Music ministry brings joy to small community
A renewed focus on music ministry at Circular Head Parish is bringing joy to parishioners.
This is due in part to the ‘drive and energy’ of parish administrator Fr Crisanto Mendoza MLCC and the enthusiasm of seasonal workers who have joined the far North West Coast parish’s choir.
Parishioner Merma Kelly explained: “Fr Cris … is settling well in our quiet, small community with a big heart. He brings sunshine and energy to the parish and its members.
“We call him our singing priest. International seasonal workers … were approached by Fr Cris to see if they were interested in joining our choir for the Christmas Eve celebrations. Five young men from Papua New Guinea were thrilled and honoured to be asked, and agreed to join the choir’s first practice.
“This has led to wonderful things, including a much-needed boost to our choir numbers. As experienced by many community and church groups, our choir memberships [had] dwindled over the years.”
Mrs Kelly said the men – Aron Sil, Pius Sawli, Silvester Berr, Wesley Brian and Luise Atege – were all meatworkers and were staying in the state until the middle of 2022. They have a variety of musical skills between them, including playing the organ, guitar, drums and singing.
“At the Christmas Eve service, Fr Cris joined in the Christmas spirit by singing Silent Night on his way to the altar,” Mrs Kelly explained.
“After the Mass, two songs were presented which received a loud applause and many happy, gleeful faces: a true Merry Christmas.”
She says that Fr Crisanto hopes to extend the music ministry, and extend invitations to all new arrivals – including more seasonal workers who may not stay long but are keen to be involved in the community.
“The arrival of a singing priest has been a blessing to our parish,” Mrs Kelly added.
“Fr Cris’s drive and energy, coupled with a desire to make things better in our parish, has been a breath of fresh air. Fr Cris is testament that bringing people together is what music has always done best.”
The arrival of the five seasonal workers are regarded as a blessing for the parish and the wider community. They join one Chinese, one Filipino and five Australians in the music ministry at Smithton.
“These guys were members of a charismatic Catholic choir [in Papua New Guinea] and our prayers were answered because they were sent direct to Smithton,” Mrs Kelly said.
“Another blessing from above [was when] Carol Locket from Western Australia attended one Sunday Mass … She used to be in the choir and volunteered to be our permanent organ player and organised a practice for the Easter Masses. Our parish council and fundraising committee are all in action supporting all plans to make things better in our parish, like our sound system and maintenance of our garden. These positive incidents … give our parish a lift.”
Main image: Circular Head parish is enjoying a rejuvenated, multicultural music ministry with people from China, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Australia in the choir. Photo supplied.