A mountain of school bags adorned the front altar during the Catechetical Sunday Mass at Saint-Claude Parish in Laval. These backpacks signaled the return to regular activities for students. It is back-to-school – and back-to-parish – season!
Saint-Claude Church was quite full on Catechetical Sunday, September 22, for the pastoral launch of the parish communities of Saint-Claude and Bon-Pasteur Churches. During the celebration presided by Father Vincent Bélanger, the parish pastor, the children involved in the catechism this year all brought upfront their small gear like good students. It was a moving and significant gesture. What more could we ask for this back-to-school-and-parish except the Lord’s Blessing!
As Nicole Crevier, pastoral agent of both parishes pointed out, the launch does not only mark the beginning of the catechism, but also of all activities related to the pastoral ministry, thus to the whole parish life. It entails the involvement of several faithful and of a pastoral team. Many tasks await and mutual support is essential: “Building a team is important,” Nicole Crevier says. “It requires at least two people!” says Mireille Beauchemin, her joyful collaborator and pastoral agent for many years.
Awakened by the Word
On September 22, all churches in Quebec celebrated Catechetical Sunday under the theme “Awakened by the Word!” All are invited, at bishop’s appeal, to let themselves be challenged by the Word of God all year long, looking at how it speaks to us today.
The Gospel reading on that Sunday (Luke 16:1-13) presented us with an opportunity to be awakened: “Children, do you prefer meeting people of money?” In his homily aimed especially at the children present, Pierre Desroches, parish vicar at Saint-Claude and Bon-Pasteur, recalled the importance of real goods, those from the Kingdom of God: “For Him, [Christ], it is more precious to build bonds than getting wealthy and lacking relationships.” Something for the little ones – and the more mature – to ponder.
This parish, like any other ones, enables everyone to get involved according to their availability and gifts. There are many tasks to accomplish. For pastoral agent Nicole Crevier, the need is to get parents involved, not as catechists, but in the transmission of faith when we speak of “Jesus in the house”. She also stresses the importance of having environments adapted to catechism and the youth, in other words, to have nice rooms.
Mireille Beauchemin, pastoral collaborator, underlines the importance of “building bridges instead of walls.” A beautiful call for everyone involved in the life of the parish.
The celebration ended with the blessing of the school backpacks and of the children gathered near the altar. Between the little ones prattle and the joyful singing of the choir (of 24 members!), cheerfulness was palpable and people were ready to take the back-to-parish plunge!
A hot-dog dinner offered by the church followed, to which everyone was invited, to end on a happy note.