‘Nazareth’, a family-friendly Mass community, was launched at the beginning of October at St Patrick’s Church in Elland. The first event saw over 70 people of all ages from across the Diocese meeting to celebrate Mass and then move on to the social area. While the youngsters engaged happily with some craft activities, the parents were able to get to know each other better over tea and cakes.
Springing out of the friendship between a small group of young Catholic mothers across the Diocese, the desire to have such an event every couple of months is not intended to draw people away from their own parishes. Instead, it aims to provide an welcoming opportunity for families to worship together in an environment where children of all ages are not just tolerated but made central to the celebration. It seeks to enable Catholic families to make connections with each other, learn from each other, and bear witness to God’s work among them. In the fullness of time it is hoped to lay the foundations for an open community which will provide formation and catechesis for parents and children on the Mass and family life.
Reactions to this first event were very positive. One young mother said, ‘It’s the first time I’ve been able to pray properly at Mass since my children were born.’ A father’s comment was, ‘It’s so good to see so many other families like ours.’
Fr Michael Hall, parish priest of Elland, who offered the initial Mass, was also full of praise for the event. ‘What I really like is that this is something that meets a need. I’ve just been the facilitator – all the hard work has been done by a lovely team of lay people. To my mind, this is the shape of the future Church.’
Forthcoming dates are 21 November 2021 and 23 January 2022: 1.30pm at St Patrick’s Church, Elland.