There are a wide range of groups, societies and teams that operate within the Catholic Parish of Forster Tuncurry, including some that are part of other larger national and international associations. The Parish prides itself on being able to offer a range of possible avenues for continuing to grow in the spiritual life, be of service to the wider Church and community, and be part of the evangelising mission of the Christian community.
More information for each particular group or ministry can be obtained by clicking on one of the links below.
For further information or to discuss volunteer opportunities please contact the Parish Office via the Contact Us page.
Baptism Preparation & GodStart
Prior to celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism with your child, parents are invited to attend a Baptism Preparation Meeting. These meetings are scheduled monthly in the Parish meeting room and bookings are essential. More information on celebrating the Rite of Baptism for Children can be found on the Baptism page.
The Baptism Team uses the GodStart program to maintain contact with the newly baptised. The GodStart program is just what its name implies – getting children off to a good start with God, making God important in their lives beginning with their first birthday, right through to the fourth and beyond. The mammoth job of coordinating the GodStart program in the Parish is carried out by Carolyn Olliffe.
Christian Meditation Group
The Forster Tuncurry Christian Meditation Group meets on Tuesday mornings at 9.30am in the Holy Name Church.
The Hallidays Point Christian Meditation Group meets on Wednesday mornings at 10am in the Craft Room at Hallidays Shores Retirement Village. 90 High St Hallidays Point.
A very old definition of prayer is “the raising of the heart and mind to God”. We all know what raising the mind is – simply talking to (or at) God – asking Him for what we need or want. In Christian meditation, we raise our hearts to God. We join into God, simply rest in Him. Dom John Main says that in meditation we don’t just pray – we are prayer itself.
Christian meditation goes back to apostolic times but is now becoming more popular world wide through the World community of Christian Meditation and is widely practiced in most countries throughout the world.
Communion to the Sick & Housebound
Some members of the worshiping community are unable to join us in our celebration of the Sunday Eucharist due to illness or disability. In order to maintain their connection with the Church community, Communion is taken from our Eucharistic celebrations to these people and distributed to them via a simple ceremony of prayer and Gospel reading.
This ministry is important, not just because of strengthening the Church by bringing the Lord to them, but also by uniting them to the worshipping community by their “receiving from the one bread.”
A vital part of this ministry is the visitation of the sick and housebound, many of whom live alone and whose families live far away.
Each week the Mass collections must be counted and prepared for banking. Six teams of nimble-fingered counters accomplish this task on a rotational basis each week, coordinated by Ted Doherty.
Cursillo is a movement from the Church that focuses on helping each person to discover themselves, their relationship with Christ and with others. Cursillo, a short course on the Catholic concept of Christian living which operates in three stages, Precursillo, Cursillo Three Day Weekend and Postcursillo. The three day live-in experience focuses on a series of talks, each followed by discussion. The aim of the Cursillo weekend is to provide opportunity for men and women, both lay and religious, to reflect on what is fundamental in Christian living. A short retreat prepares participants for intensive study about living a life of grace and spreading it in one’s own environment. Heightened awareness, resulting from the weekend, is nurtured in the Postcursillo where the people are supported by regular fellowship in small groups.
Cursillo is active in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and Cursillo weekends are usually held once a year. Other opportunities exist for people to find out more about the Cursillo experience by attending a Reflection Day, a day for shared prayer, talks and discussion and the celebration of Mass together. Maintaining friendships are a big part of Cursillo, so as well as supporting each other in our faith there will time for shared meals and social interaction.
Monthly gatherings for all Cursillistas are held on the last Friday of the month at 7:30pm. The venue used most regularly is a meeting room at the back of Sacred Heart Cathedral at Hamilton. At times these gatherings are held in other parts of the Diocese, including Forster, Raymond Terrace, East Maitland and Kotara.
The Family Group meets once per month with the year’s calendar set at the December Christmas Party. A small donation of $10 is collected from each member per year to assist with the purchase of get well cards, sympathy cards, chocolates for gifts etc.
