Groups and Ministries – St John The Baptist Parish Ferntree Gully

Groups and Ministries

Adult Faith Formation:

  • Information on Faith Formation programmes held in the Melbourne Archdiocese are put up regularly on the Church notice board and advertised through our Parish Bulletin.  Spiritual programs are also held within our Parish periodically.

Altar Linen               

  • Rostered helpers wash and iron altar linen each week

Altar Servers  

  • For children in Year 3 and above who have already received their First Eucharist.
  • New Altar Servers take part in training to prepare them for their role.
  • They are rostered with an experienced server for a few months.
  • Servers are rostered in two’s but sometimes serve by themselves.
  • The roster is arranged to suit the needs of families and is prepared three times a year, allowing for changes due to sports or family holidays.

Angliss Hospital Chaplaincy     

  • A parish-based program involving volunteers who make a pastoral visit and bring Communion, on a weekly basis, to those hospital patients who ask to receive the Sacrament.
  • Volunteers for this service need to be registered with the Angliss Hospital as ‘Accredited Visitors’ and require a current ‘Working with Children Check”. 

Artistry and Craftsmanship

  • Use of our talents and skills in areas such as banner making, crafting of Paschal Candle, decorating of Altar cloths, crafting of candle stands etc.

Baptismal Team:     

  • Prepare families for the Baptism of their child and facilitate parent information evenings.
  • Welcome each child into the Parish at Mass in a welcoming ceremony  (Rite of Reception ).
  • Celebrate Baptisms on designated dates.
  • Provide a Baptism Certificate.

Bereavement Support

Building Maintenance

Catechist Sacramental Program         

Catechists assist in the preparation of parish children attending schools other than St John’s Catholic School for the Sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation. Lessons are held after school or on weekends, subject to the availability of Catechists. 

  • Sacraments are offered on a two-year cycle – Odd year: First Reconciliation and First Eucharist, even year: Confirmation.
  • Pastoral Associate and Parish Secretaries assist with administration of the Program, including liaising with Parish Priest, Catechists and School Religious Education Leader, promotion of the Program via the Parish Bulletin, registration of interested candidates, preparation of Application Forms and letters, queries from parents, printing of handouts, and preparation of Certificates.
  • Program content follows St John the Baptist Parish School guidelines.

Charismatic Prayer Group    (Contact person – Judy Beavis)

Meet each Tuesday 10.15 am to 1 pm in the Parish Hall

  • Bringing people into a living relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, praise and the study of the Scripture in a warm, accepting small group setting.
  • Healing prayer, worship, music, singing, friendly people, guest speakers, bible studies, testimonies, support of charities, shared lunch and much more. 

Children’s Liturgy  (Co-ordinator Kathryn Wallace, (0414244890)

  • During our 11am Sunday Mass in school terms.  
  • Provides a focus for children’s liturgy during the mass for pre-school and primary aged children.
  • Rostered helpers explore the Sunday reading (usually the Gospel) at the level children understand, with a variety of activities.

Choirs and Musicians

6pm Saturday Mass:     Youthful Choir, Contact person:  Joanna Chavez.  Practice: 5pm just before Mass.

9am Sunday Mass:        Contact person: Maree Wilson                           Practice: Tuesday 7:30 pm.

11am Sunday Mass:      Lyle and Bonnie Hoefer, Kevin Woodhouse – on a roster.

  • Lead the parish community in praise, worship and reflection through the choice of music at each Mass.
  • Reflect on Sunday’s readings and select appropriate hymns for that Mass.
  • Learn new material when required and implement by incorporating into the Mass.
  • Encourage new members to join.
  • Load hymns on Today’s Mass PowerPoint, or notify the Parish Office in advance in order that hymns can be loaded prior to Mass.
  • Lead the congregation in song during our weekend Masses and other celebrations during our Liturgical year including Holy Week, Easter and Christmas.

Church Computer Operators  

  • Operate the PowerPoint at weekend Masses and other special Masses. 
  • Assist with the updating of Today’s Mass PowerPoint including the loading of new songs, if possible.

