Pope Francis is calling the church to move from security to boldness, from being inward-looking to outward facing, from preoccupation with our status quo to learning to be vulnerable, learning to convey God’s compassion to those who are on the edges of society and church. Our challenge is to accompany people from the margins into a journey towards the fullness of life and love; to identify with the joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of those who are poor and in any way afflicted. It is to be the bearer of joy to those who are most deprived of it. We are sent to them by Christ. We are sent from the inside out and not from the outside in.
Caroline Williams is employed by the parishes for 30 hours per week to co-ordinate our outreach activity.
What a busy and fruitful ‘Year of Mission’ and now 'Year of Prayer' we have experienced here in Salisbury! On the one hand, the last couple of years, since I started in this role, seem to have flown by but on the other, it seems a very long time ago that Fr Chris Whitehead led our ‘Outreach Day’ at St Gregory’s Hall in November 2017 to launch our various initiatives. That day was attended by nearly 100 people resulting in a great many volunteers stepping forward to take part in with visiting, deliveries, administration and the development and delivery of our communications strategy and parish database. A great start. We have worked hard over the past 18 months to become a more outward-facing community and to be more proactive in our missionary activities both near and far.
Reaching out and sharing our faith with the wider community will never be ‘achieved’ or ‘done’ – we have to keep moving constantly forward, trying new things, adapting what we do already and facing new challenges. If you have ideas or suggestions or would like to join us in any way in this work, do please get in touch. [email protected]
Below is a summary of all that we have achieved and are continuing to achieve with the Lord’s blessing:
Outreach volunteers have visited and delivered cards at Christmas 2017, Easter and Christmas 2018, and again at Easter 2019. The initial 675 households has now risen to 765 households - our entire Parish Database. The team of wonderful volunteer deliverers now numbers more than 100, calling on households twice per year. These visits have had many and varied positive results - far too many to list here in detail. Of note is that we have now increased the number of parishioners receiving communion in their homes by about a third as these visits revealed parishioners unable to get to Mass.
All our Outreach volunteers are coming to know their Catholic neighbours and new relationships and friendships are being formed. We have also been able to arrange more lift-sharing to Mass for parishioners with transport or mobility challenges.
This project continues to gain momentum and we are always happy to add new volunteers to the list!
Did you know that one of the most common reasons that people stop coming to church is that they move to a new area and simply fall out of the habit? They move to a new city, are busy settling into a new home (and often a new job as well), they don't know anyone at their new church or aren't familiar with our Mass times and/or location. Before they know it, a number of weeks have passed, and they've stopped coming. What was a 'temporary blip' quickly becomes a new way of life. This is a loss both to them and to us.
It was decided in autumn of 2018 to leaflet drop the new estates with the Christmas service times and an invitation to join us.
Teams of volunteers covered Wilton Hill, St Peter’s Place, Longhedge, Bishopdown Farm, and Riverdown Park.
For Easter 2019 we took this one step further we decided to deliver an Easter Card invitation with our Service times and locations to as many households in the Salisbury area as possible.
Again, our Parish stepped up to the challenge, with 124 great volunteers delivering Easter Cards to 11,000 households.
No wonder our Churches were filled over Easter.
In early March 2018 the decision was taken to build a new website. In just under 2 months our Outreach Worker and a volunteer team had the website built and launched on 30 April 2018.
The website is now a large repository of information about our Faith and the Salisbury Parishes containing:
- News from within our Parishes and from without.
- All our current Mass times and locations
- Prayer Opportunities with some focus on specific topics.
- Parish Life and all the various groups within it.
- A full diary of all our events.
- Key information about our Catholic Faith
And much more.
Time is spent almost daily updating the website to keep it current and fresh.
Social Media - our social media output (Twitter and Facebook - do ‘follow’/‘like’ us if you use these platforms!) are updated regularly ensuring that we are constantly ‘open’ and working to draw people to our Lord Jesus Christ and into the embrace of our faith community.
In May 2018, we began to assess the feasibility of livestreaming and recording Masses from our churches to offer access to Mass for anyone unable to attend for whatever reason. Within record time (2 weeks!) the money was raised, and it is thanks to your incredible generosity that this project was up and running by July 2018.
We are now in the position that all services from St Osmund's are streamed live, and selected services are recorded as well.
We now also record Sunday Masses from St Gregory's and Holy Redeemer as a matter of routine by different teams. Within a few hours these services are available on the Church TV page of our website.
Special services like Canon Michael's Jubilee Mass held in Salisbury Cathedral and the Life in the Spirit seminars are also recorded and made available on Church TV.
We are also providing a service where, if the conditions are right, we install a device in parishioners' homes that allow them to watch the live stream from St Osmund's on their TV.
If you would like to access our Church TV system but are not sure how to do it, please contact us, we would love to help you get started. We have DBS checked volunteers who are happy to give advice over the telephone or visit you in your own home. Please contact us on 01722 333581 or email [email protected]
Alpha - we ran a very well-attended (85 participants) Alpha course for adults in 2018.
In Spring 2019, members of the Alabare community within our parish responded to the call of Pope Francis to priests to share Baptism in the Spirit with their congregations. Addressing a worldwide retreat for clergy at St John Lateran Church in Rome, the Pope said “I ask each and all of you that as part of the current of grace of Charismatic Renewal you organise seminars of Life in the Spirit in your parishes and seminaries, schools, in neighbourhoods, to share Baptism in the Spirit,” said Francis.
The seminars ran for 8 weeks in the Parish Rooms at St Osmund’s and were well attended. Each session was recorded an made available on our Church TV. You can access the videos here.
PAMIS is our Parish Database which is managed by Caroline assisted by a small number of volunteers. This database is vital for the pastoral care of our community.
Caroline, I need some words here
Every week Caroline organises the children's mass on a Tuesday morning arranging the readers and the hymns to be sung etc.,
Caroline to provide words.
Every week Service Sheets are produced for both St Osmund's and Holy Redeemer.
The weekly Newsletter is currently managed by Caroline assisted by a small number of volunteers. The Newsletter is handed out after each Mass on Sunday in every Church and is also loaded on our website.