As liturgy is an important part of the life of the Parish we strive to give involve as many people as possible in our worship. Since the Vatican II Council in 1965 the Church has been encouraging full and active participation of all God’s people, (lay and ordained) in the life of the Church.
Responding to this call our Parish invites parishioners to become involve themselves in the liturgical ministries and activities. Below are some of the ways that parishioners can serve their brothers and sisters in the various Eucharistic celebrations and other liturgies offered in our church.
Adoration of Blessed Sacrament
In our Parish we have regular Exposition and prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.
All parishioners are warmly encouraged to come and spend time with the Lord, praying for their own needs, the needs of the Parish, the community and the world.
Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament is held in the Parish in Our Lady of Grace Church each Friday from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm.
Jesus at the Last Supper showed in a dramatic way that he came not be served but to serve and so in their own way the younger members of our Parish family can follow the example that Jesus himself gave.
Altar servers assist the priest during liturgies in the Parish especially Sunday Eucharist. They help to bring Jesus closer to his people and make him more present in the world.
The ministry is open to those who are aged over 8 years old, have completed the Sacramental Preparation Programme and are regularly attend Eucharist. This ensures that those who undertake this ministry are mature enough to understand what they are undertaking and have a sense of the various parts of the Eucharistic celebration so they are able to provide assistance to the other ministers.
Members offer to help the parish family by washing, ironing and the linen used around the church. Members undertake the task in their own homes on a rostered basis to spread the work around the members.
Though this is often an unseen assistance it is one that helps liturgies celebrated for the parish have linen that is well maintained and fit for celebration of God’s love and care for us.
Children’s liturgy is offered during the Sunday 8:30 am (St Francis Xavier Church) and 10:30 am (Our Lady of Grace Church) Mass on the Sundays of the school terms. The school age children celebrate the Liturgy of the Word appropriate to their age.
The children with their parent leaders and helpers leave the main part of the Church at the beginning of Mass. After hearing the Gospel of the day they share in various activities to reinforce the gospel message. The children return to Mass at the Preparation of the Gifts to celebrate the Eucharist with their families and the rest of the congregation.
New children and parent helpers are always welcome.
Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
Extra-Ordinary Ministers of the Holy Communion assist the priest with the distribution of Holy Communion during Parish Eucharistic Celebrations, and take Holy Communion to the Sick and house-bound for our parish family. Ministers are rostered for Sunday Masses and also offer their assistance at daily Masses.
Training is provided before ministers are commissioned for service to our parish family.
Communion to the Sick
In our parish family, as in others, there are those who cannot through age, infirmity etc, cannot come to the Church to participate at Eucharist. This is not a new phenomena, but is recorded even the early life of the Church. St Justin Martyr (100 – 165AD) describes how deacons give Communion to those present and carry away the consecrated bread and wine for those unable to attend, (Apology 1,65) This is the origin of the continuing practice of bringing the Holy Communion to those who are ill and housebound.
Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion take consecrated hosts from the daily Mass to those who are unable to join the community at the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.
Flowers and floral arrangements provide a worthy and pleasant atmosphere to the church environment. Those with a floral artistic bent share their time and talent with the Parish by creating floral arrangements to enhance the worshipping and gathering space of our church.
Arrangements can be seasonally themed (such as Easter or Christmas) or reflect the wonder of creation by bringing living colours into the Church.
Jesus was one who always welcomed friends and strangers when they came to him. He never left anyone unaware of the love that God had for them and his desire to invite them to be part of his family. As Christians seeking to follow Jesus Christ, our Parish strives to extend that same welcoming atmosphere to all who come to worship with us.
The ministry of Greeting is one of the prime ways that we outreach to those who come to our churches and services. They provide a friendly face and welcoming atmosphere when people enter the building for liturgies. Greeters also distribute the weekly Parish newsletter, orders of service and other printed material available in the church foyer.
The Mass Leaders provide a welcome to the attendees at Masses at Our Lady of Grace Church and assist the community by leading the Prayers of the Faithful.
Realising the value and contribution of music to any celebration the Parish strives to provide appropriate music at as many parish liturgies as possible.
The Parish is led by a variety of music groups including choirs, organists, youth bands and other instrumentalist.
If you would like to share your gift of music, either as a musician of a vocalist please free to either join in an existing group, or look at beginning a group with others who share your passion for music
Filipino Choir – Our Lady of Grace Church
This group of musicians and singers is based on the local Filipino community based at Our Lady of Grace Church in Heretaunga. They provide musical support to the congregation on the 4th Sunday of each month.
Our Lady of Grace Music Group
Our Lady of Grace Music Group is made up of pianists and guitarists, along with supporting singers. The group helps lead the congregation at the 10:00 am Mass on the 1st, 3rd and 5th each month at Our Lady of Grace Church in Heretaunga. The group plays music suitable for a Family Mass. Included in their repertoire are songs that children love to sing, songs which have been composed by members of the group and songs that are regularly sung in most parishes – following the theme of the liturgical seasons of the Church. Practices are held on the Thursday before the Sunday the music group plays. The ministry is covered in prayer each time there is a practice and at the Sunday Mass. All musicians, singers and supporters are most welcome.
Both Our Lady of Grace Church and St Francis Church have pianos and keyboards an opportunity for accompaniment to the singing at Parish Liturgies. A pianist accompanies the congregational singing at Our Lady of Grace Church on a regular basis.
Our Lady of Grace Church has a pipe organ installed and this provides a wonderful accompaniment to the singing at parish liturgies.
Samoan Choir – Saint Francis Xavier Church
This group of singers and musicians provide both contemporary music and music with a Samoan influence based at St Francis Xavier Church in Stokes Valley.
Prayers of the Faithful Writers
Mission: to provide for the Sunday Eucharistic celebration intercessory prayers that reflect the needs and cares of the parishioners of the parish
Each week a rostered member of the parish provide Prayers of the Faithful/ Intercession Prayers for the celebration of the following Sunday during our Sunday Mass. These intercessions reflect the care of the community for members of the parish, the wider city community and Archdiocese and also areas of need and concern in the world.
Proclaimers of the Word
Mission: to contribute to Sunday Masses and other liturgies through the proclamation of the Word of God.
Readers proclaim the Word of God to our faith community, and therefore have an important role in focusing our community on the Good News. They also help to build our community by providing the welcome at the start of Mass, and by leading the Prayers of the Faithful.
Throughout the year Proclaimers of the Word are rostered in pairs for preferred celebrations either at Saturday evening or Sunday morning Eucharist. Special roster are published, utilising those available for special celebrations for Easter, Christmas and other significant liturgical events in the Church’s liturgical calendar. A separate Holiday Season roster is organised from December to January.
Training and support are provided and we endeavour to include fully initiated parishioners of all ages.
Mission: to be a place of praying the Rosary for the needs of the Parish and the world
The Rosary is prayed in St Francis Xavier Church on a regular basis for the needs of the Parish and of the world. The rosary is led on an informal basis by parishioners, after the Weekday Eucharist on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
If you feel called to undertake this prayer you are free to turn up at the Church at the specified times.
Mission: to provide oversight of the sacristy and setting up of the church for celebrations.
This is a relatively new lay role in our parish which involves preparation for the Saturday Vigil/Sunday morning Eucharist, and also the daily weekday Eucharist.
Sacristans set up the church and sanctuary, lectern and altar frontals, sacred vessels, linen, lectionary, altar breads etc.
Sacristans also ensure continuity of altar wine and altar bread stocks, candles and other related tasks.