Seacombe Gardens Parish
Michael Butler has been visiting neighbours in his local area for more than 10 years.
I had been disappointed in my current visits which mostly ended in a door stop, I decided to commence in an area not visited for some time. My first person was a lady bedridden after a cancer operation and she was very pleased to see me and indicated she would like to have the Eucharist; I left much uplifted by this encounter. The Parish was informed and the Parish Priest later visited her with the sacraments. I will now maintain contact regularly. During the same session I visited another lady and shared a cup of tea and conversation; very pleasant. On leaving I discovered that she had taught my daughters many years prior, this has also led to further contacts. I hope these encounters will encourage others to keep “at it”.
Privileged Listener - I am so glad that I made sure that I gave my phone number to the people I have been visiting in my neighbourhood for nearly 10 years now. I came to realise just how strong the bond was when I received a phone call from a young woman who lived near to me. She was distressed over a terrible event that had happened in her life, and we talked for some time. As she began to calm down she said, “you know, other than family you are the only person I have told”. I can’t describe how this made me feel, it was just about being there present to her when she really needed it.
Sharing from our abundance - Vanessa phoned the parish to say she had some beds they no longer needed. The pastoral associate thought of a refugee family who could possibly use them, so Vanessa rang John, who had a trailer, and asked him to see the family. They were warmly welcomed by the family, who were very happy to use the beds. While there, John noticed that the family had very little furniture or other basic kitchen requirements, as they shared their meal on one of the beds, so he promptly organised other things from the community. This refugee family now has not only beds but a table, crockery and warm clothes.
Assistance given - “I was very sick and I did not know where to turn – our Parish worker and the Neighbourhood Church have been my guardian angels.”
A child’s wisdom - When asked by his teacher what is the best part of the Mass, a little boy answered “When Mass is finished”, then all the children began to laugh until the boy answered, “no I mean when the priest says “ Go in Peace to love the Lord” this is how we start our week doing Jesus’ Work.”
Connecting neighbourhood and parish sacrament preparation - At a recent information session for the next sacrament journey families were asked to find their home on a map and then directed to sit at tables with other families from their neighbourhood. Enjoying a cuppa and a chat, they pondered three questions: “How long have you lived there?” “What brought you there?” and “What do you like about the neighbourhood?” These brief questions sparked a wealth of conversation. At all future meetings these families will have the opportunity to continue the journey of discovery of being church, sharing and reflecting on their stories within the wider story of the people of God and celebrating this on-going story in prayer, symbols, and creative expression.