The Church’s Ministries:
Dear Parishioners of Visitation Catholic Church:
The following enumerate the active ministries at the Church of the Visitation. Each ministry shares with you their mission statement, goals and objectives, activity and function.
To sustain these ministries, we need everyone’s help. Living in a fast-paced society with free time as a precious commodity, we all need to work together and exercise our baptismal call to look beyond our own personal situations to the larger church community. Sharing our time, talent and treasures as we are able is what makes good stewardship.
As you read through these ministries, you will get a good idea of who we are and what we do at the Church of the Visitation. Ministry Contacts can be obtained through the Church Office.
LITURGY / WORSHIP
This ministry supports, plans, and enacts all the production elements critical to the priest in celebrating the Eucharist (the Mass). All liturgical participants should radiate a sense of purpose as we prepare to worship together. The various functions within this vast ministry are responsible for providing and performing as: sacristans, greeters, ushers, lectors of the Word, community leaders, lay Eucharistic ministers, choir/musicians, altar servers, and art and environment. The ministry also decorates the worship space and coordinates the liturgical requirements with the pastor throughout the year.
FAITH FORMATION (Children/Youth/Adults)
Children / Youth
The Faith Formation program at COV will teach every child at the appropriate age levels the “four pillars of the CCC” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). This will include what Catholics believe, worship, live, and pray. Many opportunities are provided to the children to participate in various parish and /or community activities. The purpose is to always demonstrate that what is learned in the classroom should be applied to their everyday lives.
The Faith Formation classes take place Sunday morning following Mass and serve pre-K through 12th grade. In second grade children are prepared for the Sacrament of Reconciliation followed by First Eucharist. In high school the youth take part in a two year preparation for Confirmation. Our catechists are encouraged to participate in continuous education to further their efforts infaith formation.
This ministry aims at fostering the faith development of adults as they strive to grow in their relationship with Christ. There are two main aspects of this ministry:
Adult Ed / Adult Faith Formation – This ministry offers programs that provide opportunities for discussion and or instruction about the various facets of Catholic belief.
R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) – This ministry seeks first to inform inquirers about the Roman Catholic Faith, and secondly it provides a process for preparing adults for entry into the Roman Catholic Church.
This ministry assists the pastor in planning and celebrating Baptism, Weddings, and Funerals. It involves meeting with families, completing administrative detail, and supervising the conduct of the Sacramental Celebration. See also more detail by clicking the Sacraments link on the Home page.
Administered by the office staff, this program provides financial support to county residents in need of food, housing, utility, and miscellaneous assistance. A diocesan grant provides partial funding for the program. Parishioner donations provide the remainder.
The youth group consists of ninth through twelfth grade students who take part in various social, educational and service activities coordinated with their religious education classes. Different forms of Catholic lifestyles and various traditions of worship within the church are explored by visits to such places as monasteries; attending different types of services at the cathedral, experiencing the African-American tradition, and the Eastern Rite traditions are several ways students broaden their knowledge of a Universal Church. Ecumenism is fostered through visits to joint ecumenical celebrations, other Christian churches, synagogues, and mosques so that the students may learn the elements common to religion and appreciate other traditions through direct interaction with them.
Service opportunities may include volunteering at a soup kitchen, attending a week-long work camp, organizing a holiday gift collection, or helping the elderly in their own community. Social events include Family Youth Night and Senior Night.
This ministry promotes the spirit of community with the parish and fosters a hospitable and welcoming atmosphere to all members and guests of our church. Its purpose is to support and reach out to those celebrating and to those experiencing difficult times.
There are a variety of events that this ministry sponsors:
*Social Sundays (second Sunday of the month)
*Parish Picnic (September)
*Celebrations for Baptisms, First Communion, First Reconciliation, and Confirmation
*Luncheon/reception for the family and guests after a funeral
*Lenten Soup Suppers
*Parish Christmas Party
The focus of this ministry is to provide a warm friendly welcome to our new parishioners. We invite all new members to learn more about our faith community and to participate in one of the ministries listed in this booklet.
