Jesus Christ is uniting our community of HeartStone in its Vision and Mission so that all might find a place of welcome, prayer and loving outreach when in need.
We are living our Parish Vision through commitments to
WELCOMING, OUTREACH, COLLABORATIVE MINISTRY, SPIRITUALITY and COMMUNICATION.
“…so that all might find…loving outreach when in need….” was a big part of what people said they wanted to see more of: outreach in particular to the other churches ecumenically, to young people and families, and support in the local community. Becoming more outward looking. This missionary commitment is extremely demanding of a parish…and few manage to be fruitful in it!
Nevertheless, it is the Archdiocesan Mission Statement:
Taking to heart the last words of the Lord Jesus, we will go into the world to proclaim the Good News to the whole of creation.
Archbishop Malcolm in a Sunday Pastoral Letter summons us all to this evangelisation: “building missionary parishes….deepening, sharing and proclaiming our faith, sensitively and confidently….transforming the communities we live in by serving our brothers and sisters…”
The Catholic word “evangelisation” includes both loving service and telling of the faith as ways of caring outreach. Good Works and Words of Good News.
Outreach in the World:
Charitableness is a big part of life in HeartStone, much valued by all, and includes:
Fundraising for our 4 Parish Chosen Charities this year – SVP donations and appeal – Retiring collections from the national Church list and Archdiocesan list – occasional sponsorships and appeals. Socials and events are important for community spirit as well as fundraising. Donations of food and clothing are given for Alco Care, St Marie’s sandwiches, the Soup Kitchen, The Foodbank, and more recently for Asylum Seekers. Time and Caring is given by some in Ainsdale Community Care, the Ministry of Consolation and Coffee & Chat and Ministers of Communion at homes.
In addition to this local outreach, how do we increase our outreach Nationally and Globally with political involvement as Christian citizens. CAFOD and the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission can help here, facing up to the demands of climate change, peace, justice for the excluded….…..
Outreach as a Parish
Outreach in sharing our faith with others is the other side of Welcoming. Many are longing for more effective ways to invite others to return or share our faith and parish life. Why have people left in the first place? What we invite people to share in is relevant and helpful to today’s needs, spiritual and social. Some parishioners were worried that HeartStone can be cliquey at times!
With the other Catholic parishes in Southport we learn about RCIA: the Catholic way for parishes to become effective in inviting and nurturing new people’s interest in the faith. In preparation for this in HeartStone the Wednesday evening Sharing Scripture Group has begun to encourage each other in simple, confident ways of talking about what the faith means to us, and how important it might be for other people. Can you come?
Parents are crucial for faith to be passed on in the family: With You Always is vital for supporting parents as teachers of the faith, and developing ways of sustaining children after making their Holy Communion.
The Children’s Liturgy of the Word during mass is marvelous for this, and it is clear that training and support for parishioners to serve as catechists and helpers in the RCIA, WYA and Children’s Liturgy is a great way of outreach in our times….and to extend this to helping families prepare for Baptism also (they will come!).
Social Life is also a good way for people’s spiritual life to be helped: good company and laughter helps! The Sacred Heart Hall is good outreach for the local community as well as parishioners.
Donna Davies and Brian Lowry manage the Parish Centre at St John Stone now, and they are putting together a new development plan.
The Elderly are only some of those who might suffer from loneliness among us…how do we reach out in visiting, becoming a dementia friendly parish?
Outreach in our Personal Faith
“Outreach” includes also how committed parishioners relate to each other, not just reaching out to people outside parish life. How do we grow in confidence to open out to others : those we do not yet know – to the “other” church we do not yet join at all – to be able to share what mass and the faith means to us – to relax and be real with each other in ways that overcome the fears that we will be seen as imperfect Catholics: everybody is! The Guild of Our Lady of Good Counsel is good for this. People who have already joined in a Living Christ Retreat meet in group sharing through Growing in Faith Together (GIFT) and this is also a big help.
Mutual Support naturally depends a lot on making personal friends, but it is a vital part of surviving in faith as well as happiness: how can we encourage new ways?
THE JUBILEE YEAR OF MERCY is an obvious gift to us to ground our missionary actions of caring outreach in the primary initiative of God’s merciful outreach to us….Christmas celebrates the start of God’s greatest outreach in becoming as we are. We will enthusiastically contemplate God’s mercy to us, and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy throughout this coming year.