Collection Counters

  • Rostered team members assist in the counting of weekend Mass Offerings which are recorded on a data sheet in preparation for banking.

Communion to the Sick / Housebound  and Home Visitation

  • Bring Communion, on behalf of St John’s Community, to those in nursing homes, hostels and the housebound as the need arises.
  • Share time with them in prayer and companionship.

Cuppa After Mass

  • Generally after the 6pm Mass on a Saturday night, and on special occasions.
  • Hosted by members of the Parish Pastoral Group after Masses on the third weekend of the month. 

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion   / Eucharistic Ministers 

  • Roster prepared by Parish Secretary with Mass times and availability advised by individual extraordinary ministers.
  • Appropriate training for the Ministry and formation programs for understanding ‘Eucharist’ and its meaning today are provided as required.
  • Seven ministers required to assist priest with the distribution of Holy Communion at the weekend Masses and other Eucharistic Celebrations with larger attendance, one or two required at weekday Masses.   
  • Ministers make their way to the Altar following the ‘Sign of Peace’ to assist Father.
  • Ministers can also offer their services to take Holy Communion to the sick and housebound.

Family Groups (Contact person – John O’Halloran)

Small groups of families and individuals within the Parish who gather socially and support one another.

  • Provide a flexible structure for people to form Christian extended families in the Parish Enable people to support and be supported by each other and share their lives.
  • Form groups of 6 to 14 families with anyone able to join – including families, couples and single people of diverse backgrounds and wide age groups.
  • Provide a monthly social activity via each group with a mix of adult and whole family activities, and an annual weekend away.

Finance Committee  

  • Assists the Parish priests with all financial matters relating to the operation, maintenance and planning of the Parish.
  • Oversee and protect the parish finances and property with a view to ongoing maintenance and opportunities of updating, if required.
  • With the parish accountant, monitor parish financial activities, develop budgets and advise the parish priest on matters relating to the financial status of the parish.

First Friday Mass and Luncheon   

  • Give older people in the Parish a special monthly 1st Friday Mass with participation.
  • Provide lunch every month after this Mass with Grade 4 parish school children provide and serve food during school terms.
  • Provide twice a year a special anointing.
  • Knox Council bus picks up elderly from local aged-care facilities and hostels, and returns them to the facility.

Flower Arranging (Co-ordinator-Marg Houlihan)

  • Rostered helpers arrange the flowers and decorate the altar for Masses, weddings and special Church celebrations such as Christmas and Easter.
  • The Parish has an account for the purchase of flowers.  There is also a supply of flowers and foliage in the Church grounds, some bring them from their own or a friend’s garden.

4th Knox Scout Group   – Contact person – Suzanne Schaap

  • Meets in the 4th Knox Scout Hall, Brenock Park Drive, Ferntree Gully   (Parish Facility).
  • Works with young people in our community.
  • Follow the principles of scouting as identified by Lord Baden- Powell and the principles of the Group’s sponsor, St John the Baptist parish.
  • Encourages the physical, mental, social and spiritual development of young people so they can take a constructive role in society as responsible citizens.

Friendship Gathering    

  • Meets Thursday from 10 am in Parish Hall.
  • Playing games and activities of choice, having a chat over tea /coffee.
  • Making wooden Holding Crosses and knitting/ crocheting Prayer Shawls to give to the seriously ill and those in need of comfort.
  • Organises luncheons and social friendship outings, guest speakers and fundraising for groups such as “Biggest Morning Tea”.

Gardening Team

  • Maintain the Church grounds and landscaping of the Parish gardens.
  • Achieved by a roster system working in teams for 2 hours each 3 times a year.

Hall Hire

  • Hire of Parish Hall organised by Parish Office.
  • Hire of Parish School Hall organised by School Office.

Information regarding Hire rates and conditions available from respective offices.

