I was born in 1948 the eldest of 8 daughters. As a baby boomer in Melbourne, I enjoyed a peaceful and people- centred childhood. Our family were pioneers of the Bennetswood Parish with my father’s earthmoving company turning the first sod of soil for the building. As was the custom, the school was built by the parishioners and staffed mainly by nuns. At the age of 18 years, as a new graduate, I became a lay teacher at the school.
Meet a Lay Minister
The Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry have been investigating the vocation of Lay Ministry over the past three years. They have discovered the job description is almost as diversified as the number of people involved. I relate my journey to add to the mix.
I have been an active parishioner in the Parish of Forster Tuncurry (on the Mid North Coast of NSW) since 1976 and have been employed as a Pastoral Associate in that Parish since 2001.
I was born on the far West Coast of South Australia, into a large farming family, and I loved my childhood on the farm. My parents were strong Catholics, with a very practical slant to their faith. We all understood this practicality in terms of the connection of our daily lives with the land and the seasons, and ours were prayers of intercession, hope and gratitude. My childhood on the farm gave me a rich foundation for my faith, my sense of family and my understanding of the importance of community, and these are still the basic tenets of my life today.
Richard McMahon, Deputy Chair of the Australian Catholic Council for Lay Pastoral Ministry, recently chatted about his work as a pastoral associate and his role on the Council with Aoife Connors, Media and Communications Director at the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
Mission and ministry is not some airy fairy thing just for priests and holy people. It is the day-to-day hard slog of keeping the parish community running. Ministry is essential to offering a place for Catholics to gather, hear God’s word, celebrate the Eucharist and go out into the world refreshed and reinspired to live and share the Good News.
Parish ministry often begins by lending a hand at Mass, whether that’s proclaiming the word, becoming a Eucharistic minister or offering to sing with the choir.