Lay leaders of Liturgy of the Word with Communion

The history of this Experience:

The shortage of priests and how we respond was raised at the PPC meetings in 2013.
Below is a paper that Kevin Grant (Chairman) prepared.

Fr John Sullivan came to the PPC and talked about some of the things that happened at Sutherland as they responded to this reality, especially in terms of using Lay Lead Liturgies. 

There was a Meeting for all ministries of the Eucharist, and open to all parishioners to clarify Roles and share how this ministry is different, and their concerns?   Nov. 22nd 2013 at 7.30 pm. in the Mazzarello Chapel.       This was well attended and many views were shared.

The PPC discerned 4 people they believed would be suitable to lead such liturgies.  They all accepted this call.    Together they prepared for a Trial Implementation during Monday's of Jan. 2014 9.20am services at Engadine.  (With Fr Marc leaving and Fr Peter not arriving until late Jan. there was a need and a good chance to explore this new ministry in practice.)

The feedback from the January experience was positive.   Those involved: Bryan Coupland, Ellen Dubber, Mathew Humphreys and Annette Milross expressed their experiences and how they saw the future unfolding.
It was discerned that we will run these liturgies twice a month for the next 6 months.   March- August 2014 and then reassess.
So the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 9.20am at Engadine: will be Lay Lead Liturgies of the Word with Eucharist.

The person leading the liturgy can be found under the Roster Tab - and then go to 'Lay Leaders of Liturgy of the Word, with Communion.'  Click to see roster..

Issue:  Lay leader for Liturgy of the Word with Communion, will be needed in the future. 

Kevin Grant - Paper Presented to the PPC in July 2013

When my wife, Carole and I settled in Engadine in 1966 and began our association with St John Bosco Parish we attended church in the Boys Town Chapel where, as a family with a new daughter and one on the way, we often stood outside as the church was full and we couldn’t get inside. We were committed to our faith and willing to make sacrifices. However this was a new and growing parish and plans were in place to build a new church. We were well served by our priests then and in the coming years.

That situation is changing as the availability of priests to man parishes like ours is diminishing.

From a peak of one priest for every 518 Catholics in 1966, there is now one for every 1895 Catholics – if retired priests and those not in parish ministry are included, according to a new analysis of parish ministry in Australia. The analysis was conducted by well-respected researcher and former Columban missionary priest Peter Wilkinson.

Peter Wilkinson has clearly identified significant trends in the decline of the availability of priests to serve parishes:

  • one in four Australian parishes is without a full-time resident priest;
  • very few new parishes are being established, despite a rapidly increasing Catholic population;
  • 184 existing parishes have been merged since 1994, with more likely to follow;
  • since 1995 local home-grown vocations to the priesthood have been few;
  • the average age of priests actively ministering in parishes is 60 years and rising;
  • there are presently 1282 parishes across the country but only 600 local priests are likely to be available for parish ministry by 2025;
  • an annual average net shortfall of 40 local grown priests is likely over the next 15 years;
  • parishes are generally having to care for an increasing number of Catholics; from an average;

3481 Catholics per parish in 2000 to an average 4368 in 2010 (+25%).

At St John Bosco Parish we are well served, however this cannot continue. Presently we have a parish priest, an assistant priest, a priest serving as spiritual director for Bosco College and Boys Town, an elderly priest serving the John Paul Village and two retired priests who assist by saying some masses. Clearly several of these priestly resources cannot last for long.

Clearly the Salesian Society cannot continue long into the future to provide priestly services to St John Bosco Parish at the present rate.

Within our parish 16 masses are celebrated by our dedicated priests each week for the parish, with a number of additional masses for the schools. There are reconciliation services and many funerals. Programs are run for young people preparing for the sacraments. One could go on and on.

Vatican II’s vision for parish is a mission oriented community centred on the Eucharist, with priest

and laity co-responsible for ministry.

The Parish Pastoral Council is exploring these questions and ways to respond.   We invite all of us to be praying and asking these difficult questions so that we might live into an answer that is Spirit inspired and Grace filled!

Kevin Grant