History Team       (Co-ordinator – Aileen Knox)

Parish Office – Monday from 9.30 am 

  • Preserve the history of the parish and store materials in Parish Office archives.
  • Enable the parishioners to learn something of our heritage.
  • Research any available data and interview people.
  • Collect old photos and scan them on computer.
  • Compile and circulate our story.

“Just as we develop our faith from the stories in the Gospels, so also we can build a stronger community spirit from the stories of our parish heritage.  The History Team has gathered, preserved and will share our stories for future generations.  To include the story of your family in this collection contact Aileen Knox.”

Holy Hour

Praying for our priests has been declared by the Church a loving duty of the laity and this can be done through the ‘Apostolate of Prayer for Priests’ (Holy Hour).  This Holy Hour is held on the first Friday of the month.  It starts with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament at 10am, singing of a hymn, reading of the Format and recitation of the Sorrowful Mysteries, followed by a little quiet time. Mass then follows at 11am.  New members are very welcome to join us and help support our priests in this prayerful way.

Home Visitation

  • Parish Priest, Pastoral Associate and volunteer parishioners

Knights of the Southern Cross – Contact person – Peter Finn

An Order of Catholic men committed to promoting the advancement of Australia by

  • fostering the Christian way of life
  • promoting the welfare of members and their families
  • encouraging spiritual, social and intellectual activities
  • conducting and supporting educational, charitable, religious and social welfare work.

Lectors       (Contact person – Stephanie Horgan)

  • Reverently proclaim the Good News through the ministry of the Word.
  • Give the welcoming introduction to Mass each Sunday.
  • Read the selected readings of the day.
  • Lead the congregation in the responsorial psalm, Gospel acclamation and prayers of intercession.
  • Encourage other members of our parish community, especially the young people, to share in this ministry particularly during our Easter and Christmas liturgies ( Advertising for new lectors occurs twice yearly and a roster is prepared).

Lenten Prayer Groups:

  • Meetings are held in individual homes and Parish facilities over the Lenten period, using a study guide.

Liturgy Planning Team

  • Plans the liturgical programme and allied posters, banners, announcements for liturgical seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent and special celebrations.
  • Plan liturgical services that engage the parish community in celebration in a way that touches and transforms their lives.
  • Maintain regular contact with all who play a special role in Eucharistic, sacramental and other prayer services.
  • Offer opportunities for personal support and training for those in ministries.

Marriage Preparation Six months’ notice required

  • Provides assistance to couples contemplating a lifelong marriage commitment.
  • Inform and instruct couples about the sacramental nature of marriage.
  • Assist couples to plan their marriage liturgy and ceremony.
  • Advise couples about the Church and State legal requirements for marriage.
  • As appropriate, refer couples to other sources of expert/specialist assistance.

Mass Offerings Collectors

  • Go around the pews with the collection baskets to collect the congregation’s offerings at weekend Masses. 
  • There is one collection at each Mass and four collectors volunteer their time.  Occasionally there is also a special collection.

Netball Club

  • Encourages and promotes the support of netball by the improvement of netball skills and  sportsmanship.
  • Encourages participation and enjoyment in the sport of netball as a means of improving health, fitness and quality of life.
  • Always looking for new members.

O.S.H. C. (Out of School Hours Care)  (School Office)

  • Excel in fulfilling our children’s needs and expectations.
  • Offering a program that assists and develops their self-esteem, respect and caring for others.
  • Providing a friendly, safe, optimistic and fun environment.
  • Participating in a wide range of educational and recreational activities.
  • Fulfill parents’ expectations.
  • Offering the best out of school hours program at a reasonable cost.

Parents and Friends    (School Office)

Parish Diary

  • Be a central point of contact for all parish groups planning a function.
  • If required, assistance will be given to advertise functions through the weekend Parish Bulletin.

Parish Hall Hire   

  • Keeps the hall running in the best possible condition for benefit of the parish and the school.
  • Deposit and Hall Hire fees available from the Parish Office. 

