Etobicoke: St. Benedict’s Parish Shines at Third Annual Parish Ministry Conference

17 Nov 2020

Photo credit: Mariel Cabrera

By Mariel Cabrera, Coordinator of Youth Ministry, St. Benedict’s Parish, Etobicoke, ON

On the weekend of October 30 to November 1, the Archdiocese of Toronto hosted its Third Annual Parish Ministry Conference. Like most gatherings during this pandemic, it was a virtual experience for all participants and speakers. The conference offered keynote speakers, an address from Cardinal Collins, and various workshop tracks for any of the lay faithful, ministry leaders, or parishioners who partake in the experience.

One of the tracks offered was “All is Ministry: An Approach to Family and Parish Ministry,” which was led by the Office of Lay Formation for Discipleship from the Archdiocese of Toronto, partnered with Salt & Light Media. The organizers of this track approached me and Antoniette Pace (Lay Pastoral Assistant) from St. Benedict Parish to be panelists for this workshop. This honor recognized our great collaboration and teamwork within the parish through sacramental preparation, youth ministry activities, and community outreach needs of the families we serve.

Having been interviewed by Deacon Pedro Guevara Mann from Salt & Light, it was evident that the gift of the Salesian charism is tangible and evident in the working relationship of the staff members at St Benedict’s, that this “all is ministry” approach requires a team effort in listening, knowing, sharing, and providing the needs of the parishioners it serves. An initial conversation with Pace from a person inquiring about sacraments of initiation for themselves led to a deeper conversation of needing healing in the family, knowing this individual has children who need a safe, wholesome community to encounter Jesus through fun and faith. St John Bosco’s teaching of the ‘oratorian heart’ is needed to accompany the individual not only in their faith but also to show them a parish with a welcoming environment that can become an extension of their home.