Balally Lay Fraternity of Blessed Charles de Foucauld meet on the first Tuesday of each month at 8pm, to share in the spirituality of Blessed Charles. One hour’s silent Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is followed by a scripture sharing and a review by each person of their own life and how they strive to follow and live the life of Jesus of Nazareth. For further reading on Charles De Foucauld see the following site;
The objective of the Legion of Mary is the glory of God through the holiness of the members developed by prayer and active cooperation in Mary’s and the Church’s work. Members participate in parish life through visitation of families and the sick both in their own homes and in hospital. Additionally, they perform Apostolic and Evangelisation activities.
The parish unit, called a Praesidium, holds weekly meetings at 7.30pm every Wednesday in the Parish Pastoral Centre at which prayer is intermingled with reports and discussions on spiritual topics. It provides companionship and support for members’ prayer life.
Working with the Legion of Mary is a great privilege and great challenge. Tel: Pat: 2955321 or Deirdre: 4908578
Members of the Society engage in preparing the altar and church for liturgical celebrations, regular ceremonies and special occasions. They also maintain the sacred vessels, vestments, cloths, candles, shrines, etc., thereby continuing the link to long established spiritual traditions around a sacred space. Through these activities members develop a greater awareness and knowledge of all that relates to the church, of parish needs and of scripture. They support the needs of visiting priests as and when required.
In Fr. Peter’s words; “Everyday the chalices are put on the credence table, people are invited to bring up the gifts, the appropriate vestments are set out, the intentions are written down, bread and wine are prepared, candles are lit and a thousand other details are taken care of so that we can have our daily or Sunday Mass. Altar linen has to be washed and spaces have to be maintained. And then of course .. the arcane world of the microphones has to be challenged … the dreaded ON|OFF switch has to be faced (Ambo, Altar, Chair mikes … ).
The people who do this day in day out are members of the Altar society, they meet from time to time to coordinate themselves and they are the ones who make our liturgies possible.”
The role of the Baptismal Team is to prepare parents for their child’s baptism, the occasion when their baby is publicly welcomed into the church community. This involves members in home visits as a precursor to pre-baptism meetings. Team members are also available to assist with any queries of a spiritual or practical nature that parents may have. They are present at the child’s Baptism and provide support and assistance where required. The experience of the members is that it is a joy and a privilege to be present when a baby is welcomed into our church and our community.
The Guild is comprised of teams of volunteer workers who take turns in ensuring that people who worship in Balally Church are not distracted by the presence of dust, dirt or litter. This requires regular cleaning and polishing of the church, its furniture and fittings.
Church Stewards are engaged in general stewarding, in tidying up after mass and in taking up the various collections at masses.
In Fr. Peter’s words; “There is a group of people who appear twice during the Mass and pass along some baskets hoping that we will put something into them -give something away. They are the collectors, the basket cases. This ministry, one of the hardest it must be said, is one of the oldest ministries in the Church. In the early Church people brought their own things to Mass, specifically bread and wine for the altar and foodstuffs to support other members of the community. As things developed it became easier to substitute the “things” with coins. And so the collections became a part of the liturgy. But these collections actually mean something: as we contribute to the First collection we are contributing to the support of our priests and the second collection is dedicated to SHARE – building up less well off churches & parishes in the Dioceses or to specific works of the diocese like Crosscare, Accord, Child Safeguard and Protection service amongst others. So the collectors, the silent heroes of Sundays, make it possible to continue the tradition of showing our ownership of the Church through our contributions. Thank you … our own basket cases.”
The Family Mass Team is engaged in the planning and coordination of the Family Mass which takes place in the church at 10am every Sunday during primary school term time. Team members and the teachers from the two parish national schools cooperate in devising simple but imaginative ways to make the celebration of the Family Mass meaningful and relevant to young people through incorporating symbols and drama in the liturgy.
An additional, dedicated team of people assist with the Family Mass by preparing the audio-visual equipment used for the Family Mass Choir, for display of the Liturgical Readings and Hymns.
A sociable cup of tea or coffee is available in the Parish Pastoral Centre after every Family Mass, on Sunday’s at 10am.
The Floral Teams take turns in beautifying the sanctuary area with floral arrangements that are in harmony with the particular liturgical moment of the year. This involves the members in the selection, acquisition, arrangement and maintenance of the flowers and other decorations, as appropriate to the occasion. The importance attaching to major feasts such as Easter and Christmas and to significant community events such as the celebration of First Communion and Confirmation is reflected in the exuberance of the floral displays.
In Fr. Peter’s words; “Everything in our Church tells a story. It speaks to us about God, about our Salvation, our traditions and our own religious culture. Every detail has a meaning. We might take for granted that there are flowers behind or in front of the Altar. They are meant to tell us a story, they are unspoken praise of the Creator and they tell us of love and beauty; the true vocation of the human heart.
There are 2 floral teams in the Church who take it in turn to look after the flowers; they bring the flowers, arrange them and then keep them watered. With great dedication they ensure that the flowers, these silent witnesses, are there to enhance the spiritual experience of visiting our Church.”
The Funeral Team assists the Priest saying the Funeral Mass and supports the bereaved family’s involvement in the mass ceremony.