Parish Pastoral Group    

  • Assists the Parish Priests to sustain and foster the faith life of the Parish Community.
  • Promote Proclamation of the Good news of Jesus Christ in every parish activity.
  • Foster an environment enabling people to grow in faith and deepen their personal relationship with God.
  • Encourage a family atmosphere where all people feel a sense of belonging.
  • Support a range of services that meet the diverse and constantly changing spiritual and physical needs of our community.
  • Encourage adult education/formation.

Parish Weekend Bulletin  

  • Provide coordination and linking service for parish communications.
  • Be a contact point for receipt of Bulletin items.
  • Act as a source of advice about Bulletin item content and layout.
  • Prepare a weekly bulletin containing the Parish directory, Sunday liturgy, Parish community announcements and other relevant material.
  • Print and distribute the Bulletin each week.

Piety Stall  

  • A variety of religious items: bibles, missals, medals, rosary beads, cards etc are available for purchase from the stall after weekend Masses. 
  • Volunteers help run the stall with proceeds of sales assisting the work of the SVDP Society.

Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA

  • Anyone interested in the Catholic Faith is introduced to its beliefs and traditions with a program beginning around September each year with an informal enquiry session.
  • Invitation to attend the enquiry session promoted through our Parish Bulletin.
  • Welcome people who are inquiring and searching, exploring and understanding our Catholic faith.
  • Be a companion to those on their faith journey, enriching each other through confidential sharing.
  • Reflect on our own life and the life of Jesus, growing in spirituality through scripture reading and prayer.
  • Participate in worship with the community.
  • Meet regularly in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Celebrate the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation, during the Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday evening.

Sacramental Program:  First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation (School Office)

  • For children attending St John’s Parish Primary School – a school-based Sacramental Program.
  • Provide support and creatively share ideas with parents in the preparation of their children for the Sacraments.
  • Encourage family prayer, so that relationships and every day activities are seen as part of our mission in bringing about God’s kingdom.
  • Encourage families to be actively involved in the Church and wider community.
  • Sacraments are offered on a two-year cycle – Odd year: First Reconciliation and First Eucharist, even year: Confirmation.

Sacristans (Contact person – Sue Nicholls)

Practical assistance is provided by the Sacristans to our Parish and visiting priests by setting up of the Church, the Altar, the credence table and computer for all liturgies held in our Church including Parish Masses, Rosaries, Funerals and Baptisms. 

Candles, microphones, lights, sound systems, Parish Bulletins, special collection envelops and correct linen for the occasion are checked and prepared. The Sacristan ensures that Altar Servers, Readers and sufficient Extraordinary Ministers are present, and visiting priests are informed and assisted as necessary.

St Vincent de Paul Society  (President – Jenny Keating)

  • St Vincent de Paul Society of Ferntree Gully is a non-government organisation supporting the many disadvantaged in our Parish.  We support families who may experience homelessness, unemployment, abuse of poverty.
  • Members meet every fortnight on a Wednesday evening at 7.30pm to pray and present their reports on assistance provided.  
  • Organise annual Christmas Luncheon for our seniors.
  • Our volunteers offer the disadvantaged food hampers of non-perishable food supplemented with vouchers redeemable by our businesses in Ferntree Gully village. 

St Vincent de Paul Centre (Vinnies Op Shop)       

  • Welfare ( requests for food, clothing, furniture) now operates through the Bayswater store, telephone no. 97508919.
  • Accept donations of goods and prepares them for sale.
  • Provides a source of quality used goods at affordable prices to the local community.
  • Uses proceeds to benefit the needy in the local community.
  • Promotes and recruits volunteers to provide shop services.

School Board (School Office)

  • Provides advice to the Parish Priest and School Principal across arrange of areas, including school policies, engagement with the local community and building programs.
  • Plans for the future and ensures that the parish school can accommodate future school enrollments.
  • Assists in the selection of a lay principal when such a appointment is being made and in accordance with diocesan guidelines.
  • Works in collaboration with school parent’s auxiliaries.
  • Develops school/community relationships and encourage home/school interaction.
  • Facilitates the welcome of parents and children new to the school.
  • Makes annual education reports at the Parish council Annual General meeting.

