PARISH MINISTRY AT ST. FRANCIS DE SALES
In 2009, St. Procop Church, where I was the Parish Life Coordinator, closed after 137 years of service to people on the West side of Cleveland. A news reporter asked me: “How do you feel and what will you do now?” I told her “it was very hard and sad to close a church. However, church is all about the mission of Jesus. We just move on and continue the mission somewhere else.” I spent a semester at the Washington Theological Union. I returned to Ohio in March when I was offered a ministry at St. Francis de Sales in Parma, Ohio.
I came to the parish in the middle of March. My first priority was to establish a youth music group at the 11:00 Sunday Liturgy. After searching and planning, The Youth Music and Instrumental Group was ready to start in September. I worked with the school children at their weekly liturgies and got to know them. When the school finally closed, I had enough youth to keep the music group going. In the meantime, I started a Children’s Choir.
Music isn’t my only ministry, but it is a big part of what I do here. This is a wonderful parish community. I work with liturgical renewals and updates. We also have youth readers at our 11:00 liturgy. I believe one of the most important things about parish life is building a strong faith community. There are many ways to do this.
I started a Prayer Group with adults, which meets twice a month. We have about 24-27 people who attend. Parishioners are always invited. People flow in and out, but the group itself remains at about 24 people. I also work with the RCIA and the Lenten Parish Renewals.
What is a church without “fundraising?” I volunteered to take charge of our Yearly Winterfest. While it is a lot of work, it is a community builder. I have very wonderful and competent people who take charge of the different activities and events.
For the past 3 years, I have coordinated a “HOLY THURSDAY FELLOWSHIP MEAL,” which has grown over the years. I have a good team to help organize this yearly event. Since Holy Thursday is a day of celebration, not penance, we have a full meal with people bringing necessary items. The parish provides meat, the bread and wine. We begin with an uncut loaf of bread, and a bottle of wine on every table. All stand, while the youngest hold the bread and the oldest holds the wine. We have prayer and song, then sit down and share the bread and wine. It has become a very wonderful tradition at St. Francis de Sales. Afterward, we all go upstairs for the Liturgy of the Lord’s Supper. The celebration is all about community.
These are a few of my roles in a very generous and faithful community.