December 20, 2010

RAMON GONZALEZ
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

ST. ALBERT — People who attend St. Albert Church this Christmas will be invited to join the parish next year.

Beginning Christmas Eve all people new to the parish and those who attend Mass on special occasions will be given a Christmas handout with information about the parish. “Come join us in 2011,” the brochure says.

The parish has had a successful and exciting year and “we want to invite as many people as we can to join us and experience this,” explained Janet Bailey, vice president of the parish pastoral council.

“Next year is our parish’s 150th anniversary year and we want people to come and join us for this celebration and just our regular celebrations.” The scheme is part of a plan to make St. Albert Parish more inclusive, Bailey said.

PASTOR’S MESSAGE

The eight-page booklet contains a Christmas message from Oblate Father Andrzej Stendzina, the pastor, an overview of parish life and activities, the order of the Mass, an invitation to join the 150th anniversary celebrations and a calendar of activities for 2011.

Young families will welcome people and distribute the brochure on Christmas Eve. The target audience is former or inactive parishioners and new people who are coming to Mass on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day.

“We want to have a more welcoming face for everybody who comes in,” Bailey said. “We want to make sure that they understand that they are very welcome. We really love to see them.”

The parish will launch the 150th anniversary celebrations on the weekend of Jan. 15-16. Events are planned throughout the jubilee year to honour the past and present of the parish community.

One purpose of the brochure is to inform people about everything that is going on in the parish “so that those who do live in the area might consider coming and joining us next year,” Bailey said. “There is a lot to experience by coming to our church.”

St. Albert Parish is a vibrant community of 2,000 families with lots to offer. The parish has a growing children’s ministry and has a group of young adults preparing to attend World Youth Day in Spain next summer.

MUSIC MINISTRY

The parish has a vibrant, growing music ministry and a youth band. It also has a new audiovisual set-up that uses the walls of the church on either side of the altar as screens for hymns, Bailey observed.

The Social Justice Committee supports and helps staff a yearly medical-dental mission to Ecuador and champions other causes closer to home such as affordable housing.

St. Albert Parish is twinned with a parish in Guatemala. Parishioners sponsor children at an orphanage and go to Guatemala to work in the parish.

“Come join us in 2011!” the brochure says.

Bailey said there is no system to know how successful the program will be.

“You know what, we are going to have to go by feel,” she said. “When you are around the church a lot you know who is new and who is not so I think we will have a sense of it.”