Nazareth Catholic Parish

Grovedale, Torquay and Anglesea


 All my greatest blessings
call me Mum.
Happy Mother's Day
to all our mums
and to all
who mother us.

We will remember them.

This year the celebration of Anzac Day will be muted. No marches, no large reunions, few speeches at war memorials. The soldiers and others who lost their lives in war will be remembered, however, as they should be. Indeed, the celebration will perhaps speak more eloquently because of its simplicity.
In recent years the rhetoric surrounding Anzac Day has become overblown. The day has been depicted as a symbol of Australian power and military prowess, and so of the distinctive qualities of Australian citizens. It has invested contemporary Australians and their leaders with unearned qualities built on make-believe.
The construction of Anzac Day as a celebration of an imagined heroic Australian identity obscures the death and loss both of soldiers and of their relatives and friends, the cost to families and to Australian society of their loss, and the responsibility of their descendants to turn from war. 
This year the backdrop against which Anzac Day will be seen will not show idealised figures in warlike poses or sportsmen looking mean, but people who have lost life and livings, first to bushfires and now to the coronavirus. 
In just a few months we have seen the reality of bushfire with its devastation of forests and impoverishment of local people in the areas that it touched. We have seen the ash and smelled the smoke that drove away the comfortable illusion that climate change was unreal, and if real, that it was harmless.
And we have seen the cost that fire and sickness have brought to many individuals and the strain they have placed on communities. We have seen our leaders aimless in the face of fire and, like the rest of us, struggling to comprehend the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vulnerability of an economy built on debt. We have also seen them at their best as they jettisoned their fixed ideas to respond in order to address the threat to the community posed by the virus.
Above all we have seen the courage and generosity of many Australians, their willingness to sacrifice their own freedom of movement and financial security for the good of the community. These are not narrowly national qualities. They reflect the best of our shared humanity.

When seen against the events of the year, Anzac Day will be a calling to mind of things past, things present and things future. We remember and stay with the pain, loss and grief of those who died in war and those who returned from it wounded in body and spirit. We remember, too, the courage and generosity with which so many supported one another. We remember the pain of those who grieved their deaths and whose lives were changed forever by their wounding.

This year, too, the isolation and anxiety which many share as we celebrate Anzac Day will echo some aspects of the experience of soldiers in war. This will be a time to remember and stay with the pain, loss and grief of those who have died through bushfire and virus, and the loss of those whose lives have been devastated by them.

As we hold together Anzac Day and the trials of this year, too, we remember and are grateful for the humble and self-sacrificing lives hidden like pearls in the darkness of each event. It is a day, perhaps, to hold in special honour the unprotected nurses, doctors and stretcher bearers who have risked their lives in the face of bullets and viruses. 
This year the celebration of Anzac Day will necessarily be modest in its exclusion of marches and gatherings. It should also be modest in its rhetoric, forsaking any glorification of the day that would make the acts of generosity and bravery displayed in battle typical of the nation today or of its leaders. It should allow us to grieve the lives lost and forever shadowed in war and give thanks for the more domestic virtues displayed in the aftermath of war and the flu that followed it.

The celebration of Anzac Day also looks to the future. If we grieve loss and give thanks for self-sacrifice on Anzac Day, we should also commit ourselves to a future in which we turn from wars, share burdens, give priority to the most disadvantaged, and shape a more just society. 
ANDREW HAMILTON SJ in Eureka Street. 

Easter is not a time for heroes. It represents the church as a bunch of frightened men, leavened by a few courageous women, confronted with the death of a great dream in the tortured execution of their leader who is abandoned by God and his followers, their own sense of themselves destroyed by their betrayal in flight, their organisation in tatters and headless, held together momentarily by fear of leaving town.
They then find to their joy that their leader and their dream are alive and that they, flight, betrayal and all, are the tinder for a great blaze bound together by their joy and the mission to the world. They too are sinners on whom God has had mercy, gathering together other sinners on whom God has also had mercy, to live out the joy of it all.   
Andrew  Hamilton SJ ,"Eureka Street"
Our prayer for you this Easter season is
that the graces of these days
will bring you great peace and joy
and the energy to live and proclaim
the Good News of Jesus Christ in all that you do.

