|Cells System in St Joseph's Church
St. Joseph's Kingswood is, numerically, one of the smallest parishes in Parramatta Diocese – the average attendance at weekend Masses is only about 360. But there are estimated 9,000 “Catholics” living within the parish boundaries, and there are over 400 children in our local Catholic school…
In the 5 state schools in the parish, 500 children claim to be “Catholic” The is an enormous work of evangelization to be done!
In 2003 the Parish Councils asked the questions
We identified many parishes where the majority of people simply want to “hear” Mass and “receive Sacraments” – what we sometimes call the “Mass/Sacraments Shop”
This is not the model of Church which our Parish Council wanted, but it is still difficult to convince the majority in St. Joseph’s otherwise.
It has been difficult to “sell” the new model, a model which sets out to get everyone into an effective disciple – relationship with each other.
The Cells are designed to be the faith community’s primary involvement. Many come to St. Joseph’s and are happy to remain anonymous or “friendly with a chosen few.”
The Cells endeavour to draw all church members into primary relations with as many as possible, not just a “chosen few”.
The Cells are “life reflection groups” ; they “create a strong sense of family” in the parish ; they create a “culture change” ; they embrace ALL from “whatever ethnic background” ; they welcome the “fragile and abandoned”. In short they try to create a parish of disciples (not members) who regard each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord.
The Cells are for EVANGELIZATION; so each Cell is responsible for a specific ministry in the parish… Infant Baptism, Children’s Sacraments, the RCIA, the RCIC, Care and Concern and Bereavement, SREs. Also, each Cell member tries to evangelize others by welcoming them to the Cells. When a Cell reaches 16, it multiplies.
The Cells are not elitist or exclusive…on the contrary ALL are welcome..