Faith Formation Groups

Baptismal Preparation Team

The Baptismal Preparation Team has been meeting with parents and godparents of children who are about to be baptised in our Parish for many years. As a faith formation group, this formation group stresses the importance of the commitment of parents and godparents and their need to prepare and plan for the sacrament of Baptism. The parents arrange the date of the Baptism and preparation meeting with the Parish Office. The Baptismal Preparation Team meets once a month with families, who are often new to the area or the Parish. The meeting is held in a welcoming, friendly and informative manner in the Parish Centre. They discuss the signs, symbols and meaning of the Sacrament of Initiation; watch a video explaining the symbols, rites and procedures; and examine the Baptismal ceremony as celebrated at St Bernadette’s Church.  It is a great privilege for the team of parishioners to assist the Parish Priest in welcoming children into our faith community at St Bernadette’s. 


RCIA

The RCIA, or Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, has been operating in the Parish for a number of years. It provides an opportunity for people wanting to join our faith community, or those wishing to renew or deepen their faith understanding.  The process begins around August each year and involves fortnightly meetings until the culmination at the Easter Vigil, where the Sacraments of Initiation are celebrated.  The journey of faith is not a lonely one; those wishing to join the RCIA are supported by a team of parishioners at each meeting and by every other member of the Parish family with prayer, support and words of encouragement.  The process that the RCIA takes is from the early Church, when the Apostles were commissioned by Christ to go and spread the Good News.  It is one aspect of the present-day Church where the whole parish community is encouraged to participate.


Men's Group

The Men’s Group is a group of Christian men getting together and striving to grow spiritually, through a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith and its witness to others.  Each month, commencing in March, there is a topical low-key discussion and a DVD presentation, followed by an opportunity to socialise over a cuppa.  Each year there is a social dinner at the end of the year and a half-yearly outing, e.g. ten-pin bowling or putt putt.  They meet monthly on a Sunday afternoon from 4.00pm to 5.30pm at the Parish Centre meeting room.  

 

Children’s Liturgy

Children’s liturgy is celebrated for children attending Saturday Vigil Mass at 6.00pm and Sunday 10.00am mass during the school term. The children who attend Children’s Liturgy complete a specially designed programme that teaches them the word of God, relevant to their level of understanding. At the beginning of mass the children are led by the children’s liturgy leaders from the church to the parish hall nearby. They complete their activities and return just before the Presentation of the Gifts (Offertory of the Mass) to bring up the gifts. Participation by the children in the children’s liturgy is entirely voluntary.


Sacramental Team

The “Parish-based Family-Centered” type of Sacramental process evolved in the Parish in 1996. The Church has recognised that parents have the primary responsibility for helping their children grow in Faith. The Sacramental process is ongoing between the Parent, the Child and the Parish community.  Baptised children from our Parish who are in Year 3 or older, are invited to be fully initiated into the community by receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation.  Each Sacrament is celebrated separately so that the children understand and participate fully. The Parish Sacramental Team assists parents in fulfilling their role, by organising a faith formation process. During this time families come together in small groups where they exchange ideas and share their faith with the children and other families. The groups meet during the school term, usually for about 5 hours over a number of weeks after school for each Sacrament. The Parish community supports these children on their Sacramental journey by praying for them during their initiation. 


SRE Teachers

St Bernadette's Special Religious Education teachers (SRE’s were previously called catechists) and helpers answer Jesus' invitation to "Spread the Good News" to almost 400 children, who attend Catholic SRE classes in the four Public Primary Schools within our parish. The Parish has about 25 Special Religious Education teachers and helpers, teaching twenty one classes per week during each school term, including one class for special-needs children. All SRE’s share their gifts and talents in the classroom and are required to complete a Training Course and also attend In-service Days held during the year to update information and skills. To refresh their Faith Development, they are also invited to attend Reflection Days. All of these are provided by CCD Parramatta Diocese, usually in one of the seven parishes in the Deanery so that they are more accessible. If anyone would like to share their faith with children in the Catholic SRE classes and join a dedicated and supportive group, they are encouraged to contact the Parish Office.  

 

Faith Reflection Days

The Parish conducts a series of faith formation programs.  One program is the National e-Conference developed by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Commission for Mission and Faith Formation from the Broken Bay Institute.  The National e-Conference is a live webcast presentation of different aspects from scripture and for the Catholic faith.   The Parish re-plays this conference on a large screen in the parish hall on a chosen Saturday and takes advantage of these informative and inspiring presentations.  Other resources are also used for faith reflection days.  The parishioners have the opportunity to interact among themselves in their own environment and at their own pace.  After the audio visual presentation those in attendance break up into small discussion groups for reflection and sharing.  Parishioners bring along a plate of food to share for morning tea and their own lunch.  Beverages are provided. 

Parish Retreat

Once a year, a parish retreat is organised away from the parish at a selected conference centre on a chosen Saturday from 10am to 4pm.  Members of religious orders are invited to conduct the retreat as part of adult faith education for parishioners.  


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