Parish Leadership

Parish Open Forum

Summary of the Recent Parish Open Forum:
St Anthony of Padua Parish Open Forum 16 May 2019 – Notes

***Present: Wendy Smith, Fr Peter Draper, Jackie Stopyra, Louise Baron, Peter Newsham, Maureen Hefferan, plus 27 parishioners

***Apologies: Ian Mulholland, Sue Thompson, Denise King, Liz Hughes, Ennis Donnell, Hugh Aitken, Peter Towers

***Welcome and Opening Prayer by Fr Peter

***Introduction of existing Parish Leadership Group by Wendy Smith plus a brief explanation of the role of PLG, how often it meets (usually once per school term) and an invitation to parishioners to attend the next PLG meeting, particularly if they are interested in serving the Parish in this way.

***We celebrated what is already happening in the Parish – some of it well known, some of it unobserved.

  • Toddler Group
  • Safeguarding
  • Mission Box Collectors
  • All Uniformed Groups
  • St Anthony’s Singers
  • Readers & Readers Rota
  • Collectors
  • Our Clergy
  • Meeters & Greeters
  • Shop
  • Bidding Prayer Writers
  • Collection Counters
  • Lost & Found Choir
  • Bell Ringers
  • The Prayer Group
  • Gardening Team
  • Finance Committee
  • Future Foundations Group
  • First Communion Catechists
  • Parish Website
  • Confirmation catechists
  • Churches Together Reps
  • The Annexe
  • Musicians at Masses
  • St Anthony’s Club
  • Children’s Liturgy
  • Wedding Prep
  • Altar Servers
  • Baptism Prep
  • Offertory procession & Rotas
  • Friendship Group
  • Catenians
  • Primary School
  • CAFOD Group
  • High School
  • Church Decorations at Christmas
  • Playgroup
  • Parish Newsletter
  • Eucharistic Ministers (church & visiting)
  • Church Cleaning Group
  • S.V.P. Group
  • Flower Group
  • Bidding Prayer Writers
  • Parish Directory
  • Property Maintenance

This list – with the addition of other groups and with contact details – will form the basis of the Parish Directory, to be available in print and on the Parish website (see below).

***Parish Renewal Jackie Stopyra introduced some ideas for consideration, on the basis of Christ’s command: “Go … make disciples … baptising … and teaching”. We are all at different stages in our faith journey: some have only a vague idea of the Christian message; for some church attendance is a guarantee of a school place; some remember only what they were taught at school; for many life has challenged and shaken faith; and some feel they need more but are not sure what.

Our vision is that St Anthony’s will provide the opportunities and means to strengthen the Faith and Hope of the Parish community, so that the fruits of Love will increase.

We can no longer expect our children (or anyone else) to stay in the Faith simply because they have been taught to believe, taught to behave, and taught to turn up on Sunday. As in so many things they will only commit when they experience “a real and authentic experience of belonging”

So, what can we do? Assuming we are not going to give up, we can start by building on and developing the good work we already do as a parish.

***The Parish Questionnaire raised issues, concerns and needs in a number of areas, and initial suggestions and proposals in these areas are as follows.

Faith Formation: to provide a wide range of educational events, courses, material to support people wherever they are on their faith journey. In the next 12 months we suggest

  • A half day retreat/renewal for all who minister at out weekend Masses
  • Formation courses to be offered in the Autumn
  • Make CTS materials available, and create a small library available to borrow/buy
  • Review the liturgy and music – greater/wider parish involvement.

Suggestions from the meeting:

Greater involvement of young parishioners in creating specific themed liturgies, with real jobs to do: readings, bidding prayers, providing music etc.? (see Outreach below)

  • Install screens showing the hymns thus improving our singing
  • Consider an 8.00 am breakfast Mass once a week to attract primary & high school pupils & parents (followed by toast?)

Social: to provide a wide range of events appealing to different sections of our community, including those who do not currently attend Mass. In the next 12 months we intend to offer

  • Coffee sessions after each weekend Mass
  • Afternoon Tea (November)
  • Recruit a wide range of volunteers to plan events, create publicity, sell tickets, help at the event with no long-term commitment required
  • Make good use of our meeting room (see Practicalities below)

Suggestion from the meeting:

  • Parish picnics (Haslam Park? Moor Park?) (see Outreach below)
  • Place a short ‘religious’ element before major social events (e.g. before a Bonfire/Fireworks event)
  • For each individual social event put a ‘Volunteers Wanted’ poster in church – allows people to sign up for a single event, not a long commitment.
  • Advertise events on ‘What’s On In Preston’ site

Communication: to communicate effectively with all members of our community – regular Mass goers or not. In the next 12 months we intend

  • To completely redesign the parish website
  • Greater use of social media
  • Provide appropriate training for both the above
  • Produce an up to date Parish Directory
  • Consider producing an ‘all in one’ sheet (full Mass text, plus hymns, plus notices) – at least for some one-off Masses (First Holy Communion, Confirmation) where there will be many non-regular attenders.

Suggestions from the meeting:

  • Consider producing links to resources to the next week’s Readings (web links, podcasts, YouTube etc.)
  • Consider communicating with consenting parishioners by email
  • Consider approaching OLCHS to make running the website an official Computer Science project?
  • Podcasts of Sunday Mass?

Outreach: to increase the numbers actively involved in our mission to serve, and to increase our financial support to charities. In the next 12 months we intend

  • To decide on a major charity project to support over a 2 to 3 year term
  • Work closely with the Social group
  • Develop and strengthen links with our primary and high schools (social action group? Environmental concerns etc.) (See Faith Formation, Social above)

Suggestion from the meeting:

  • Invite OLCHS to produce artwork for the meeting room

Practicalities: to use our parish resources (finances, buildings and people) to best advantage. In the next 12 months:

  • Develop systems for use of the new meeting room
  • Discuss and decide ways to improve communications (what, when, by whom, how etc.)
  • Discuss and decide whether to commit Parish funds to outside speakers, Faith Formation courses etc.
  • See Social above

***’Name the Meeting Room’ Wendy Smith advised that the three most popular names in the parish vote – CAMEO (Come And Meet Each Other), The Cadley Room and The Padua Room – were running neck and neck. It was agreed to reach a decision by show of hands, and on this basis The Padua Room was selected overwhelmingly.

***Conclusion: Wendy Smith thanked everyone for their ideas and commitment, and encouraged everyone to talk to those who had not been able to attend, to our own families and friends, and to our school age relatives: asking them to get involved, to join in, to help out, and in that way – perhaps – to experience the “real and authentic experience of belonging” spoken about earlier.

May 2019