St. Mary of the Assumption Parish, Lancaster
After Baptism, every two months send literature and activities available from Family Life Office from Altoona-Johnston Diocese; 23rd publications also has packets to be sent.
Have a blessing for those expecting children once a month in Church (at the font if possible). Ask young couples if they would like a house blessing. Be available. Engage in lifelong community building by encouraging small groups. Keep everything needs based for these young couples. Leaflet Missal Society has relevant Mother’s Day and Father’s Day Cards and the parish sends these to the parents they encountered throughout the year.
The parish also provides a Family Faith Chest to each family. The chest is designed to hold important mementos for the Baptism and the faith life of the family. Click here for a copy of what may be included in the Family Faith Chest.
To hear Deacon Dave's presentation please click here:
For more information email Deacon David Jerome or call 716-638-6445
St. Christopher Parish
Font is in the back of Church, so they video and project the Baptisms live on front wall of church so all can see. Sees a need for interfaith dialogue and acceptance in Baptism prep and mystagogia.
For more information call Sr. Laura Lesniak SSMN at 716-692-2660
Immaculate Conception Parish, East Aurora
Has formed a committee to offer support/resources for families with infant/toddler age children. Have offered a Lenten calendar for families, a summer calendar for families, October/Mary ideas for families.
Summer calendar for families
For more information email Denise York or call at 716-652-6400
St. Gabriel Parish, Elma
The primary focus of the Millennial Milestone Project at St. Gabriel Parish in Elma was to provide a program for parents of the newly Baptized and encourage parental involvement in the religious formation of their child(ren) through various means within the Parish itself.
Throughout this year, we have kept parents informed of the various parish events through various forms of personal contacts, bulletin announcements, parish web site, and media (closed television) announcements.
At Baptism, the parents of the newly Baptized receive a packet with information reinforcing the importance of Baptism and the parents as well as the Godparents roles in the development of the spiritual life of the child. In addition to the Baptismal candle, the parents receive various remembrances of the event, further information on bring up the child in the Catholic faith and a promise of parish prayer for the family.
We have a strong belief that the parents need to be present at Mass on Sundays with their child(ren), so we offer two children’s Masses on the weekend. We also believe that faith needs to be strengthened in the home and through parish activities for the family as a whole.
To this end, we have developed various activities to try to meet this goal. For young parents, we have four Topics On Tap meetings and provided free certified baby sitting for the parents who wished to attend. The topics included being kind and gentle with yourself and taking time for God in the process, how to raise children in a positive atmosphere and ways to identify early bullying and how to counter act it and teach proper behavior in young-pre-school children. This was done with the assistance of a certified counselor.
Parish family activities included monthly family activities: Grandparents Day, Halloween activities, family hockey night in the Parish Hall, the making of a family advent wreath, A children’s Christmas programs including a living Nativity including live animals, family movie night, a Shrove Tuesday celebration, Easter egg hunt for children from 6 months to 10 years old, a family swim night and a planned picnic. All activities were free to the families and involved refreshments.
In addition, the Parish held 10 Catholic Story Hours for children up to the age of 5 given on Friday and Saturday mornings. These included snacks, art and music activities and the reading and discussion of children’s Bible stories.
During Lent, we held free family soup suppers which were a get-together with two kinds of soup, and a 20 minute talk and discussion on the Sunday Gospel aimed a families.
We also had a Ladies’ Night Out featuring Carrie Ford for young mothers ages 21 to 35.
Through these experiences, we have noticed an increase of younger families at the family life activities and at weekend and special Masses and Liturgical services. We have also noticed a willingness to ‘do more’ as a family and willingness to help in some way within the parish. Events planned to include the entire family were better attended.
As a parish staff, we realized that the Parish Web Site is in dire need of an overhaul to meet the needs of the young adults that we serve. To this end, we are completing a new Parish Web Site to be out before September 2011. We will continue the activities we experienced this year and are open to the suggestions given by the young adults in strengthening family life.
