Boys and girls who are altar servers at St. Agnes assist the priest in the celebration of Mass and other ceremonies connected with the Sacred Liturgy of the Church. Servers from both St. Agnes School and the St. Agnes Christian Formation Program are trained to prepare the sanctuary and altar for Mass or other ceremonies. They assist at these ceremonies and also help the priest with "clean-up" duties in the sanctuary and the sacristy. Altar servers give glory to God by their presence in the sanctuary, and they offer inspiration to the faithful by their participation in the liturgy.
The Altar Society was started over 60 years ago. Its original purpose was to pray for vocations and launder and mend liturgical garments worn by the priests and servers. When these items needed to be replaced and money was not available, the Altar Society took on the responsibility of refurbishing them. This was accomplished through fund raisers ranging from hat sales and talent shows to rummage sales. The list of needs grew and included everything from hosts, wine and Altar clothes to vestments. Mothers of the Altar boys were recruited.
In early 1960, the society opened a gift shop and began catering funerals. These were the only means of financial support for the society, until the parish financial structure was changed and these are now part of the general parish budget.
Although the society no longer pays for the Altar supplies, it continues to provide many services, some of which are "behind the scenes," and may be taken for granted. These services include:
- Catering for funerals (volunteers are often needed to make cakes, etc.)
- Laundering the Altar clothes and purificators (used at Mass to wipe wine cups)
- Sewing and embroidering Baptismal gowns used at Baptism
- Servicing the Vigil Light stands
Contrary to popular opinion, the Altar Society is not an "older ladies" organization and is always looking for new members both men or women.
Artists and Craftspersons
Environmental enhancement is the aim of the artists and craftspersons of the Liturgical Committee. Church decoration, designing and making banners, and designing music book covers for special occasions are examples of their efforts. New liturgies continually challenge their creative resources.
Because decorating for special occasions such as Christmas and Easter requires extra help, an "environment group" of talented volunteers lend their talents on an "as needed" basis. If you are an artist or craftsperson, one who likes to sew, or just an interested person willing to donate your talents, please call the Liturgical director. You needn't be an "expert", just willing.
Persons wishing to make their own decorations and banners should contact the Liturgical Committee.
Choirs: Handbell, Cantors, and Centennial Choir
"Sing a new song unto the Lord!" At St. Agnes, singers and instrumentalists joyously celebrate Christian life and liturgy. The Handbell Choir rings out the glory of God with hand bells at various liturgies; the Centennial Choir sings at the 10:30 a.m. Mass on Sundays. The Handbell Choir and Centennial Choir practice and participate at liturgies September through May. Cantors lead the congregation in responding to Sunday liturgies. In addition, many music lovers lend their talents to sing and play instruments at weddings, funerals, and other parish events. Parishioners are encouraged to join and make joyful noise for the Lord.
How can a woman receive reassurance and advice when she is pregnant, or caring for her newborn? With whom can a woman talk about infertility? Who will reach out to the woman who experiences a miscarriage? In the past, family members and neighbors met these needs. Today, family often lives in another state and we don't know our neighbors. Elizabeth Ministry is an outreach to women in special times of motherhood. The purpose of this pro-life ministry is to affirm, support, encourage and assist in response to the needs of women during childbearing years. Find out how you can get involved by contacting the parish office.
The celebration of the Eucharist is the central focus of life here at St. Agnes. With the complete initiation into the Church through Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation parishioners are eligible to become Eucharistic ministers. It is an honor and rewarding, spiritual experience to be able to offer the body and blood of Christ to one's fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord.
On a practical basis we are always in need of more Eucharistic ministers. If you are willing to serve in this most special ministry you are welcome to join others who serve the people of St. Agnes. Your task would be to distribute the sacred bread and wine at weekend and holiday liturgies. A training session is provided to help ministers feel comfortable in their service. Ministers are scheduled according to their Mass choices and in conjunction with the schedules of the other family members who serve as lectors, altar servers, ministers of hospitality, etc. Ministers serve approximately once every 3 to 4 weeks. Personal vacations and commitments are taken into consideration when each new schedule is written, usually 3 times a year.
We invite you to prayerfully reflect on the value of the Eucharist in your life.
The Food Pantry at St. Agnes has been operating successfully for over thirty years to help people in emergency food circumstances as a result of illness, unemployment, divorce or other unfortunate situations. It offers short-term emergency assistance. Money and food supplies for the Food Pantry are supplied by faithful St. Agnes parishioners who bring contributions to Mass on Sunday, area businesses, Boy Scouts, Butler Postal Carriers, St. Agnes School children, Hunger Task Force, Butler Fire Department, "Souper" Bowl of Caring, St. Agnes Holly Fair, Food for the Hungry, Inc. (bread supplies), Bulter Library, Butler Police Department, Girl Scouts and Metro Market. Their gifts are deeply appreciated and contributions to the Food Pantry are always welcome. The Food Pantry is open on Mondays from Noon - 2:00 and 5:00 - 6:30 PM.
