Ministry of the Eucharist
And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus..... (Col 3:17a) Ministers of the Eucharist are unique people who are called to serve in their community. All Ministers of the Eucharist have a personal relationship with God. They reflect on their Ministry and have a great deal of respect for their role in the Church. They recognize that not only are they giving the body and blood of Christ but they are also strong witnesses of the love of Christ throughout their daily lives. Eucharistic Ministers are committed to being part of a group that serves at Mass. Each Mass has its own group of Eucharistic Ministers that come together to give the body and blood of Christ to our faith community. St. Alfred’s Church is always looking for new people who feel God’s calling to serve as a Eucharistic Minister. If you are interested in becoming a Minister of the Eucharist, please contact the Pastor and or parish office.
Ministry of the Word/Lectors
Many liturgical specific roles are taken by members of the community after suitable training. The reading of the Word is an integral part of the sacramental celebration. Christ is present in the readings from Scripture proclaimed at Mass. When the Scripture is proclaimed at Mass it is God who speaks to us through those words. They command the attention of the congregation –God speaks to His people through the Lector. Lectors should have a genuine love of Scripture and belief in the truth found in the Word. Preparation includes reading the text ahead of time and meditating with it. At St. Alfred’s there are 60 Lectors who proclaim the Scripture at daily and Sunday Masses and at various liturgical celebrations. Our parish provides that the Scripture is read in Italian at the 9 am Sunday Mass, in English at 6pm Saturday, 7:45 am, 10:30 am and 12:00 Noon Sunday Masses, and in Spanish on Saturday evening at 7:30pm.
We have a large group of young parishioners who serve with much dedication and enthusiasm. Our practice is to encourage the boys and girls to serve on the altar once they have received their First Communion. At St. Alfred we have a group of altar servers available to assist with the Sunday Masses, various liturgical celebrations, weddings and special celebrations. During the year an “Altar Servers’ Appreciation Day is planned to extend our thanks for their commitment. We try to offer training sessions periodically throughout the year to accommodate our new group of interested children.
Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults
R.C.I.A. ~ R.C.I.C. The journey of faith belongs to all of us and RCIA/RCIC helps us to welcome all enquirers into our life-long pilgrimage to the Father. The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is a journey that is a life-long search for our eternal home, with God. We believe all people, even those without religion are travellers engaged in this life-long journey. Some travellers may even be unaware of the fact that they are searching for such a lofty destination. RCIA is a Parish activity of welcoming other enquirers into our parish journey. Some enquirers are already Christian and are searching within a different Christian tradition. Others are believers in God but without religious affiliation. While still others belong to non-Christian religions. The point is that we parishioners at St. Alfred's are simply co-travellers, on the road of life, attempting to help one another as well as all the outsiders who choose to travel with us. Welcoming RCIA inquirers into our Parish journey involves three phases. The first phase is to explore the experience of daily life and to ask questions about the signs of God's Presence in the world. All of us, not just enquirers seek to discern the signposts of God's presence on the journey. Sponsors, catechists, facilitators and priests simply share their own questions in search of the direction God intends for us. The second phase is to look to the Scriptures and listen to the Word of God which explains how God reveals God's very Presence and Power in the world. The final phase is to explore the sacred signs which Christ has left us to reveal God's love and God's plan for us. At this point, the entire community shares with the RCIA Candidates its own journey by means of the Sunday Liturgies, particularly during Lent. If by Easter, the RCIA Candidates are convinced that God is calling them to membership in the Catholic Church, they will receive the Sacraments of Initiation and full membership in the Church. This happens at the Easter Vigil. The whole community will celebrate with them God's blessings on our Parish.
Children’s Liturgy is for children from kindergarten through grade 4. It is held throughout the year during the 11:30 a.m. Mass not during the summer or Christmas or New Year’s. At the beginning of Mass the Priest or Deacon invites the children to the front of sanctuary and the Priest or Deacon gives them a blessing, the liturgy leaders and assistants take the children to the designated area. The main goal of the Children Liturgy is to help our children get closer to God. We read and explain the gospel in language that they can easily understand. The children then return to Mass at the Offertory time to bring the gifts to the altar. Our experience has shown that children want be at church and encourage their parents to attend mass. Please bring your children to church and let them participate in the liturgy prepared especially for them. Registration is not required. Hope to see you on Sunday!
St. Alfred Ushering was established during the mid 1940's with the building of the original church. Ushers are responsible for assisting the priest at each Mass, greeting parishioners at the entrances, finding seats, assisting with collections and handing out bulletins. Each Mass has a captain who appoints the ushers to their position at mass and overseas their ushering duties. Ushers are expected to notify a team member if unable to attend mass on a particular Sunday. Ushers are on call by the pastor to serve for any special church event.
Adult Funeral Servers
(Established in 2004) “If one member suffers in the body of Christ which is the Church, all the members suffer with that member.” (1Corinthians 12:26) For this reason we who are baptized into Christ and nourished at the same table of the Lord are responsible for one another. When a member of Christ’s Body dies, we, the faithful, are called to offer consolation to those who have suffered the loss of one whom they love. This ministry is part of the pastoral care by the community to those who have lost a loved one. Adult parishioners act as altar servers at the Funeral Mass of a fellow-parishioner. They accompany the priest as he greets the family and receives the body in the entrance procession and assists the priest during the Mass. We need about 5 servers in order to assist at the Funeral Mass.
