About St Paul’s Catholic Church, Nightcliff
Priest plus parish council
In the top end of the country is a church that aims to make all welcome as they share their faith in Nightcliff, Darwin. A diverse group of people gather for mass each week and a warm hospitality is clear, with an authentic informality that matches the culture of the tropics, as they seek to help people to belong.
Father Peter Hendricks who had been the parish priest at St Paul’s since 2017, describes a real acceptance and love for people seems to shine through the team of leaders, as part of the ethos of this parish, with a flexibility to welcome and include families and people of all ages and backgrounds.
The Parish pastoral council worked collaboratively to adopt their vision and the mission and Fr Peter describes his role as leader, in bringing people together to move towards their vision and a mission. New ideas are encouraged from the parish members, such as a picnic to promote belonging, and thus builds a group ownership of achieving the church’s mission, with an energy that comes from the group as well as Fr Peter as leader.
Based on a workshop together, people from church suggested connecting and getting to know people was an important thing to focus on in the parish and various strategies have evolved including morning tea, a picnic. Various priests with different lengths of history in the parish are also available to greet people as they arrive, providing recognition and belonging.
A multicultural focus is also intentional at St Paul’s, as well as an inter-generational inclusion, involving children and younger people in the mass, with a special homily designed for them.
The identification of particular mass attenders who might be suitable for roles, such as being a minister during mass, is also central to developing new people for leadership roles. As well, the parish council and governance committees are also kept refreshed with new people who can contribute.
Fr Peter says relationships and relating are key, so he ensures his relational style can be felt through the masses, the activities of the church and the visits to the school.
It appears from the conversation with this parish leaders that core faith practices form a strong base and a clear pastoral plan is being pursued to care for the parish members, as well as the surrounding community.
Stories from St Paul’s Catholic Church
Browse through some of the stories and wisdom that leader of St Paul’s Catholic Church shared with us, on how they enliven their ministry and church life.