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  ‘Gratitude for the past, enthusiasm for the present and hope for the future’ was the theme of an inspiring day held recently at the parish of Our Lady of the Assumption in the old mining village of Stainforth, Doncaster.

  With gratitude for the past and six years on, this day gave fifty five people from sixteen different parishes the opportunity to enthusiastically and hopefully look afresh at the principles of shared ministry and the updated, highly practical content of the unique resource “Parishes of Hope”, first launched on the Feast of Pentecost, 2012.

Building Blocks of Shared Ministry

  The church was beautifully and sensitively displayed with over fifty ‘Building Blocks of Shared Ministry’.  Quotes from Scripture, Church documents and practical examples gave food for thought and prayerful reflection.

  The principles of shared ministry, together with Rublev’s icon of the Trinity, were placed around the altar prior to Mass celebrated by Bishop Ralph, Fr Darren Reid and Fr Santosh Vazhappally.

We are all called to be Missionary Disciples

  Frank McDermott, Lay Coordinator of the parish, reminded all present that for parish structures to be viable in the future, then the days of lay people just being ‘Father’s helpers’ were long, long gone.  “We are all called to be missionary disciples and have a right and a responsibility to be involved in decisions about the life and future of our parishes and our mission.  We must all discern and openly decide our future together, rooted in prayer.”

  One of the key quotes displayed was rooted in Vatican II:

“… Every baptised person shares the same mission as Jesus …  Vatican ll reminds us that

the mission of Christ as priest, prophet/teacher and king, continues in the Church and is

shared by the whole people of God …  Because of the one dignity flowing from

baptism, each member of the lay faithful, together with ordained ministers and men

and women religious, shares a responsibility for the Church’s mission”

(Christifideles Laici 15, 1989)

All of the quotes on the building blocks from Church documents, passages from Scripture, parish checklists, bereavement services, etc, and over sixty more files, have been added to this highly practical resource on a memory stick and are available from the parish.  A small donation to cover costs is requested and is shared between Rainbows Bereavement Support GB and CAFOD.  Copies may be obtained from frank.mcdermott@btconnect.com or churchstainforth@gmail.com.

Anointing each other for service

  The day ended with a service of anointing; sisters, priests and lay people symbolically anointing each other for service, not one any more important than any other.  As people left everyone added a post it note comment on the baptismal font.

One such note seemed to sum up this prayerful, practical day: “Thank you for a truly informative and inspiring day on Saturday, and for the sheer amount of work, prayer and effort that went into the planning and execution.  I found it a deeply prayerful experience…”.