Those involved in the music ministry at St. Alfred have a wonderful time sharing their gifts and praising God. We are privileged to have both an English and an Italian choir. Rehearsals are held weekly for each group. It is hoped that in the future we will benefit from the talents of others in our parish family who will come forward in our choir or as cantors to further expand our music ministry. Our family is large and we know that there are many talented people in our midst who will find involvement in the music ministry to be a very rewarding and spiritually satisfying experience.
The loss of a family member and someone loved is one of the most devastating experiences that we can encounter. It is a time of crisis when the support of others is required to help us through the confusion and difficult times. The purpose of a Parish Bereavement Ministry is to assist the Pastor, the clergy, the bereaved family, and the office staff at the time of death. At St. Alfred we have a team of 16 bereavement ministers who rotate in helping the grieving family prepare the funeral Liturgy, and the steps that will be followed leading up to the funeral Mass. ~ The selection of readings ~ The selection of appropriate hymns ~ Participation of the family members, relatives or close friends ~ Reception ~ Special needs.
Catechesis for Public/Private Schools
There are children within our parish community who are enrolled in the public or private school systems or are home-schooled. Catechesis is provided for the Grade 2 students to prepare them for the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, and also for the Grade 8 students to prepare them for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Our teachers are volunteers. They are people of faith who are willing to share their time and talents with the younger ones. The program runs from October to April in our Pastoral Centre for one hour during the week, usually Wednesday evening. Parents have to register their children, participate in meetings and are expected to attend mass on Sunday. Students will receive the Sacraments with the children enrolled in the Catholic School system within our parish community. For information please contact the parish office.
Communion to the Homebound
The Eucharist is the centre of our Christian Faith. It binds past - present- future into one body, the Mystical Body of Christ. As Catholics we celebrate the mystery of God’s love every Sunday, the day of Resurrection, with the celebration of the Eucharist. There are parishioners because of age, sickness or other confinement who cannot participate in community. A team of people, including the priests of St. Alfred Parish, bring the Eucharist to the homebound. By receiving the Eucharist they can celebrate with us and feel part of the fabric of the community. A number of people receive the Eucharist at home, or in a nursing home, some on a weekly basis and or once a month. If you know anyone within St. Alfred Parish who is sick/elderly/confined and who wishes to receive Holy Communion please contact the parish office.
This was started in August 1994. It is made up of a phenomenal group of dedicated, caring and compassionate Catholic Women’s League who feel that not everyone can afford to have professional caterers. They want to console our parish families in time of mourning. A minimum fee is charged to cover the cost of the food. You can ask for this service when making funeral arrangements by calling the parish office.
Hospitality Sunday was established at St Alfred during the early 1990's. Hospitality Sunday is an important social event in our parish community. The last Sunday of each month is our chance, as a large parish, to get together and enjoy each other’s company while sharing some time together. We serve coffee, tea, and juice along with doughnuts in St. Mark Room after all Sunday Masses (7:30, 9:30, 11:30). Please come and join us.
The Out of the Cold Program
The Out of the Cold Program provides meals and overnight accommodations for the needy and homeless in our Community. The program runs from November 1st to March 31st. Teams of volunteers help out in various areas such as preparation of meals, serving of meals, socialize with guests, and of course with the clean up. Each night we serve an average of 100 meals. While the host churches provide free facilities, the cost of running the program is dependent on donations as this program is self-sufficient and relies on donations to pay all expenses. And the most important point is that Volunteers do one hundred percent of the work. The Out of the Cold committee finances this vital Community Service entirely through the generosity of supporters such as yourself and the general fundraising efforts by the committees.
OUT OF THE COLD PROGRAM - St. Catharines Locations:
Sunday: Westminster United Church, 180 Queenston St. Street
Monday: Silver Spire United Church, 366 St. Paul Street
Tuesday: Roman Catholic Cathedral of St. Catherine, 67 Church Street
Wednesday: St. George’s Anglican Church, 83 Church Street
Thursday: St. Alfred Roman Catholic Church, 272 Vine Street
Friday: Knox Presbyterian Church, 53 Church Street
Saturday: Queen Street Baptist
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Saint Alfred Conference of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society operates a food bank 5 days a week providing food and grocery store vouchers. We serve several thousand clients ranging from single persons to families of up to 10 children and provide an additional 200 food baskets at Christmas. This rewarding ministry is all volunteer based and so we invite you to become a member and/or a donor. Our Mission is to live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice, and joy. Please go to our website to contact us and for more information at: https://sites.google.com/view/vincentalfred
Vacation Bible Camp
St. Alfred’s Vacation Bible Camp is a fun filled summer camp that aims to bring Gods' love and teachings to the campers. We have a staff of 15 to 17 adult and teen leaders (all are police checked) who are dedicated to help your children to know and love their faith. Children aged 5 to 12 participate in prayer, discussion, games, crafts, music and sports that reflect and reinforce each days special theme and teaching. Lunch is provided by camp and various church ministries. All meals and snacks are peanut free.