By A.J. VALENTINI
“I hope everyone shows up tonight,” said Vicki Perritano as she paced the floor in the sacristy about a half hour prior to 2016’s Christmas Eve Midnight Mass.
I had heard similar concerns from Marge Hanrahan prior to numerous 10:30 a.m. Sunday Masses over the years.
Generally, the folks who volunteer their services in the various parish ministries are pretty reliable. You can count on them showing up for their appointed duties. When there is a conflict, one only need contact the coordinator of the ministry, who in turn is able to find another person to fulfill that task. But it’s getting tougher.
Father Jim has beseeched the congregation at various times to give a hand. For the most part he has been successful. There have been occasions, however, when there have been scrambles to find the necessary bodies to perform various ministries. In a parish that literally consists of thousands of members one would think that this wouldn’t be the case. Let me tell you it does happen.
All of us have obligations to families, jobs and friends. Sometimes, when health issues burden loved ones, their pain becomes our own. Our children’s busy schedules keep us running shuttle services, support groups and pit teams to keep them on track. Sometimes our jobs consume us with deadlines and duties that convince us that the place would collapse without us. Friends might not have the same priorities as we do and we hate “being out of the loop.”
All these encumbrances are understandable. But sometimes you need to step away to get your bearings, to re-establish your serenity, to “cool your jets.” Contributing even a small bit of time to the parish can be a positive release for that pressure.
We like to keep our kids busy because we know, “an idle mind is the devil’s playground.” We live vicariously through our children. Their successes and failures become our successes and failures. We also know that many of our children pull away from the church as they grow older. Couldn’t we model a bit more participation to encourage them to do the same? If they felt like more of a part of the community, they would have more of a reason to stay with the community.
No one is indispensable to a job. Leaders of countries come and go and yet the Earth still turns and people go about their daily business. The parish doesn’t ask you to give up your day job. It only requests a small part of your time and talents. The Dow is not going to collapse because you give an extra hour per week to St Mary of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament.
Speaking from personal experience, the parish doesn’t have favorites. If the same faces show up at Mass or at church functions it’s because those folks are the ones willing to give their time. Others are not excluded. The parish loves to see new faces in various roles in the ministries.
No talent is too modest to not be of use to the parish. Often, the mere presence of another person is a comfort to the sick or grieving. It doesn’t take a PhD to pitch in at a festival, distribute communion or sing a hymn.
If you don’t like to read in public, hand out sacraments or chair a committee. Think of the parish like an orchestra in which all the instruments contribute to produce a wonderful sound. Even the guy standing in the back who waits for that one moment to strike the triangle, adds another layer to a lush performance. The rest of the time he is just another one of the percussionists.
We hope you will consider sharing some time with us. The list below contains some of the ministries in which you could lend a hand. The entire list of ministries is online at www.mountcarmelblessedsacrament.com. Call the rectory at 735-1482 to sign up.
Here are some ministries in which you can volunteer. The complete list can be found on our parish website at www.mountcarmelblessedsacrament.com. Call 735-1482 for information or to sign up.
LITURGY: Altar cleaning/decorating, altar servers, Eucharistic ministers, funeral altar servers, greeters, lectors, liturgical committee, music ministry, ushers.
FAITH FORMATION: Children’s liturgy, marriage team, religious education, Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, youth ministry.
PARISH OUTREACH: Bereavement visitation, flowers to the nursing homes and shut-ins, food pantry, funeral lunches, Hope House meal serving, ministry for persons with disabilities, Neighbor to Neighbor, parish nurse ministry, prayer line, pastoral visitors, social committee.
ORGANIZATIONS AND SOCIETIES: Mount Carmel Society, St. Anne Society.
STEWARDSHIP: Buildings and grounds, collection counters, parish festival, parish office.