Wanniassa parish reflection #1
Making Wanniassa a vibrant parish
One of more than 50 parishes across our Archdiocese, St Anthony’s at Wanniassa is on a quest to become a vibrant parish.
A lot has been done, and there is a lot still to do, with Parish Priest Fr Tony Percy instigating a four-week parish consultation called “Where Are We?”
Fr Tony, the Vicar-General who became PP in August, has told parishioners: “We all contribute in marvellous and many ways to our parish and this is an opportunity for us to reflect. We would like to be a vibrant parish, reaching out to others with the Good News of Jesus.”
Developing and deepening spirituality is one important focus for the parish, which is also looking at music ministry, building community and engaging more with young people.
Parishioners will share views at gatherings on December 6 and 7.
Sid Mattappallil Jose – 33, Accountant, married with three children
On parish life:
“I enjoy building relationships with like-minded Catholics and being inspired and challenged by the homilies. Sometimes you meet people who provide a sense of pastoral care and that has a huge impact. I know at Kambah parish my kids enjoy the cakes and biscuits after Mass.”
What is challenging?
“Trying to listen to the homily or find a quiet moment to reflect is almost impossible with little kids. Not many parishes cater for kids and I find some parishes are not so welcoming to families as the kids can be noisy and distracting. Sometimes I feel you are being judged on your parenting if your kids are not following the Mass like an adult would.”
Your ‘must-haves’ in parish life?
“It would be great to have kids activities or even childcare so young couples could serve. Good music is important and inspiring homilies from priests who love what they do. We need to be a welcoming and evangelising community and offer genuine pastoral care. I often wonder how many Catholics would go to mass if it was not obligatory. Our parish encounters should be like mini-retreats every time you are there.”
How has parish life changed?
“I grew up in India and parish life in India is different. The culture is more communal so many people are involved. As a child, fellowship was important to me. Mass was a place to be with my friends. While I mostly believed in God, we had to attend Mass so the experience was not always deep. Now my parish experience is focused on the spiritual and fellowship aspects.”
What can we learn from bigger evangelical churches?
“Churches like Hillsong have ministers passionate about what they do. Some of our parishes have dynamic priests who work hard to engage the community. The evangelical churches seem to invest more in making each person feel welcome and important. They also make a significant financial investment into music and ambience. They put a lot of effort into teaching the Gospel to kids and people seem driven to learn. They also have midweek Bible studies, outreach activities and house visits that keep people close-knit. Taking someone to Hillsong there is a sense of awe. Bringing that same person to Mass is different so we need other platforms such as youth groups and young couple groups where relationships can be established.