Pope Francis and Archbishop Commensoli write to us

Pope Francis has responded to new reports of clerical sexual abuse and the ecclesial cover-up of abuse. In an impassioned letter addressed to the whole People of God, he calls on the Church to be close to victims in solidarity, and to join in acts of prayer and fasting in penance for such "atrocities".
Archbishop Commensoli has also written to the People of God in the Melbourne Archdiocese, emphasising and reiterating his own determination "to ensure that our local Church in Melbourne is unequivocally committed to attending to the harm done, prioritising the dignity and care of all who are young and vulnerable, rebuilding trust among our people, and creating safe environments in our communities, agencies and organisations. This is the way of Jesus Christ. It must be my way. And I invite you to join with me in making it our common Gospel way."

An new initiative for our Parish.

As our parish expands and the number of our schools grow, we have discerned the need for  someone to work with Fr Linh in the area of faith formation and the mission of the Church. Hence we have established a new position and are currently advertising for a:
Director of Parish Faith and Mission
To begin Term 1, 2019 
Nazareth Parish Grovedale currently has responsibility for three Catholic primary schools in the Parish - Nazareth at Grovedale, St Therese at Torquay, Lisieux at Torquay North, with St Catherine of Siena to open in 2020 at Armstrong Creek.
The position of Director of Parish Faith and Mission is an exciting new position for the Parish. 
The purpose of the position is to support the development of faith and mission in the schools and to build stronger relationships between Parish and schools. It is a senior position within Nazareth Parish Education. This person will work closely with the principals who are the primary faith leaders in their schools and with their Religious Education Leaders to support them in their roles.
The Director of Parish Faith and Mission will have responsibility in these key areas: faith formation, learning and teaching in Religious Education, liturgy, sacramental program, and management.
Position is fixed term part-time (FTE 0.8)
Closing date: Monday 19 November 2018
Please contact Nazareth Parish Office on 9412 8444 or email  for position details.

Palm Sunday - Behold the Man!

With the kind permission of the Wollongong Diocese, you can read a reflection on the Artwork above,
depicting this Sunday's Gospel from Luke 23:1-49


A warm welcome from Fr Linh Tran, our Parish Priest.

Welcome to our parish website!
We are tremendously blessed to call this most beautiful end of the Archdiocese of Melbourne ‘our home’. 
Stretched just over 30km in length to embrace Grovedale, Torquay, Anglesea and the new area of Armstrong Creek, we are simultaneously a suburban and a coastal parish. Our parish is home to some of the most stunning beaches and surfing locations. We also have some amazing bushlands and beautiful walking tracks. God’s great gift of beauty in nature is almost at every turn.
Being a Catholic community in such beautiful surroundings, we are blessed to have the presence of many visitors at different times throughout the year, and our parishioners are always ready to extend a warm welcome. This website is designed to further extend our parish news and information to visitors as well as parishioners, and I hope that all will find it useful. I look forward to having you join us in our celebration of the Eucharist and/or in other aspects of the parish life and ministry.
With every blessing - Fr. Linh 

An important communication for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday 18 March 2020
Prayerful greetings to the people of God across Victoria,

This morning, the Prime Minister announced that non-essential indoor gatherings will be limited to 100 people, and outdoor events of more than 500 people will be disallowed, effective today. Given the seriousness of COVID-19, we support this measure as being responsible and sensible, and we encourage everyone to follow public safety guidelines respectfully.

The Bishops of the Province of Victoria have given this prayerful and considered reflection, and have determined the following actions:
  • Immediate suspension of public liturgies, celebrations of the Mass, until further notice.
  • All other gatherings are suspended. For clarification of any concerns, please contact your local diocesan authority.
We are very aware that this restriction will be particularly difficult for families who are planning liturgies such as funerals, weddings and baptisms. At this time, so long as appropriate precautions are able to be put in place (such as distancing between participants), it may be possible for these liturgies to proceed with a carefully limited congregation. Deferring these liturgies may also be an option that is offered to families.

In light of this, all Catholics in Victoria are dispensed from their Sunday obligation until further notice (canon 1248). We encourage you to continue active participation in the life of the Church, through activities such as time in personal and family prayer, reflecting on the Scriptures, making a spiritual communion, or participating in a Mass online (through Cath News or Melbourne Catholic  or Word on Fire).

We encourage our priests to continue to celebrate Mass for the spiritual good of God’s people, the intentions of the faithful and the alleviation of the present crisis. We assure our people that the Mass is being offered for you in our parishes and that while you are not physically present, you still participate spiritually and that you are close to the hearts of your pastors in the Eucharist.

