The Connection: Clare JM Burns, Parish Pastoral Council Member at St Mary’s Catholic Church

November 5, 2018 – The Connection

Clare JM Burns, Parish Pastoral Council Member at St Mary’s Catholic Church

Tell us about your business/organisation?
St Mary’s is a growing, vibrant Catholic community blessed with people of different ages, countries, backgrounds, and lifestyles who come together to celebrate Mass and other devotions. Here, Jesus is at the heart and centre of what do–we also call upon the intercession of St Mary to help us live our mission.

What is your role at your organisation?
As a member of the Pastoral Council I join with other representatives of the community to pray and discuss activities and approaches to enrich the quality of parish life. I’m also a choir member, minister of the Word, and at times cupcake maker.

What are your key skills and responsibilities?
Pastoral Council members listen and respond to the hopes, ideas, needs, and concerns of parishioners. This involves encouraging and supporting good works within the parish such as baptism programs, support for children’s ministries, events, and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults.
Prayer, my involvement with Church ministries over 25 years, and post graduate studies in Theology helps guide my discernment on the Council. There are also times when I draw upon my professional career in communication and organisational culture.

How many people work at your business?
Joy-filled Capuchin Friars are the caretakers of St Mary’s: Father Lam is the Parish Priest and Father Bollar is the Assistant Priest.
Many volunteers help run activities such as the music ministry, altar servers, ministers of the Word, flower arranging, education programs for people inquiring about becoming Catholic, and our coffee outreach to people experiencing homelessness. Volunteers also sit on a Finance Council, Care and Concern Team, Fundraising, Prayer Groups (St Francis Table and Awaken), Sewing Group, and the St Vincent de Paul West End Conference.

What is your favourite place in the precinct?
On a Sunday afternoon (before choir practice and Mass) I enjoy having coffee at one of the galleries, library, or museum – generally loitering about this cultural space. Griffith University is also special to me as I completed a Masters of Business Administration at Southbank which I associate with fond memories.

What do you want BSB members to know about you or your organisation?
St Mary’s invites all BSB members to come and enjoy a quiet space during the busyness of their day. The heritage listed Church is open 12pm-2pm.
NB people do not need to be Catholic to come and enjoy the sacred space during their lunch break or at our other services:
Monday – Friday: 7am Mass [First Friday of the month 6pm Mass]
Saturday: 8am Mass; 8.30am – 9.30am Confession
Sunday: 9am Mass; 4pm Adoration and Confession followed by 5pm Mass
What is something people wouldn’t know about your organisation?
People who are not Catholic are welcome
St Mary’s is the site of one of St Mary MacKillop’s schools
In the altar of the our heritage listed Church are the relics of St Agnes, St Francis of Assisi, St Clare of Assisi, St Peter Chanel, St Pius X, St Mary MacKillop, and St Pio of Pietrelcina
What has recently happened at your organisation?
Over the past 100+ years St Mary’s Church is the place where people receive sacraments such as baptisms, first communion, confirmation, and marriage, as well as commemorate anniversaries and funerals. Each one of these events is special to the individual, their family, and the parish community.

What have you learnt lately?
How important people, fellow parishioners, are and to not take their presence for granted. While this may sound trite, it is heartfelt. Recently I attended the funeral of a beloved parishioner/friend and was struck with how fortunate I am to be in this community and what a blessing this person’s life on earth has been to me and many others.

What do you hope to achieve in your community?
As a Catholic community we would hope people experience the good news of the gospel. This good news encompasses a place to belong, comfort in times of sorrow, joy, and a quiet place to reflect and allow peace and goodness to flow.
What inspires you?
People living ordinary, extraordinary lives. I am in constant awe at the selfless dedication of St Mary’s volunteers and parishioners who working in church ministries, their home, and make other contributions to society.

What are your words of wisdom?
“Pray, hope, and don’t worry”
(St Padre Pio 1887 – 1968)