too, and while I liked it, I had to take vacation time from work to do it, you know? It would be nice to find something that fits into non-work hours, and you're right, opportunities are limited. Looking at the larger diocesan website is a great idea, thank you! I hadn't thought of that. We're also getting a new pastor next year, so potentially new things may present themselves then, we'll see. :)

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    2. I feel you! When we lived in TX EVERYONE did VBS at night and it was great..here it's in the morning so it's hard to get help from people with jobs..which is unfortunate I think.

      I don't know if your diocese has a diocese newspaper/magazine but sometimes there are also events and opportunities in there as well :)

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    3. We do! I will keep an eye out for stuff in there. :)

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  3. I teach faith formation. I've also donated yarn to one of the ladies groups. They make blankets that get passed out to sick parishioners. Father just blessed a new set of blankets at Mass on Sunday.

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    1. Hi Melanie! The blessing of the blankets, I love this! Our parish doesn't have a knitting group, but the parish associated with Henry's school does. Something to think about, I could always volunteer there. Before my son started school, I always figured I would teach religious ed while he attended. He would have to go anyway, and I could just teach another class without having to carve out an additional slot of time in our evenings. But then we enrolled him in Catholic school, so he doesn't have to go to religious ed. And with my daughter still so young, I try to spend my evenings at home with the family as much as possible. It's a conundrum. :)

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  4. I began at the age of 16 helping out in my parish office making copies then I was invited to a catechist workshop and ended up becoming a catechist. I ve been doing that for the past 14 years but in different ministries. 5 years as the coordinator of the Quinceanera ministry and going into my 3rd yr in the RCIA program.

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    1. Gabby, how fascinating! Quincenera ministry, I love that. The way I got started with Children's Liturgy of the Word was that I met the Director of Religious Ed and she kept me in mind for when opportunities opened up, and she called me about that. It's good to have an "in" like that. She just left for another job, and the parish is trying to fill her spot. That's contributing to my current issue, I think.

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  5. I struggle with this too! When I was in college I was in the choir at our local Cathedral and I LOVED it, besides being the only college age person amongst all the grandmas :D. But at our parish, let's just say, the choir is not so nice sounding, and that kind of makes me hesitate, as well as then I'd have to leave crazy Annamarie with Steve the whole mass, and that's hard. I just got a letter from the Catholic Council of Women from our church but also, they are all at least my mom's age or older. And then our parish school closed and merged with another Catholic church, so I feel like any volunteering there doesn't really count towards our parish, if that makes sense? So yeah, I have a hard time with this too. I went through RCIA, so maybe some day I will get involved with that, but it's so hard with little ones because you need to spend time with them! So it's hard to volunteer right now. Let us know if you figure anything out, and I'll let you know too! :)

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    1. Yep, yep, got the same thing going on with Henry's school being affiliated with a parish that is different from our own (our parish school closed several years ago). It would be great to volunteer there as well, but I feel such a sense of happiness and community at our parish on Sundays that I want to get more involved *there*. And the evening time crunch thing, got that too. :)

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    2. I feel you guys there our parish has a school but it's the only school in the city so kids from about 5-6 parishes so it gets confusing...

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  6. Are you a leader or a follower? If you are at all inclined to lead, I suggest thinking of what you want, doing some background work and then making an appointment to talk with your pastor about getting it started. For example, if you really wish there was a mom's Bible study, with babysitting on Tuesday nights, find a study guide, and put together some quick notes about how you plan to recruit and what (if anything) you want from the parish (meeting room, books, Fr. to pop in periodically). Tell him why you think there is a need that isn't being met and volunteer to run it for a year. Ask to speak at Masses about it, and accept that you may only end up with one or two participants. Lots of people wish "they" would do something, provide some program etc. but "they" need people to get involved and to lead.

    If you are absolutely a follower and just can't take on leadership, I'd just say find the best fit you can in a slot that is already there.

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    1. This is very interesting, great suggestion! I would say I am more of a "follower" :0. I'm a hard worker and dependable, but I don't like to really be in charge. Part of my shyer personality, I suppose.

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