We urge the clergy to make themselves available to visit individuals, especially those who are unwell and vulnerable. This includes viaticum and all the opportunities for healing through the Anointing of the Sick and Reconciliation.

Again, we encourage you to regularly consult your local websites for further details of local arrangements.

Tomorrow further pastoral guidelines will be shared in the Dioceses of Melbourne, Ballarat, Sale and Sandhurst. Clergy and religious should consult with their Ordinary if any questions remain uncertain.

All of this is happening during the Season of Lent, a time of preparation for the Easter mysteries. While we are invited to be self-sacrificial at this time, we must remember the words of Jesus upon appearing before his disciples after his resurrection: Again and again he said ‘peace be with you.’ (Jn 20:19) Let us not panic, nor be anxious, nor reduce ourselves to caring only for ourselves. This is a time to be sensible, practical, prayerful, and to share Christ’s peace with those who are struggling to feel calm and safe.

Thank you for all your patience, prayers and resilience.
The previous letter from our Bishops, dated March 13, 2020 is available here.

A couple of excellent articles to help ease our concerns.

"Coronavirus affects everything. I’m doing my best to respond. It strikes me, though, that other contagions are in the air – fear, anger, sadness. I don’t want to diminish in any way the reality of this virus and what it can do. I do, however, think we have the cure to other contagions, and I think it’s time to engage them. Life, and love, must go on and win the day."
Eric Immel, SJ writing in The Jesuit Post "Coronovirus Has Shifted Reality, and My Mind and Heart Are Scattered"  states 'It's hard not to move through the world these days feeling like toxins saturate everything. in my scattered mind, I'm actively choosing not to be afraid.'
But even more importantly, Massimo Faggioli, in his article 'Mass Myopia and Coronavirus' states that "the situation of protracted total lockdown and social distancing is pushing all of us - and in a rather unexpected and abrupt fashion - to explore new ways of being church."
He continues "Epidemics and pandemic tend to awake brutal instincts in all of us. They can also provoke other reactions and behaviour that contradict the message of the Gospel.  If the Church is to be a presence in all of this, it must be so in ways that are different from its normal default position - the celebration of the Mass."
"There is enormous potential in this. ... it is also about providing real spiritual nourishment in ways that are theologically richer and technologically just as simple."
Massimo Faggioli is challenging us to find news ways to continue to be who we are called to be. Even without being able to celebrate Eucharist together, we "will continue to believe. We will continue to keep our faith community united through social networks, offering support to each other as we anticipate the day we can resume our normal liturgical life."

STAY TUNED as we explore news ways to pray together

As we cannot celebrate Eucharist together at this time, our parish will be exploring and introducing new ways to pray together. Please, keep coming back to this page week by week, as we maintain and develop our community in this new world.
As an initial effort, why not use the following prayer with your family.  Each night this week, sit together (with social distancing if required!) in silence for a few moments, before taking turns to pray aloud each of the intercessions.  This pandemic is affecting every aspect of life and the intercessions seek to include us all in the prayer.


Signs of Easter - seeking good news around us.

Happy Easter!  from Brian Strassburger SJ on "The Jesuit Post"

Is it really the Easter season? With the coronavirus pandemic gripping the world, it can feel a lot like we’re still stuck in Lent.

While we continue to face dangers and uncertainty, TJP also wants to offer a reminder that the signs of Easter are around us. For the rest of the Easter season, which runs until Pentecost on May 31st, we’re going to publish an article every Thursday sharing some “Signs of Easter” that point to life, hope, and positivity in our world today.

This week, I would like to offer you a story and a few joyful videos that are signs of Easter for me.


Going for a Walk
My typical life involves plenty of walking. I’m a grad student at Boston College, and I live less than a mile from where I take classes, so that’s a well-worn path in my life. I usually walk with purpose. There is a destination in mind and a fixed time that I need to arrive by. (Maybe that’s the German in me?)

Now I don’t have to walk anywhere. All my classes are online. But gosh that takes its toll – lots of time spent sitting in a chair staring at a screen. Zoom classes, reading PDFs, posting on discussion boards, and writing papers. What should I do to relax? Watch Netflix? FaceTime friends? You mean: stare at the screen more?