For more information call Sr. Joseph Marie Marczak CSSF at 716-668-4017
St. Gregory the Great Parish, Williamsville
Instead of using a DVD for the Baptismal Session with the parents, the parish deacons rotate holding the sessions and discuss the importance of the Sacrament and what the couples are undertaking and explain how we minister the sacrament. Three couples also rotate coming to the sessions. They share about what the Baptism of their child and their own Baptism means to them. The couple fills out a data form for Baptism. At the end of the session the deacon talks with each couple separately and goes over their form and the team couple stays and talks with the other couples. The team couples invite couples from the session to join them at Mass. They show them where they sit and invite them to join them always.
St. Greg’s also invited all families of newly baptized children in the past year to a Mass & Coffee and Donuts social afterward. They gave each newly baptized child a gift of a “My First Prayer Book.”
The parish sent the prayer books to all that didn’t attend and requested that they respond and provide their email address if they would like to receive periodic newsletters from the parish about topics that would interest them. These newsletters are written by a staff member or one of the Moms who is part of the team.
They also invite the women to join the MOMs group and have available the Parish Handbook and brochures that list ministries that might be of interest to young couples.
For more information call Laraine Leardon at 716-688-5678
Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Williamsville
Our primary focus was the parents of our newly Baptized children. We planned four different types of events in which we were able to reach different people each time. We would invite over thirty families each time and had about two – ten families responded for each event. We were some what disappointed at the numbers but soon realized that we were able to get to know them on a more personnel level because they were in small groups. We used different ways to communicate because we discovered that one was not always the best – mail, e-mail, phone, web site.
Through the grant activities we were able to personally reach a number of our young families and talk to them about what they wanted from the church /or how could the church help them and their children to grow in their faith.
We were able to address some new ideas and even start up a new MOM’s Networking Group.
For more information call Roberta Spencer at 716-632-2559
Most Precious Blood Parish, Angola
The number of baptisms at the parish are increasing gradually each year and our baptismal preparation program was minimal. The parish committee decided that not only did we not have an adequate program, we also did not have welcoming spaces for parents and their babies. The “cry room” at the back of the church contained one pew, poor lighting, windows that neither opened nor closed, an old carpet that was beyond cleaning, and dark wood paneling. The room was used predominantly by elderly parishioners and young children were not welcomed.
They covered and painted the walls of the “cry room” and removed the pew and the carpet. Windows were replaced, new adult seating and toddler furniture, including a changing table, were added, and a TV monitor with a stationary videocam focused on the sanctuary was installed. The lighting was also enhanced, making the area bright, and Bible board books were provided on a child-sized bookshelf.
They moved the program to the “annex” a one-room building next to the former school, provided comfortable seating, a changing table, coffeemaker, small refrigerator, table and all the necessities for refreshments. A screen was installed so a projector could be used to show the baptismal prep DVD. The parish purchased mailing materials to be sent to each family over the next 3 years and prepared “goodie bags” to be given to families via a home visit by a team member shortly after the baptism. They enlisted the aid of the Rosary and Altar Society to make baby shawls to include in the bags. They began developing a tracking system for the baptisms and mailings. The parish committee also reviewed other pre-baptismal curricula, but have found that none meet our needs, so we have begun to develop our own based on the resources we have and hope to produce our own video that will be current.
Our families have remarked that the space provided for infants and toddlers in our new “Wee Liturgy” room are welcoming and comfortable and provide visual access to the Mass. This space is now well-utilized by families. Parents have been appreciative of the parish contacts and remain connected, regularly attending Mass and coming to parish breakfasts. New team members have come forward to become presenters. The spaces used are welcoming and help young parents engage in the program offered, even when their infants are present. Most baptisms now take place during a regular Sunday Mass and parents feel prepared for the liturgy.
For more information call Theresa Walker at 716-549-1818
To discuss the infant baptism milestone further, please contact Elaine Dankowski at email@example.com