PASTORAL CARE OF THE SICK AND HOMEBOUND
The focus of this ministry is to bring the presence of Christ and the community of the Church of the Visitation to the sick, homebound, dying and bereaved of the parish and their families. In doing this service we provide the comfort and spiritual support to those who find themselves in a weakened condition, be it physical, mental or spiritual.
We offer the Eucharist weekly and/or monthly to those unable to get to Mass. In addition to praying for and with the sick and their families, we help the pastor stay informed of the ministerial needs of parishioners, assist the pastor with funeral preparations in the event of a death, and offer the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick when indicated.
Training for this ministry is essential; a strong support group is in place for the ministers who carry out this very important mission of Jesus Christ.
This loving ministry knits prayer shawls to demonstrate the physical support of the parish for those experiencing illness or difficulty and for celebrating new life. It meets at the church every first and third Monday (10 a.m.) of each month, weather permitting. Help is provided for those wanting to learn to knit.
On the third Wednesday of each month, the Visitation Singers sing at Dockside Nursing Home, Locust Hill and Riverside Convalescent Center, Saluda. We bring any available guitarists and singers to entertain the residents, singing songs they know-hymns, light songs, and songs for the season. We meet first at 9:30 a.m. for short rehearsal at the Church of the Visitation, then sing at Dockside from 10:30 – 11:00a.m. and quickly head to Riverside Convalescent Center from 11:15 – 11:45 a.m.. We would love to have you join us. We welcome all singers.
MINISTRY OF CHURCH FACILITY AND CHURCH GROUNDS
This ministry has three aspects: the care and maintenance of the church building, interior design, and the upkeep and beautification of the grounds of church property. As good stewards we need to make sure that our parish home and its grounds are kept maintained and in good working order.
This volunteer group assists in the maintenance and upkeep of the physical church plant. It includes minor church repairs within the church as needed.
This group is responsible for the interior design of the church. It determines the interior colors, the placement of furniture and artifacts, and the appropriateness of such material. It ensures the church interior is set up in accordance with liturgical principles and standards.
This group assists in the landscaping and grounds beautification. It includes weeding, watering, pruning and planting.
The collection counters are parishioners who count and deposit the weekly offertory and special collections after Mass. Parishioners work in pairs and are assigned as counters about once a month.
JUSTICE and PEACE
The purpose of this vast ministry is to act in serving human needs, giving issues a human face, reflecting on social causes and principles of faith, and transforming social structures. This ministry is made up of variety of subcommittees. They are as follows:
CRYER CENTER: Hands Across Middlesex/Food Pantry/ Habitat for Humanity/Clothing Closet/Backpack Buddies/Mobile Food Pantry Bank/HUB
Our parish works very closely with this county/wide organization. Many needy citizens who “fall through the cracks” by not being eligible for government help are served by this organization. Persons who randomly come to the church seeking assistance are directed to the appropriate community services. Parishioners may leave food/hygiene sundries in the basket at the back of the church meeting the Pantry’s needs as published in the Sunday Bulletin.
Yard Sale Ministry
The church maintains a trailer onsite for contributions to the yard sale in conjunction with the Cryer Center. Arrangements can be made, with the coordinator, for pickup of large items such as furniture. The Cryer Center should be notified that the items are being donated from the Church of the Visitation and through prior arrangements the items will be marked with a tag (COV). All proceeds raised will be split with the Church of the Visitation.
An annual program of providing Christmas gifts to children of the incarcerated enrolled in education/rehabilitation programs generates parish participation.
Respect for Life
Respect for Life is concerned with issues that demean human dignity, and threaten human rights such as capital punishment, euthanasia, and abortion.
St. Noa’s School, Kitangira Village, Uganda
In November 2017 the parish changed its outreach to build and support St. Noa’s School in Kitangira Village in southern Uganda, the home village of our priest Rev. Gerry Kaggwa. Through a joint effort between our sister church Francis de Sales funding was raised to build St. Noa’s school with a modern kitchen and bathroom facilities. By 2020 parishioners had also raised about $60,000 to assist with operational expenses. They worked to sponsor children, provide playgrounds and security, and assure the teachers of living quarters.