I do those things in moderation. And they are healthy. But another pleasant joy, an Easter discovery, has been the pleasure of going for a walk. It’s good for the body, but even more importantly, it’s good for the soul.

Of course, I take precautions like wearing a mask and maintaining distances. But I walk without a destination in mind, without a plan or agenda. I just “go for a walk.” It’s just its own thing. It doesn’t need to be anything more.

Even on my busiest days or the times when I’m most anxious, I force myself out of my chair and out of my house. Because that’s when I need it the most. To unplug, breathe deep, and collect myself.

A couple of days after Easter Sunday, I took a long walk. Just up the hill from my house is the local cemetery. I started up the hill and followed the sidewalk alongside it. I peered out over the tombstones, and then let my gaze slowly drift to the opposite side of the empty street. The embankment on the other side was bursting with color: purples, oranges, pinks, and yellows. The springtime flowers were in full bloom.

Reminders of death across from signs of new life.

My walk continued. A stiff early-spring wind blew into me, so I zipped up my jacket. As I turned onto BC’s campus, the bright afternoon sun shone out. I stopped and raised my face towards it, soaking in its warmth.

I reached a green space where a family of four had gathered. I paused to watch. Two young brothers, both under seven, were trying to get a kite to rise in the wind as their parents encouraged them. The kite would start to lift, then the boys would run towards it in hopeful excitement. But the string would go slack, and the kite would come crashing to the ground. Undeterred, they would try again. I smiled at their relentless enthusiasm.

After a few failed attempts, they decided to try something new. When the kite began to rise, they ran away from it. The wind began to pull the kite up as the string held tight in their hands. Higher and higher, it rose.

My eyes widened in amazement. Had I stumbled upon an Easter metaphor on my walk?

When we face a strong wind, our first instinct is to turn our back to it and run with it behind us. But if we tighten our grip, face the wind, and walk headfirst into it…only then will the kite rise.


Enjoy a special resource for the feast of the Trinity

The Trinity is one of the great mysteries of our faith. For many, making the Sign of the Cross is the first and simplest prayer we learn. However great scholars have written volumes in trying to unravel this mystery. 

Trinitarian scholar, Anne Hunt will not demystify the Trinity, but she will give insights into this central tenet of the Catholic faith and provide material for reflection, prayer and discussion.

A Wake-up call for the future of our Planet

The prior of the Taizé Community says the message of Laudato Si' is now more important than ever 

   Brother Alois Löser          France                                               May 25, 2020 

Pope Francis published his encyclical Laudato Si' five years ago, issuing an urgent appeal "for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet". "We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all," the pope says (LS, 14).

This call is now more urgent than ever as the crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly highlighted how vulnerable our common home is.
At the same time, the sudden lockdown of half of the human population and the drastic health decisions taken in many countries have also shown that a political, social and economic response was still possible when confronted by the gravity of the issues at stake.

Many people are calling for our societies not to simply return to business as usual, but to take advantage of this moment to ask some serious questions.

With people of faith we turn to God in prayer and supplication. But I am convinced that in this moment of trial, God is also imploring us: "Wake up!".

God talks to us because God loves us. Wouldn't God like to tell us: see how dependent you are on each other. Not just between individuals, but among countries and peoples.

See how much you need human fellowship. See how necessary it is to care for creation for your common future.

The risk of social chaos

Yes, let us wake up! While the frantic pace of our societies had suddenly come to an almost complete halt, now it's the risk of social chaos that threatens us.

And those who will be hit first and foremost will be the poorest among us, whether they are countries or people. Will we be able to build, with them, new forms of solidarity by rediscovering the value of mutual assistance, as so many people have practiced in recent weeks?

As the collapse of biodiversity inevitably worsens and the climate emergency weighs on humanity, scientists and the younger generation alike are pleading with us to wake up. Unlimited exploitation of finite resources is no longer possible.

Will we ever become more aware that, with all living beings, "all of us are linked by unseen bonds and together form a kind of universal family" (LS, 89)?

Make a change of lifestyle

At Taizé, we are impressed to see so many young people who are committed to safeguarding the planet.

To these young people, I would like to say: do not become discouraged by the slowness and hesitation that you see. My generation should ask forgiveness for having shirked our responsibility.

Consumerism has become far too pervasive, as if this were the only thing that makes one happy.

You are right to urge us to make a change of lifestyle so that it becomes both more sober and more focused on the essentials.

