Province of Prince Albert: Pastoral Work
Echoes of the Mission: Pastoral Work in the Parish
Sister Zelie Dion makes Jesus Christ known by her presence and work as the Pastoral Assistant at the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Prince Albert.
She prepares parents for their babies’ baptism, gives RCIA sessions, Sacramental Classes and establishes faith sharing groups for the preparation of children and adults for the sacraments and forms leaders for the Children’s Liturgy for Sundays.
Baptism: parents follow three classes with their babies before receiving the sacrament.
First lesson-we take an overview of the program, see what their dreams are for the future of their child, learn whom to chose for Godparents and what their responsibilities are.
Second lesson – they study the symbols of baptism and their meaning, the name-first question asked by the priest,’ what name do you give to your child”, the cross-the child will be claimed for Christ by the celebrant the parents and the Godparents, the water-symbol of new Life in Christ. When baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,’ you are now a child of God’s family’, anointing with Holy Chrism which makes you priest, prophet and king, receiving a lit candle from the Pascal candle-symbolizes the light of Christ. Then the last lesson is visiting the Church, they learn what they are to do as Christian parents.
Sacramental preparation for Confirmation-children and parents attend six sessions which compromise of a celebration, teaching, and activities. The First session is on baptism, the second one is on Confirmation. The next sessions developed the four parts of the mass, the gathering Rite in which we ask God’s mercy, the sacrament of reconciliation is also studied at this time, the Liturgy of the Word, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Dismissal- studying the Corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Each sacrament takes one month to study it in full. The parents accompany their children at the cathedral and form groups to do activities related to the subject. The parents are the first teachers of their children.
This program is given every Wednesday of the year. Many adults come for Baptism while others of different faith take these sessions, to make a profession of faith in the Catholic Church, while others come to complete their sacraments of Initiation, others come for enrichment. During the session, the RCIA team gets to show videos to emphasize the given lesson, then there is interaction that takes place between the participants and leaders, such as discussions and questions are asked.
Sister Zelie invites Adult volunteers to come and learn how to become leaders to lead children for Sunday liturgies. During the Sunday mass children who are 4 to 10 years old are with their families when the mass begins and then they are dismissed before the Readings start in the church. The children go to a different area during mass with volunteer leaders who will explain what the Readings of the mass. After the priest’s homily, the children come back in the church to join their families for the Eucharistic part of the mass. To further involve the children during the mass, there is a special container in front of the altar for the children to put their own loves offerings; this is very meaningful for them. It reminds them that they are part of the church.