ARCHDIOCESE OF MELBOURNE REPORT:
By Jeannette De Vincentiis|
St Patrick's, Lilydale
MEMBERS of St Patrick’s parish in Lilydale are proud to share news of a new initiative that is proving to be very successful among its participants.
Back in 2009, Judi Todd (then member of the Parish Advisory Team) recognised the need to welcome new senior parishioners into the parish community, as well as extending friendship and pastoral care among current parishioners.
Parish Priest Fr Julian Langridge was very supportive and consequently parishioners were invited to a meeting where the idea to form small groups of people who would meet socially on a regular basis, was discussed. And so the “50’s+ social groups” were born.
Neighbouring St Mary’s parish in Mt Evelyn had introduced ‘Family Groups’ some years ago, so one of their parishioners was invited to share his experiences of these groups.
The response of those who attended this gathering was very positive and four groups were subsequently formed, each with a leader and about 10 – 17 members.
Since the initial meeting, the groups have organized their own program of events and have met once (sometimes twice) a month enjoying a range of outings and gatherings including home BBQs, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and games afternoons/nights hosted at the homes of group members, trips to the city, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Parliament, museums, theatres, fruit farms, weekend markets, open garden displays and even a cruise to Williamstown.
In addition, all of the groups have met together after Mass on a Sunday for a mid-winter lunch and chat.
Last December the groups combined for a pre-Christmas dinner which was held in the Parish Community Centre. Fr Julian joined the members and listened to the sharing of experiences and ideas.
Members reported many positive outcomes from the initiative including new friendships, care, love and generosity which have touched the lives of all involved.
Photo: Group member Judy Hacking celebrating her 70th Birthday and holding a copy of St Patrick’s parish history ‘Vine & Branches’.