Pastoral activities in Blessed Sacrament Parish – St Rose of Lima

“The process of transformation will allow the Institute to renew its capacity to carry out its prophetic role in accordance with its foundation charism” [communication of Sr Francoise Massey and Council 20/08/2016]

Pastoral activities of the FMM. The presence and contribution of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary in the Parish Community is strongly felt, as we are well represented on the Parish Pastoral Council which is the highest decision-making body in the parish and on the Parish Liturgical Committee which oversees all matters concerning sacred liturgy.

A sister in collaboration with a Marist Brother is responsible for the newly-revived Vocation Club of the parish. Through an executive board composed of the religious in the parish and some lay faithful, the FMM sister organizes meetings, talks, visits, outings and other programmes for the young boys and girls in the club. Through these humble activities, we hope to encourage the youth to understand the Catholic faith better, to grow as responsible Christians, to discover their various vocations in the Church and pursue them.

There are catechumens who are undergoing catechetical instructions for Baptism, First Holy Communion and Confirmation in the parish. There is a young sister involved in transmitting the faith to these children and teenagers and she does so together with a Marist Brother and two trained lay catechists. Many sisters who passed through St. Rose of Lima Provincialate have engaged in this ministry of teaching catechesis.

Home Visitation. On Sunday afternoons, the elderly sisters in the community render weekly visits to households within the jurisdiction of the parish. This activity was crippled by Covid-19 but is springing back to life. It is a joy when the homebound and other parishioners receive the sisters into their homes. They express their unending gratitude for the time spent with them.

Communion Rounds. We take delight in sending Christ to the sick and aged every Thursday morning. It is not unusual to see the sisters on the streets of Abelenkpe, entering house to house to administer Holy Communion to the faithful who are unable to commune with the larger community. The deep faith expressed by some of the sick, the gratitude, the recovery back to good health and even the peaceful passing of some of the parishioners we visit are all a form of encouragement to continue this ministry.

Sr. Eunice with a Catachist and Catechumens

Children’s Service (Sunday school). This is an avenue which brings together the children of the parish to participate in their own liturgy whilst the first Mass is going on. Two sisters assist two volunteers to animate the children every week. Aside from the reading and reflections of the day, the children learn other teachings of the Church and have assignments to complete. This is a good opportunity for the children who have received the sacrament of confirmation to continue to refresh their minds on the teachings of the Church and general knowledge.

St. Theresa of the Child Jesus Society. This is a women’s group in the parish and a sister who is a member joins them in their meetings. These periodic encounters with the women enable the sister to share in their lives, experiences and activities. It is also an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas, to give as well as receive. The sister also encourages and challenges them to take their spiritual lives seriously, since they often talk about matters that do not benefit them spiritually.

Pastoral challenges in the parish include: reduction in attendance at Mass and other church activities, problem of irreverence during liturgical celebrations among some parishioners, lack of commitment among some of the youth in the Church, low patronage of the Sacrament of Confession etc.

There is the need for the church to reach out to old members, especially lapsed Catholics, and work towards maintaining the current members. Great attention must be given to the youth of the church since they have less zeal for activities and matters concerning the church. The constant presence of young sisters in the church will be of great benefit to the local community as they will serve as role models to the youth and be a source of hope to the elderly.

Eunice Angsotenge, fmm