Why the Parish AGM Means so Much to Me

The words “Parish Annual General Meeting” can evoke in us a feeling of obligation or even dread, “Well we have to do this.” They are often poorly attended. We have ours this Sunday after 11am Mass. This is a moment for us to look back at the past year and look forward to the year ahead.

On this Third Sunday of Lent we have in St John’s Gospel the meeting between the woman at the well and Jesus. The woman meets the one who tells her the story of her life and then she goes to tell all the village about him and they come to meet him. There are two movements. The first movement is a coming to know and love more deeply Jesus and accept what he has to offer, the living water. The second movement – our mission to bring others to Christ.

My great wish as a priest is that all of us who are part of St Thomas of Canterbury parish community will, through the celebration of the sacraments, the community’s life and the catechesis, come to deepen our faith in Christ. And as part of this community, to receive a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This in turn will mean that we become eager and confident to tell others. We will become missionary disciples.

On the front cover of our Parish Directory we set out our vision. It reads

What is our purpose? To be a pilgrim people. To celebrate the Eucharist with Joy and Hope. To help parents catechesis their children. To care for the poor and frail. To welcome the stranger and to encourage each other to grow in faith through adult catechesis.

St Pope Paul VI in his letter on Evangelisation said, “the Parish exists to evangelise.” As we gather this weekend, let us consider three groups of people with whom we need to share the good news of the gospel:

  • practicing Catholics called to a deeper and deeper transformation in their life with Christ,
  • Catholics who have fallen away from the practice of their faith and
  • those who do not yet know the love of Christ, who do not believe in God or who find faith irrelevant to everyday life.

Coming to the Parish AGM may be a good step towards actively participating in the living life of our worshipping community to support and encourage each other in our mission.

Canon Father Anthony
Canon Father AnthonyParish Priest