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Parish Groups and Ministries

What is ministry?

 Writers describe ministry in many different ways: 

Ministry is going on everywhere – in every home, in every relationship – wherever there is an encounter between the need of one person and the giftedness of another.  Most ministry is unnamed, inconspicuous, untrumpeted.  It would not even think of itself as ‘ministry.’  And yet, whenever and wherever it happens, people are obeying Jesus’ command, ‘you also ought to wash one another’s feet.’ Whenever it happens there is an event of ‘grace.’  As a parish this is what we are and what we are meant to be – a ministering community, a place where ministry is given and received.

Donal Harrington, The Welcoming Parish, Columba Press, Dublin: 2005.


All the members of the Church have been entrusted with ministry.  Each Christian has a responsibility towards others, not just towards their fellow Christians, but to all people.

Karl Rahner, Theological Investigations, Vol. 12, Darton, Longman & Todd, London 1974


A parish should be ‘a ministering community and a community of ministers.’ 

Gerard Egan, The Parish in Community and Ministry, ed. E. Whitehead. Paulist Press, New York, 1978.


Each local Church or parish ought to reflect on its mission to help in building up the kingdom of God.  It ought to ask itself: ‘What must happen here, within this community, for the building up of a living community of men and women.’

Edward Schillebeeckx, Ministry, SCM, London: 1981.


Catholic author and theologian, Richard McBrien, identifies three essential characteristics common to all ministry:

- Ministry is rooted in one’s faith.

- Ministry is at the service of others.  It is for the benefit of others: not primarily for the benefit of the minister.

- Ultimately all ministry is for the sake of the kingdom of God.

cf. Richard McBrien, Ministry, Harper & Row, San Francisco: 1987.


Ministry should be understood to emerge from the community, to be Spirit-called, and to have as its purpose the enabling of the community in the task of making ‘Thy kingdom come.’                                                                      

      Thomas Whelan

The Harbour Parishes: A Ministering Community

Here in the Harbour Parishes, we are blessed to have many talented and gifted people who generously share their time and talents in helping others, be that in caring for neighbours, in groups like PACE or Meals on Wheels, in the many sports clubs and community organisations that do so much to benefit others in our community.


In each of our Churches we are blessed with volunteers who minister as:

  • Sacristans

  • Caretakers and cleaners

  • Ministers of the Word

  • Ministers of the Eucharist

  • Members of our Choirs, both Adult Choirs and Children's Choirs

  • Altar Society

  • Stewards

  • Covid19 Sanitising Teams

  • Do this in Memory Parents' Committees.

It is by virtue of their ministry that we can gather as a community for worship and to celebrate Mass together.

Others in our parish minister in a broader parish setting, for example :

  • Parish Assembly

  • Parish Finance Committees

  • Parish Safeguarding Committee

  • Parish Funeral Ministry Team

  • Parish Newsletter Team

  • Parish Website Team

  • Parish Office

  • Parish Clergy

Others minister through Church Organisations that have their own structures, such as:

  • Society of St Vincent de Paul

  • St Joseph's Young Priests' Society

Each of these ministries plays an essential and integral part in giving life to our parish. They help us to witness to our faith in Jesus and to the values that he teaches.  We thank all those who minister in any way in our parish, be that privately or publicly, and ask  God to continue to  bless you in all that you do.


Volunteering in our Parish

If you have a gift or talents that you would like to share with our community, or if you would simply like to become more involved in the life of the parish, please contact the Parish Office or one of the parish clergy.  Your help will be very welcome.

Diocesan Safeguarding requirements mean that volunteers involved in public ministry on behalf of the parish have to undergo Garda Vetting and meet some other basic requirements.  But please don't be put off.  We would love to have you involved in the life of the parish.  There is none so rich that they cannot  receive and none so poor that they have nothing to give.

Come and join us.  We are stronger together!


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The Harbour Parishes

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