Seasons (School Office)

  • A loss and grief support group written by Australians for Australians which supports and encourages children as they adjust to their loss.
  • Provides a peer support program for children suffering grief and loss through bereavement, separation or divorce for primary aged children.
  • Gives children the opportunity to express, acknowledge, normalise and integrate their grief.

Small Neighbourhood Communities

  • Groups meet regularly in member’s homes.
  • By sharing together, these groups provide a warm, welcoming environment where people come together, read the Gospel and then discuss, share opinions, ask questions, or just listen.
  • Things that have happened in each other’s lives since the last meeting are shared and the evening finishes with a cuppa.
  • Lots of trust and friendships are made.
  • Combined Meetings, with guest speakers and a shared lunch are also held occasionally. 

Social Justice Group (Contact person – Patrick Sawyer)

This group meets monthly to discuss social justice issues and talk about how we, as a Parish, can be kept informed and help others:

  • Provide Advocacy on specific group issues ( e.g. Increase in Council rates and the impact this has on parishioners).
  • Facilitate Educative/Conscience-raising on particular issues ( e.g. Refugees, Reconciliation, Human Rights, Globalisation, etc).
  • Provide Advice to the P.P.G (Parish Pastoral Group) on practical aspects (e.g. the contribution of Parish funding to both in Parish and out of Parish causes).
  • Link all activities to the broader Parish Pastoral Plan; to the broader church Social Teaching; and to existing Parish groups already formed .
  • Establish very practical and tangible causes that can be readily identified with by all parishioners.
  •  Forge Links, formal and informal, with other Parishes and/or Churches in the Ferntree Gully area and/or neighbouring areas in relation to potential joint activities relation to Social Justice Issues.
  • Provide Information to Parishioners on specific Social Justice Issues.
  •  Assist Parishioners to voice their concerns on broader social issues.
  • Coordinate St John’s Annual Parish Breakfast.

Tennis Club (Co-ordinator – Maureen Lawson)

  • Provide a venue for members of the parish and community to play tennis in a competitive and social atmosphere – Club Rooms are at Brenock Park Drive, Ferntree Gully.    (Parish Facility)
  • The tennis club aims to:

Provide coaching for beginners

Foster a team building spirit

Maintain courts to competition standards

Provide social tennis for all families

The Knox-Vincentian Scholarship Scheme     (Contact person – Chris Markwick)

The Knox-Vincentian Scholarship Committee is sponsored by the Knox-Sherbrooke Region of the St Vincent de Paul Society, The Knox Community Welfare Fund and St John the Baptist Parish, Ferntree Gully.  It offers some assistance with school costs to needy students residing within the City of Knox.  The sole criterion for eligibility is financial necessity.  Assistance is offered to a maximum of $300 per student beneficiary on the school principal’s advice that he/she is living in circumstances of financial need.  Grants may be used to purchase books, uniforms or to cover the costs of school camps, excursions or other extra-curricular activities.

Transport to Mass (Weekends)

  • Provide the means to attend Weekend Eucharist to those parishioners who otherwise would be denied the opportunity
  • To give those parishioners a sense of belonging

Welcomers at Mass      (Contact person – Patrick Sawyer)

  • Greet each person at the Church entrance before weekend Masses, and hand out a Parish bulletin.
  • Welcome any visitors or newcomers so that they may feel that they are a part of St John’s parish community

Welcoming New Parishioners

  • Keep an eye out for new parishioners at the Mass you usually attend.
  • Introduce yourself and introduce the parish to them through our Parish Bulletin and pamphlets available from our various groups. 
  • Offer to introduce them to other parishioners and our priests.
  •  Invite them to complete a new parishioner form and pass this on to our Parish Office.

Working Bees

  • These are great ways of experiencing parish community through getting together to perform a wide range of minor maintenance jobs, cleaning up, gardening around the parish grounds.
  •  Held on a needs basis throughout the year.