The Liturgy Team seeks to co-ordinate and plan worship in the parish, with particular emphasis on the different movements of the liturgical year. It works to bring about an improvement in the quality of prayer and worship in the community and to make liturgy relevant to life’s experience. It also aims to support existing liturgical initiatives in the parish such as the Family Mass at 10 am on Sundays and evening prayer on Thursdays at 8.00pm.
Distribution of Eucharist during mass is facilitated by the participation of Ministers of the Eucharist, who assist the celebrant at Communion time. Participants have found that this can lead them to personal spiritual development. Appropriate training is essential and will be provided.
Volunteers are rostered for duty having regard to their declared preference for time of Mass. However, when the need arises they may assist with the distribution of Communion at other times.
In Fr. Peter’s words; ” It is hard to believe that just fifty years ago lay people did not have any active ministries in the Mass. They didn’t read and they most certainly could not touch the Eucharist. The Vatican Council put the vocation of the Lay People at the centre of its reflection and considered the role that lay people played in the history of the Church. Since then many things have changed. Lay people do the readings, they prepare and deliver the prayers of the faithful, they bring communion to the sick and housebound, they form the Parish Pastoral council… all these things were unthinkable before. But what is the EMHC ….? Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. They help to distribute Holy Communion during the Mass, they could also distribute Holy Communion in a community that does not have a priest (many places in missionary territories … soon in Ireland) We have about 50 EMHC in Balally. They are a very important group in the liturgical celebrations in the Parish. They enhance their own Christian life through their ministry and remind all of us of the rights and duties we have acquired in our Baptism.”
Community celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and special Feast Days is enhanced by lay members of the worshipping community, who are Ministers of Word, proclaiming the Word of God to the congregation from the lectern. The experience of preparing the readings gives Ministers of the Word special insights into Scripture and can encourage some to engage in Biblical or related studies. People wishing to become Ministers of the Word receive training in breathing and voice production, working with the microphone, pronunciation, delivery etc. Volunteers are rostered for reading having regard to their declared preference for time of Mass.
The prayer group, which meets in Balally Church at 8pm on the second Tuesday of each month, was formed in order to fulfill a spiritual and pastoral need. Members engage in hospital visitation and in disseminating information about St. Pio. All are welcome.
The Thursday evening Service of Evening Prayer is fully lay organized and led. There are five separate teams of prayer leaders and accordingly each team prepares Evening Prayers of the Church or Liturgy of the Word every fifth week. This provides prayer leaders with an opportunity to share their God given talents in the service of others. Also, it provides for lay involvement in the Prayer Life of the Church, thereby meeting a need within the Parish due to a shortage of priests, especially at holiday time. It will help ensure the future of the church as the number of religious declines.
As a by-product, through working together with fellow team members, prayer leaders are facilitated in developing their prayer life through the process of preparation, reading and reflection. This allows them to fulfill their baptismal calling; it enriches their faith and gives them a sense of belonging to a local praying community. It facilitates the development of new skills over time, such as church decor, music, information technology, public speaking, etc.
Each weekday in Advent, the faithful assemble in Balally Church at 7am to participate in a service of prayer that follows a common Advent theme and lasts for 20 to 30 minutes. They gather in darkness and disperse as the dawn is about to break.
Just like the Thursday Evening Prayer Service the Advent Morning Prayer Service is fully lay organized and led. Leadership of the group is comprised of people with considerable experience in liturgy and the cadre of prayer leaders is drawn from the worshipping faithful. While the group disbands at the end of Advent, they respond again to the call, year on year, as Advent approaches.
Each Thursday during the summer holiday period a lay led service of prayer is held at 10am in Balally Church.It operates on an ad hoc basis, broadly on the lines of the Thursday evening Prayer.
The “Reader’s Club” wishes to be part of a plan to accompany young people in their faith development within the community. It is focused on young people who have made their confirmation. “Reader’s Club’ members read the Word of God at Sunday Masses. Reading tips/coaching available here.
The coordinators can be reached at the emai:l firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish community gatherings, ecumenical services and other social interaction is enhanced by refreshments provided by the Parish Catering Group. The Group meets as and when required.
Balally Parish identifies totally with the objectives of Three Rock Churches’ Environment group, of which it is an active and committed member This is an ecumenical initiative of six churches in the wider Dundrum area committed to making the link between environment and faith and, in this context, to do what is necessary to promote positive action to combat climate change.
The Group interprets its role as creating a Christian welcoming facility like Martha in the Gospels. Every Wednesday morning from 10.30 to 12.00 a growing number of people, mostly senior citizens, gather under its auspices to enjoy each other’s company, share experiences, build community spirit, form new friendships, share and enjoy developing talents which, perhaps, were hidden heretofore.
The Balally Conference is part of the international voluntary Catholic Christian organization whose members attempt to live the core values of the Gospels and Catholic social teaching through an action oriented programme, working directly with people in need.
The 400 club is an important source of income for the parish. The objective of the 400 Club Committee is to raise funds for the parish through a monthly draw. Committee members have two brief meetings each month at which they prepare for and run the draw. They collect subscriptions after all masses on one Sunday each month.
The Bingo Group was organized to raise funds for the parish and to provide a social outing for parishioners. Bingo takes place in the Parish Pastoral Centre each Friday from 8.45 to 10.45.
Group members prepare the hall, put out chairs, set up the stage, check numbers, etc. At the end of the night they tidy the hall, leaving it ready for the next day at the Parish Pastoral Centre.