Members visit parishioners in the hospital and partake in social activities such as breakfast, afternoon teas, lunches, cards & casserole night and soup and damper day.
The power of flowers in our church shows our love of God by beautifying his house. The task is simple, if you can put flowers in a vase at home, then you qualify for the job.
At the moment – because we only have five dedicated volunteers, the job comes around approximately once per month. More volunteers equates to more variety in displays which in turns equates to less often your time will come around on the roster. We need people power – WE NEED YOU!
Initially the Friendship Group was formed for those single people who had lost a partner or those who never married, aged 50 and over to create an opportunity to meet over a meal. The group has been sharing enjoyable lunches and meals for 17 years. Over the years the group has embraced couples who wished to join as well as friends from other faith communities.
At present the group meets every three weeks, always on Tuesdays. Lunches are enjoyed in the beautiful Great Lakes area as well as neighbouring towns. Members car pool for venues out of town and they also arrange pick-ups for those who are unable to drive.
Over the years there has been many bus trips to various destinations, cruises on the Manning and Hastings Rivers, the lake system around Forster, Tuncurry and the Wallamba River. ‘Special’ celebrations are also celebrated for the Group’s birthday as well as Christmas. Birthday cards are also sent to members.
The Group offers friendship to all those wishing to join. New members are most welcome.
The Funeral Ministry Team was formed to assist the Parish Priest in meeting with the family members of the deceased to discuss and prepare the Funeral Rites. Our Funeral Ministry members are empathetic people who are sensitive to the grief a family experiences after the loss of a family member. Meeting with a compassionate team to work through the details of the Funeral Mass or Service can be a comforting experience for the family during a difficult time. Funeral Ministry members might also conduct funeral services in the absence of the priest when approved. Meet the team.
Our merry band of Gardeners do a wonderful job of keeping our grounds in pristine condition. Once a month they gather to mow and garden and, once complete, to share morning tea together. Extra volunteers are always welcome to assist this team in this most important work of garden maintenance.
Intercessory Prayer Group
The Forster Tuncurry Intercessory Prayer Group is simply a group of parishioners who pray for people on a list distributed to them generally on a monthly basis privately in our own homes. There are no meetings so it is suitable for everyone, even house-bound people who used to be called “prayer widows”. This is a very ancient custom in the Church. The Intercessory Prayer Group was established in 2012.
menALIVE Journaling Group
After a menALIVE retreat in the Parish in March 2010, a journalist group was formed. The purpose of the group is to have a permanent relationship with Jesus and to build strong relationships with others.
The group meets after 9am Mass every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.
The group meets for an hour to pray and journal together. They use the SOAP method, read the readings of the day then spend 20 minutes praying and reading individually, 20 minutes writing in your journal and 20 minutes sharing your thoughts and reflections. The emphasis is on what the Scripture is saying to ME, here and now, not just an intellectual reflection on the meaning of the particular Scripture.
The point of contact for these groups is Mick Amato.
Mini Vinnies is the St Vincent de Paul Conference within Holy Name Primary School. It is made up of children from years 5 and 6 and meets weekly on Mondays during the lunch break.
The meeting opens with prayer and a spiritual reflection. The Conference learns about Frederic Ozanam and his work with the poor and reads about social justice issues, and is always keen to raise funds for distribution to the needy.
The Novena Group was formed in 1981 by the then Parish Priest, Fr Tony Brady, and has functioned continuously ever since. A Novena to Our Mother of Perpetual Help is held each Wednesday at 11:15am in the Forster Church, concluding at 12 noon, and is followed by a light luncheon.
The Novena is available to all parishioners and visitors.
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
RCIA is open to anyone. They come through friends or family, some just knock on the Presbytery door, some have had experience of a Catholic service and have been caught up in the mystery of faith and want to explore more. Few come with the firm intention of becoming a Catholic, they come initially to have a look, and then decide whether or not to stay. They are seeking a personal relationship with Christ, a sense of belonging, of community; a coherence of family life.
