St Thomas Aquinas Springwood Parish
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Ministry and Groups

Acolyte

The ministry of Acolyte is known to exist in the Latin Church as early as the 3rd Century. It takes its name from the Greek word akoloulos meaning 'one who follows' and was used to describe an assistant who served the presiding bishop or priest but lost its way around the 10th Century when these functions were taken over by ordained ministers. In 1972 Pope Paul VI called for reforms in this area and the Ministry of Acolyte as we know it today was formed. The restoration of the acolyte is a direct effect of the Church's work of renewal in the direction set by the Second Vatican Council and is a ministry of service to the people of God in the Parish. An acolyte must successfully complete a 12 week training programme and on completion of the course is installed in his ministry by a Bishop.  

Care and Share

A long established organisation within the Parish. It provides short term assistance to people in need but does not aim to duplicate groups such as St Vincent de Paul, Catholic Women's League etc. Rather it is a small body of dedicated women and men who work quietly within a framework of the basic Christian and neighbourly ideals of love and charity. Care and Share works closely with both conferences of SVdP and is able to pass on anonymous assistance to those in need. The client's name remains confidential and requests are passed on through a main contact who then contacts the members via phone or personally. There are no meetings and no funds are held by the group.  

Catechists 

St Thomas Aquinas supports approximately 20 Special Religious Educators or Catechists who teach or assist in teaching the Catholic Religion each week at 4 local State Primary Schools (K-Yr 6) and 2 State High Schools (Yr 7). Classes are between 30-45 minutes, once a week on Tuesday or Wednesday. Teaching Manuals that contain all the lessons for the year are supplied to each Catechist. Training will need to be undertaken by new Catechists and this is managed by the Parramatta Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD). Please notify the Pastoral Office if you are interested in becoming a Catechist or would like more information.  

Centering Prayer Group

Our Catholic tradition from 4th Century contains many forms of prayer, some more active than others. Pope Paul VI himself called forth contemplative monks to help the whole church rediscover the contemplative dimension of prayer - known today as prayer of the heart or Centering Prayer. A very simple way of prayer for anyone who wants to be with God, to experience his love and presence. It is a prayer of longing that leads into his presence. Centering prayer is based on the wisdom saying of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, 'when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father, who sees all that is done in secret will reward you' (Matthew 6:6) and inspired by the writings of John Cassian, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux and Thomas Merton. You are most welcome to attend the Centering Prayer Group which meets every Thursday 7.30pm-8.30pm in the Pastoral Centre. Please contact the Pastoral Office  if you wish to attend.     

Children's Liturgy 

The purpose of the ministry is two-fold: firstly, to allow parents to be able to listen and contemplate the readings of the day; secondly, for the children to listen to the Gospel of the day at a level they can understand, then be shown how to apply this to their daily life. We do this through discussion as well as activity sheets. The resources we use are from Liturgyhelp.com. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office.  

Catholic Women's League

We promote the spiritual, intellectual and social development of women, uphold the dignity of all women and children by awareness of injustice to the vulnerable members of our society. We support the vocation of Christian marriage and family life, promote and support vocations to the Priestly and Religious life, financially assist the chosen Diocesan Charity of the Year and provide a forum for the voice of CWL organiasations in NSW. Our branch of CWL meets on the 3rd Friday of the month after the 9.30am Mass. All women of the Parish are warmly invited to join our very friendly group. For further details please contct the Pastoral Office. 

East Timor - Springwood East Timor Support Group (SETSG)

The SETSG is a small charity group originating in this Parish in 1998. We support health and education initiatives in East Timor particularly the projects of the Mary MacKillop Mission in Dili. Eight meetings are held each year and focus on organising the Annual Trivia night and dinner. Only through the generous support of the parishioners and the wider Springwood community over the years has the SETSG been able to make a significant difference to people in Timor Leste. 

Exercise Group

Classes began in February 2013. Open to everyone regardless of age or fitness. Each person has a different goal: weight loss, fitness, but regardless, the focus is on exercise at your own pace and comfort. Come and join the group on Monday's after the 9.30am Mass in the large meeting room of the Pastoral Office. Enjoy morning tea and a chat afterwards.   

Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (At Mass)

Lay people who have the role of distributing the Eucharist at Mass. Their role is to assist with the the distribution of Holy Communion when the Priest is physically unable to or if the number present at Mass would cause unnecessary delay. These ministers are not ordained, may be male or female, and need to be in a state of grace so they also are able to receive the Eucharist.  

Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (to the sick) 

We have a dedicated team of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion who take Holy Communion to the sick of our Parish. We visit Endeavour, Buckland and Uniting Care Nursing Homes each Friday and private homes and Springwood Hospital on Sundays. In addition, Father Paul celebrates Mass 5 times a year at each Nursing Home. Ministers are on a roster and are only required once a month. If you are interested in becoming a Minister or know someone who needs Communion please contact the Pastoral Office.

Family Groups

Family Groups exist to build the community called CHURCH. They are a simple mechanism that brings together parishioners of all ages and family arrangements who can get to know one another so as to live out the call of the Gospel to 'love one another'. Three family groups are active in the Parish, meeting for low or no cost activities about once every month. The motto of family groups is 'A Family for All'. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office. 

Ministers of the Word

Readings at Mass introduce the theme for that particular Sunday. Readers prepare beforehand so that they are presenting the Scriptures in a clear, confident and correct manner. Preparation prevents unexpected names like Nebuchadnezzar causing difficulty and reminds us to read more widely to enhance our understanding of God's word. New readers are always welcome.

Mothers' Prayers

Is a worldwide group in 100 countries and was started by 2 mothers in England in 1995. They felt led by Jesus to start the group. We meet locally each fortnight and specifically pray for our children - we surrender our children to Jesus and put them in his care. From this has come many blessings worldwide. It's a very warm and encouraging group of mothers/grandmothers who come together full of love and hope for their children. Groups usually consist of up to 8 ladies - we have a booklet to guide us and keep it simple. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office.

Music

We have 6 groups that look after the music at our weekend Masses. Five of the groups are rostered throughout each month, each providing music for approximately 2 Masses per month. Since the liturgical worship is given a more noble form when celebrated in song, the leaders of each group select music that supports the theme and readings of each Mass. We would welcome anyone who would like to join the Music Ministry as either singers or instrumentalists. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office.

Playgroup

Held in the large meeting room of the Pastoral Office on Thursdays during school term from 9.15am-11.15am. Anyone with children from newborns to preschool aged children are welcome. It's a casual environment allowing the children to play and engage in a craft activity while parents can interact with others over coffee and morning tea. Parents are asked to provide their children's morning tea and a gold coin donation. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office.

Sacramental Programme

Preparation for the Sacraments is Parish based and family centered. When a child is presented for Baptism the parents assume the responsibility of bringing the child up in the Faith. Parents/Carers with the aid of an appropriate programme share the Faith with their children. Small groups are formed and these meet on a weekly basis for 4 weeks to share and discuss the lesson for that week. In sharing the Faith with our children we deepen our own knowledge and faith. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office.

Smart Loving

Formerly Celebrate Love. Smart Loving is a series or resources supporting couples in their commitment to marriage. Smart Loving helps participants to emerge stronger as a couple and as an individual. It offers seminars, weekend workshops, online resources and engaged couples courses. Dedicating time and energy to these events enable improved relations, health and greater personal fulfilment. It draws from a wealth of research, theology and experiences to provide a compelling focused approach to building marriage. EVERY MARRIAGE MATTERS! Contact the Smart Loving website to find out more information about upcoming events and resources.    

St Thomas Aquinas Rugs (STARugs)

A STARug is a handmade rug given to those in our local community who may need something colourful and personal to keep them warm. Members of our Parish knit and crochet whole rugs or 25cm squares that are sewn into whole rugs. The rugs are distributed to the needy by our local Vinnies conferences and are very much appreciated for their warmth and the care they represent. During the last 9 years, 269 STARugs have been made. Donations of wool as well as knitted or crocheted 25cm squares are always needed to enable this Ministry to function. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office.  

Welcomers

The friendly faces that greet those arriving for Mass with a smile and a simple 'how are you' while handing on the Bulletin. Welcoming the congregation personalises and values every person's arrival at St Thomas Aquinas Parish. There are very few rostered welcomers and anyone who can begin 20 minutes before Mass to greet arrivals would be showing the human face of Christ in our Parish community. For further details please contact the Pastoral Office.

Youth Group

Offers social activities and spiritual development to our young parishioners. Youth Group (11-24 years of age) gather every 1st and 3rd Sunday during school term from 6pm-8.30pm to share a meal and get involved in fun activities. Older youth (Year 11-age 27) meet once a month for dinner and guest speakers. There is a youth Mass every Sunday at 5pm. The youth are invited to be as involved and bring whichever gifts and talents they have to the celebration of Mass. Information pamphlets and registration forms are at the back of the Church or in the Pastoral Office. Contact Ruth Vallieres at the Pastoral Office for further details.   

  

 

    

  

  

 

 

  

     

 

 

  

 

 


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