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Chaguanas Parish plans ahead

From the use of pan and parang in the music ministry to whether Catholics in general were welcoming to others, it was a lively session at the Chaguanas Parish Assembly on Saturday, December 7, 2019.

Parishioners of the three communities that comprise the Parish of St Philip & St James came together to participate in the Assembly at which the Parish Pastoral Plan for 2020 was presented.

Focusing on the three Hs—Hymns, Homilies and Hospitality—the Plan outlined desired objectives and the actions necessary for addressing current issues and improving the Sunday experience of regular parishioners and visitors.

Facilitated by parish priest Fr Derek Anton, the Pastoral Plan was presented by Theresa Barkley of the Parish Council, a consultative body that assists the parish priest with long-term pastoral planning.

Under ‘Hymns’ the plan proposes a series of workshops for choirs, including topics such as the choir’s role and function. Training programmes for vocalists and musicians have also been included. A strong recruitment drive for the music ministry of the parish is planned.

Animated discussions took place on a culturally appropriate slant for the use of the steelpan, the national instrument, the inclusion of Parang, and the need for greater participation by parishioners in the singing of the hymns during Mass, rather than expecting to be “entertained” by the choirs.

The topic of ‘Homilies’ also generated much debate with suggestions that included specifically addressing the children in the congregation and ensuring the gospel was linked to real life issues and current events, both locally and internationally.  The plan includes a survey to solicit feedback from parishioners on homilies.

Parishioners will also be encouraged in the use of Holy Scripture at family prayer times, and the reading of the gospel prior to Sunday Mass.

The discussion on ‘Hospitality’ raised the question of how welcoming Catholics really are, and the need to educate parishioners on the fact that hospitality is really everyone’s responsibility, and does not apply only at Mass time.

The Pastoral Plan called for the establishment of a ‘Hospitality Corner’ in appropriate locations at each of the three churches in the parish, to assist with dissemination of information, packages for visitors, etc, as well as a sick bay and means to address the special needs of parishioners, including mothers with babies, the elderly and the disabled.

Hardcopies of the Parish Plan were disseminated to all families at the end of Masses over the weekend of January 18 and 19. Also at each Mass, members of the Parish Pastoral Council and the recently formed Ministry Animation Team (MAT) were introduced to parishioners, and Fr Derek presented a synopsis of the respective roles and responsibilities of the Parish Council and the MAT.

The MAT, which helps the parish priest with the day-to-day running of the parish, will be responsible for ensuring the Parish Plan is implemented.

—Parish Communications Team