A special group, Grief Ministry, meets monthly to offer comfort, support and prayers for sorrowing families. Many in this ministry have attended workshops and liturgies to help them understand the grieving process. They are good listeners who offer one-on-one support and mutual comfort. Members of the Grief Ministry help the newly bereaved by notifying parishioners of the time of death, funeral services and liturgy. They post notices of special retreats and seminars, offer names of books that can help, and list support groups in the area. During the year, they plan special liturgies, and in December, have a Mass and breakfast for all who have suffered a loss during the year.
Legion of Mary
Volunteers Needed: People who pray or would be interested in praying the rosary daily.
Our Legion of Mary was started in Ireland and is now a world-wide group. We visit the sick of the Parish and members who are hospitalized.
We pray the Tessera and this prayer accompanies our rosary daily. We meet in the Prayer Room, but would be happy to move to a larger space if enough people are interested. Our group also prays daily for members of our world-wide circle, and they in turn, pray for us. In November, we all pray for the deceased. We'd love to have you join our group!
Ministers of Care
Twenty years ago, St. Agnes discerned the need to reach out to nursing home residents who were separated from their homes and families. We sent lay ministers of care to distribute Communion to those who no longer had the opportunity to receive the Eucharist. That parish group gave to as many as 10 people at a time when Sage Nursing Home was privately owned before it became Marian Franciscan Center in 1985.
Since that time, more aging people are opting to live in smaller "assisted living" homes, and that trend continues today. St. Agnes Communion Ministers are now taking Communion to 3 assisted living homes in addition to Marian Franciscan Center. The general trends show the number of aging people increasing.
The present trends in elder care are that nursing homes have fewer care givers and more staff turn-over, and that all kinds of care, including pastoral care, has been and continues to be decreasing. Our aging family members and Parish members who cannot receive elder care in their family homes are being forced to move to institutional homes. There is a great need for us to reach out to these separated family members.
According to the "Spirituality of Aging Inventory' done by our parish several years ago, the aging parishioners expressed a desire to keep in touch with the parish, receive weekly Eucharist, and talk with lay ministers (as well as parish staff). Elders in the inventory also said they would like to discuss their relationship with God, the approach of their own death, the loss of a loved one and other spiritual needs. Some also wished to discuss being alone and troubling relationships.
We invite parish members to join our group of dedicated and experienced ministers who meet weekly, support each other, discuss our concerns, and pray together. The residents we visit are very appreciative of our efforts to pray with them, bring the Eucharist to them and visit with them. Besides bringing the Eucharist we also bring comfort, hope and friendship. The visits are a mutually rewarding experience. There are also special opportunities for visits by families and individuals of all ages.
Ministers of Hospitality
Men and women who usher at St. Agnes greet, attend, seat and care for people attending services. Their duties for worship include the distribution of prayer and song materials, the reservation of pews for groups, management of the table with hosts and wine, collection of donations, distributions of items needed for services, occational selection of Gift Bearers (wine and hosts), distribution of bulletins, and the preparation of the church before and after liturgies. They are concerned about the welfare of all parishioners and help them feel comfortable.
Ministers of the Word
Lectors accept the privileged role of proclaiming God’s word to His people. They prepare readings prayerfully and practice public speaking to encourage the congregation to listen, understand and reflect the joy and hope of God’s Word. Lectors read at Sunday and holyday liturgies. Parishioners interested in this ministry are always welcome.
“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” (Tennyson) The St. Agnes Prayer Network exists simply to pray for people in need, to offer them comfort and assure them that the prayers of many people can make a difference. Anyone inside or outside the parish may phone in a request for prayers. This request is given to one person on each of six prayer chains. He or she then calls the next person, and the request is relayed to all in the prayer network. Many people call back to thank the group because God has answered their prayers. The Prayer Network is always open to anyone either for requests for prayers or for people willing to pray.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
The St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Agnes was organized in 1957 to help provide comfort to individuals and families in the Butler and surrounding area.
With compassion and discretion, St. Vincent de Paul members offer immediate help to people in need. On a person-to-person basis, Society members from St. Agnes help the needy with emergency assistance for:
- furniture and household items
- information and direction about governmental agencies that can also assist
While the services we provide are important, what stands alone is our outreach of friendship through person-to-person contact. During a crisis, many simply need to know that someone cares. We care.
If you are in need, please contact us at (414) 339-2044.