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Lively community affirmed at Plympton parish

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Meeting OWLS (Older Wiser Livelier Souls), attending an international dinner, witnessing hospital ministry and celebrating the Eucharist with school students and parishioners were some of the highlights of the Archbishop’s visit to Plympton parish last month.

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The week-long parish visitation began with the Vicar General Father Philip Marshall speaking at all Masses at St John the Baptist Church. During the week, Years 3 and 4 students from St John the Baptist School participated in a combined school/parish Mass celebrated by Archbishop Wilson, who then joined the OWLS for their weekly Scriptures reflection.

St John the Baptist School students Matilda Harvey, Isabelle Costabile and Hannah McGrotty bring up the gifts in the offertory procession at the combined parish/school Mass

Fr Philip Marshall and Teresa Lynch visit the school garden with, from left, Olivia Abbott, Leo McKenzie-Smith, Hugh Mahoney, Maggie Dingwall.

The visitation team gathered with youth for a forum on the Year of Youth in the evening, followed by the international dinner where parishioners were encouraged to wear their traditional dress and bring a dish from their own ethnic background. About 150 parishioners enjoyed dishes from different countries and participated in an informative open forum.

Father Anthony Kain, parish priest of the twinned parishes of Plympton and Glenelg said the visitation of Plympton was “a great time to be conscious of the diverse ministries touching the faith lives of parishioners”.

“These ministries span generations – from infancy to the elderly – and are enriched by the arrival of many refugees and migrants from overseas.”

He said the visitation team’s meeting the parish pastoral team was particularly encouraging as it named and spoke of the relationship between parish and school.

Father Kevin Taylor said the whole experience of the visitation was positive.

“It was wonderful for the parish to be affirmed in its care and outreach through the variety of ministries undertaken in the parish,” he said.

“It was also a great experience to speak about future directions for the parish.”

On the first Sunday, Fr Marshall and Teresa Lynch, from the visitation team, shared a lunch with the Catholic Deaf Community which gathers on the first Sunday of each month at Plympton for the 10am Mass. Members spoke of their needs and how they have been grateful to the Plympton parish for working towards integration of sign language (AUSLAN) into the Mass.

Another aspect of the visitation program was the hospital ministry at Ashford.

“This ministry often reconnects people with the Church at a vulnerable time in their lives,” Fr Taylor said.

“Sometimes our hospital visitors are the first point of contact with the Church in many years. There are times when we are called to journey with people in their final illness.”

From the hospital ministry, the parish has answered a need for a bereavement ministry.

“This new venture enables ministers of Communion to journey with the aged, frail and dying,” Fr Taylor said.

“These ministers liaise with the priest so that the Sacrament of Anointing is given to the housebound or those in aged care facilities.”

Another new venture is the Men’s Shed, a joint project between Plympton and Glenelg parishes. A small group of men have grown vegetables, made nativity scenes and created a building block for the parish school.

During a tour of the school, students showed Fr Marshall and Mrs Lynch their garden project. They spoke of sustainability, care for the environment and the showed them ‘Isaac’s Tree’ planted in memory of a student who died in tragic circumstances in 2017. Also discussed was the worm farm and recycling initiatives.

After celebrating 10am Mass on February 11 to conclude the visitation, Archbishop Wilson shared a morning tea in the foyer of the Church and then took Communion to Mrs Bette Backhouse and offered his condolences on the sudden death of her son, Greg, in December.

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