Union: NL – Mary Ryan’s Pastoral Ministry

submitted by Mary Ryan, PBVM

Day to day life in parish ministry can bring a lot of variety, both challenging and gratifying, especially in these Covid times. I am always happy to serve, and sometimes in ways that are quite unplanned or simply spontaneous, and unpredictable. In Nano’s words, “If I could be of service… I would gladly do all in my power.”

Catechists meeting

In our parish here in the small community of Bishop Falls, I primarily assist with the our Catechists in coordinating the religious education program grades 1 – 8, including sacramental preparation.  I am also involved in the parish RCIA program (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults). Serving in the parish is truly a gift. The gifts go both ways, as with all our ministries.

The needs are very local and at the same time, the focus can become both ecumenical and global. That was the case with a recent World Day of Prayer celebration when a Salvation Army major was our guest speaker and the concentration was on the women of Zimbabwe with the theme, “Rise, take up your mat and walk.” Our Zimbabwe connection as Presentation Sisters is very strong. We have been “twinning” with our sisters in Zimbabwe for more than 20 years and savor the connection.

During last fall our local Knights of Columbus members invited a group from the community to an appreciation luncheon to honor their community involvement. I was readily and happily counted among them along with the other catechists.  In small communities like ours, parish and community are so often synonymous.

Choir practice

This past Christmas, with Covid preventing our carol sing-along, we instead had a memory tree. I was again happy to participate with the parish. The tree was decorated by our parish secretary with very touching white paper dove ornaments she had made bearing the names of loved ones. Families in turn made a monetary donation to the parish which continues to be used to support parish happenings and address parish needs throughout the year.

Where I minister is nearly a four-hour drive from our motherhouse in St. John’s. As weather and now, Covid allow, I also look forward to our gatherings with all of our sisters from around the province during the year ahead.