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Bringing the body of Christ to the people

Local

With 120 parishioners unable to attend Mass and receive the Eucharist, the Glenelg parish has developed a comprehensive ministry of the sick and housebound program.

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The parish has 23 volunteers visiting couples and individuals in their homes, aged care facilities or hospitals to ensure they don’t miss out on the most important elements of the Mass. But the visits are also an opportunity to provide some much-needed companionship.

Peter Hurley has been a volunteer special minister for “a long time” and has a number of people he visits on a regular basis.

He said being a part of this important ministry was not only beneficial for those he visited but for him as well as it enabled him to make new friends within the parish.

One couple he visits every fortnight is Don and Kate Nicholls who live in their own home at Holdfast Shores. Kate, 94, has been a part of the Glenelg parish for 19 years, with Don, 93, a member of the local Uniting Church.

In recent times Kate has become less mobile due to her age and unable to make it to Mass regularly.

“We both look forward to it (Peter’s visit). It’s my only contact with the Church because I don’t walk anymore,” she said.

“Peter comes every fortnight and it is a blessing for us. He is wonderful company.”

Don and Kate have been married for 69 years and have lived in six different locations across Australia throughout their lifetime.

Kate said they both loved the many moves they had made and enjoyed the challenge of mixing in different communities and meeting new people.

Peter’s visit is a condensed version of what you would experience in church and includes the couple having a blessing, listening to a Gospel reading, saying their own prayers and Kate receiving communion.

Full services are sometimes held at nursing homes if there are a number of parishioners participating in visits.

Communion hosts for distribution are consecrated at Sunday or mid-week Mass. The ministers to the sick and housebound are invited by the priest to come to the sanctuary to collect the communion wafers and be blessed.

The ministry is just one of many important pastoral outreach activities being run by the laity in the Glenelg parish which is celebrating 150 years in 2019.

On Sunday August 11 the parish will hold a Blessing of St Mary MacKillop Chapel Artworks event which will follow the 10.30am service at Our Lady of Victories. This event will aim to recognise the beginning of Catholic education by St Mary MacKillop and the influence of the Sisters of St Joseph. A lunch will then be held at midday in St Mary’s Hall, 19 High St, Glenelg.

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