Survey participants were invited to identify areas for improvement. 106
people or 13% responded to this invitation and the main areas they
identified were as follows:
31% of those who identified areas for improvement said that they would
like to see an increase in the number of masses that have a specific
focus such as a youth mass, a children’s mass and a folk mass.
Since the survey was conducted the following programmes have been initiated:
Holy Communion Preparation:
At the moment, as part of the First Holy
Communion Preparation Programme, the 11.00am Mass one Sunday each
month from September to June is a special preparation Mass for First
Communion children and their families. In 2006-2007 the choir
from St. Mary’s
National School has been a wonderful and very welcome addition to
this celebration. Parents and children help with the Readings,
Procession etc. This is the third year of this programme and
it has been very successful
and beneficial to all concerned.
As part of the Confirmation Preparation Programme, the
7.30pm Mass one Saturday each month is dedicated to Confirmation Preparation.
This program started in September this year and will finish in February
2007. The young people have become very involved in each celebration
with Parents helping out with readings etc. Each Mass has a different
theme appropriate to Confirmation preparation
In recent years we have organized a Youth Mass, once a term,
including the involvement of the youth in certain ceremonies during the
Christmas and Easter celebrations. Some youth have been extremely generous
in offering their time to assist at Masses throughout the year (particularly
when the school choir sings). We are always enriched by their input.
Of course, we always welcome additional involvement.
31% of those who identified areas for improvement identified the
area of music including the formation of a good church choir, more music,
the establishment of a folk group, the availability of song books in
the Church and the playing of sacred music before mass and during communion.
The Children’s Choir, To-Toi and the Folk Group all work very hard
at providing the Parish with wonderful music at many of our Masses. There
are four Masses each weekend in the Church of Our Lady and it would not
be fair to expect any group to commit to being available every weekend.
Mass content and duration:
28% of those who identified areas for improvement
highlighted specific issues relating to the content of masses such as
having masses that are more relevant to everyday events; having shorter
masses; more spiritual content, less ceremony; relevant activities for
young children and presentation of news, views and parish events.
In response, the duration of Mass is usually 40 minutes and it is very
difficult to see how or where this could be changed to make Mass shorter.
Recent feedback from parishioners is that the content of the Homily is
always fresh, topical and relevant to every day life. Activity sheets
for children which highlight the key messages of each Sunday’s
liturgy are available in the Church porch each weekend. The ‘new,
views and parish events’ are contained in the weekly parish newsletter
and on the parish website and the key activities for the week are highlighted
during the mass.
Smaller numbers said they would like to see more lay
involvement. There is very active and enthusiastic involvement of parishioners
in the mass including readers, Ministers of the Eucharist and collectors.
New participants are always welcome!
Structural issues: An even smaller number of comments concerned structural
issues such as an improved public address system, and a seating layout
that is more conducive to private prayer.
Overall 91% were happy with the existing mass times and those
who requested alternative times would like to see earlier evening masses
on Saturday and Sunday, and an earlier morning mass and a later morning
mass on Sunday. The issue of mass times is high on the agenda and has
recently being discussed with parishioners at local consultation meetings
and the feedback received from these meetings is being considered by
our Parish Pastoral Council.
Since the survey was conducted a Parish Pastoral
Council has been established. The Council consists of the Parish clergy,
Parish Secretary, plus fifteen other Parishioners who are elected at
an AGM each year. The mission of the Parish Council is to work together
as a group to reach out in faith and love to all parishioners to develop
and enhance pastoral well-being in an ever-changing reality.
The Parish Office continues to expand in terms of personnel
and services offered in direct response to the growing needs of the Parish.
Since the Survey was conducted a new stand-alone building was procured
to house the Parish Office.