It is important that new candidates receive support from the community as part of this preparation time. Meeting members of the Parish begins when they attend weekly meetings with the RCIA team. Enquirers have the chance to ask questions, engage in talks and discussions and be slowly introduced to Parish life. It is essential that they have a sponsor from the Parish to share this new faith experience with. A sponsor is someone who is prayerful, listens well and can share their own faith.
More information on the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults can be found on our Becoming Catholic page.
The team is always ready to organise for the RCIA to run in our Parish but this is more than a team effort – it is a Parish responsibility. Most of all we need a welcoming Parish, alive with faith and on the lookout for people who may seek to join.
The point of contact for RCIA is Anne Moloney.
Sacramental Preparation Team
Preparation for the Sacraments of Initiations is offered by the Parish for all children, using the family based program developed by the Diocese of Broken Bay. Parents are the first faith educators of their children and most particularly model this through the witness of their lives. Parent involvement in sacramental preparation is crucial in shaping the values and attitudes of each child.
Preparation for each sacrament of initiation involves four after school sessions for candidates and parents who meet in home groups. More information about the Sacramental Preparation program can be found on the Sacramental Preparation page.
The small team of Sacristans help prepare the church for the Sunday and weekday celebrations of Mass. Additionally, they assist in the preparation of the church for the celebrations of funerals in the Parish.
Seasons for Growth
“Seasons” is a program that helps children cope with loss and grief in their lives. It is eight weeks in duration beginning with the season of Autumn and running through the four seasons.
Autumn recognises the changes that happen around us as the natural progression in the cycle of life. The chill of Winter helps us to go deeper into the sad feelings we have when we have lost a loved one or experienced a change in our family/personal life. Spring brings new hope that the changes need not be negative to our lives and may bring new opportunities. Finally, Summer brings warmth and allows us to move on with our new life situation.
Each small group of participants is led by a trained adult “companion” who travels the journey along side the children.
Further information can be found through the Diocese of Maitland Newcastle website
The Secular Franciscans meet at Mass on the fourth Sunday of the month, followed by a cup of tea. The meeting follows with reflections on the spirituality of the St Francis and St Clare and their lives with their spirituality.
Members do not have set jobs to do but they choose ways to do things with others to reflect Christ and the joy and peace of St Francis. Anyone is welcome to join.
The point of contact for the local Fraternity is Susan.
Social Justice Group
Established as a result of the Parish Pastoral Plan in November 2013, this group is currently in formation.
Check back soon for more information.
Special Religious Education (SRE)
Special Religious Education (SRE) is a vital part of the process of evangelisation to which we all are committed through baptism. Evangelisation is really about communicating the reality of God’s presence in creation, the person of Jesus Christ, in the Church and each individual.
The faith development of children in the local public schools has been a central ministry within the life of the Catholic Parish of Forster Tuncurry Catholic for over 30 years. Catechists and SRE teachers have always supported parents and caregivers as they educate their children in faith. Faith development of children is vital to the well-being of young individuals as well as the community itself. Communication channels to families are maintained regarding the Sacramental Preparation program and any upcoming Parish events. The Parish continues to support the resourcing of the ministry.
Further information can be found on our Special Religious Education Page
St Vincent de Paul Society
The Society is a charitable organisation, whose members make person to person contact with local people who sometimes find themselves in various troublesome situations.
They do this by initially visiting people in their own homes to listen and learn about the problems they face. Sharing the difficulties in this way allows members to place the resources of the Society at their disposal, and working together, attempt to over come them.
Making this combined effort helps those with problems recover the dignity of a self sufficient life, free from poverty.
Because the members of the Society appreciate that Christ identified himself with the poor, “whatever you did to the least of these, my brethren, you did to me”, it also helps to increase the spirituality of both the giver and receiver.