Monday, September 12, 2011

Blessed Sacrament Parish Ministries Fair

Parishioners attend Parish Ministries Fair (9/11/11)
        Parishioners filled Quinn Hall at Blessed Sacrament on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011 for the annual Parish Ministries Fair. 
The variety of ministries seemed virtually endless.  While not all parish ministries were represented, the more than 20 present included the Adoration Society, Saint Fiacre Garden Guild, Knights of Columbus, Saint Padre Pio Prayer Group, Respect Life Ministry, Legion of Mary, Eucharistic Ministry, Lectoring, Altar Servers, Ushering, ALIVE!, Carpenter’s Shelter, Choirs (Folk and Adult), Cantors, Handbell Choir, Religious Education (CCD), Funeral Ministry, the Courtyard Garden Project, the Eucharistic Family Rosary Crusade and more.
            The parish’s Adoration Society is seeking new members who are willing to commit to one hour each month in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during Friday Eucharistic Adoration in the daily chapel between 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.  During Lent and Advent adoration concludes around 6:30 p.m. with Benediction since there is a 7:00 p.m. parish Mass.  A Children’s Holy Hour is held every Friday 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.  Parishioners can choose any Friday of the month and their preferred time. 
Parishioner Kevin Heanue said outreach at Carpenter’s Shelter, 930 North Henry St., Alexandria, is something the Blessed Sacrament community has been doing for over 25 years.  Even earlier Blessed Sacrament ran a homeless shelter in the basement of the basement of the old church building.  Carpenter’s Shelter provides many programs in an effort to end homelessness. On eighteen Monday evenings a year from 5:30 p.m.-7:15 p.m. dinner is prepared for shelter residents by Blessed Sacrament parishioners.  Dinner volunteers should contact Hap Whitestone, 703-820-7263 for more information.  Volunteers are also needed for tutoring and working at the shelter’s front desk. 
ALIVE! (ALexandrians InVolved Ecumenically) is another service to the poor with great volunteer opportunities.  ALIVE, a consortium of 33 Alexandria congregations, is “the largest private safety net for those in need in the City of Alexandria.” Parishioners can contact Vivian Webb ( for information on assisting with the food pantry, home furnishing program, child development center or the transition shelter. 
            Debbie Hand, Head Usher at Blessed Sacrament, said ushers are needed at Masses throughout the year.  The time obligation is “just the time you come to Mass,” she said.  Duties include greeting parishioners, handing out Mass programs, taking up the collection and distributing bulletins as people leave Mass.  “It is a great way for young people to do service hours for Confirmation,” said Hand.  Altar servers are also needed and boys and girls can find out more by attending one of two upcoming mandatory training sessions Sat., Sept. 17 and Sat. Sept. 24. 
            Music ministry is also welcoming new members said Sharon Dooley, who has been a member of the parish’s 9:00 a.m. Mass folk group for over 15 years. “We take all comers!” she said, noting that God gave everyone a voice and if you want to sing, remember God “gave you that voice – give it back to him!”  Music ministry also includes cantoring, adult choir or handbell choir.
            The parish’s Knights of Columbus Council No. 11947 is welcoming men interested in joining the charitable and fraternal organization of Catholic laymen. Meetings are held in the Parish Center on the first Monday of every month, except holidays. Members are asked to attend three meetings and three events each year.  On Monday, Oct. 3 at 7:35 p.m. in the Parish Center, the Knights will hold their First Degree Initiation Ceremony.  Contact for more information.
            Blessed Sacrament Parish also hosts Northern Virginia’s Saint Padre Pio Prayer Group, which meets on the fourth Sunday of every month at 3:00 p.m. in the daily chapel. 
The parish’s Saint Fiacre Garden Guild, named after a 7th-century Irish-born saint who lived in France and is the patron of gardeners, meets on the first and third Saturdays of each month in Quinn Hall after the 8:30 a.m. Mass.  The guild and does gardening around the parish, learns about flowers and gardening and visits local gardens. 
            A new parish Courtyard Garden Project is in the fundraising stage with the goal of transforming the yard in the center of the parish complex into a lovely new garden space with landscaping, a fountain and rosary walk.  Parishioners can purchase engraved bricks for $100 each as memorials to honor the living, the deceased or those who have served or are serving in the military.  For more information, e-mail  The deadline for order submission is November 10, 2011.
            The parish community thrives with lay involvement, people living out their baptismal call to share the message and mission of the Gospel in countless ways inside and outside the parish. 
            Information about parish ministries is available in the weekly bulletin, posted on the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church website.
            Are you ready to try something new? Where is God calling you?

Jennifer E. Reed is a parishioner at Blessed Sacrament.

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