What gives me hope is to see many initiatives blossom at the grassroots level. They consist of very concrete commitments. And while they do not provide systemic responses, they show a desire to take action, without which nothing will be possible. These initiatives seem to me to be having more and more impact at the political level.

Believers have an additional responsibility because the planet is a gift that God entrusts to us. Concern for Creation is an integral part of our faith.

In the face of these environmental challenges, it is all the more important for Christians of all denominations to join with people of other religions in giving a joint witness. And we can also unite with those whose motivation for protecting our planet is found somewhere other than in faith.

In the aftermath of the pandemic crisis, one fears that inequalities will continue to grow, and economic recovery will be implemented without taking sufficient account of the climate emergency.

But we also have a huge opportunity to ask ourselves what kind of future we want. Will we be able to seize this moment?

Brother Alois Löser is prior of the Taizé Community, an ecumenical monastic community in Burgundy (France).

Downloaded from  on 6.6.2020 at 10.38pm

Ascension Day

So when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He replied, "It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.
While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them.
They said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven." (Acts 1:1-11).
Within Luke's overarching vision of history, the ascension marks a key turning point from when the risen Christ was present visibly to one group of disciples gathered in and around Jerusalem to his being present among his disciples everywhere.
In each community that he visited, Luke wanted to affirm that the risen Jesus had both left them – in the sense that they could not directly see him: 'he was taken from their sight' – but also that he was no longer confined to one place, one group or one moment. After the Ascension, he was there in the community now gathered and listening to Luke.
This year most of us cannot gather in big assemblies. We must celebrate in small groups if you are in lockdown with family or friends, or you are alone.

But the risen Lord's presence is not confined: he is with you in lockdown – and there is no more appropriate moment to experience this anew than on Ascension Day!
There is no more appropriate day in the whole liturgical year to remember the presence of the Christ among us.

Let's begin Holy Week reflectively...

Holy Week @ St Patrick's Cathedral

 Our Archbishop, Peter Comensoli, has written a Letter to the Faithful as we move towards the light of the Resurrection.
Tuning in to Holy Week liturgies online or on TV
The Holy Week liturgies at St Patrick's Cathedral will be televised live and available to view via • Our CAM YouTube Channel
While it will be difficult to not be physically present during these liturgies that commemorate and celebrate this most sacred time in our Church, we hope that by televising the liturgies, more Melburnians will now have access – particularly those who might be limited to television viewing only.

Thursday 9 April
Evening Mass of the Lord's Supper, 7.30pm

Friday 10 April
The Way of the Cross, 11am (live streamed not televised)
Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, 3pm

Saturday 11 April
Easter Vigil Mass, 7.30pm

Sunday 12 April
Easter Sunday Mass, 11am

 You are indeed  WELCOME among us.

    No matter who you are or what you are,
you are WELCOME among us.
If you would like us to stay in touch with you,

    No matter who you are or what you are,
you are WELCOME among us.
If you would like us to stay in touch with you,

Ashes to Ashes

Gold? Frankincense? Myrrh?

Have you ever wondered why the three Kings gave the infant Jesus the gifts they did?
Just what was the significance of gold, frankincense, and myrrh?

Sarah Broscombe invites us to contemplate what these gifts symbolised, and then encourages us to set aside some reflective time to write our own gift list in the spirit of the origins of the tradition.
Read her intriguing article here, and then, as Sarah herself says, "why not create a list that actually reflects the marvelling of the Wise Men, the mind-boggling generosity of God, the gorgeousness of your friends and family, and the thrill that you have had on those occasions when you receive a truly apt gift?"

Easter is all about Baptism - we are either preparing to be baptised or we are renewing the vows of our baptisms. In this video from Oregon Catholic Press (OCP), Sarah Hart captures the sacrament of Baptism beautifully with lyrics that come from her own experience of life. Listen to her story in the first couple of minutes and then listen to the song about half way through, thinking about the baptism at the Easter Vigil or even your own baptism.

Melbourne’s new archbishop says
promoting the Church as an ’institution’ 
allowed ’great evils’ to happen.
Bishop Peter Comensoli said the abuse crisis was 'paramount' and required a response at every level in the Church.
The new Archbishop of Melbourne says that seeing the Church as an institution rather than the ‘people of God’ allowed for ‘great evils’ to be committed and has pledged himself to rebuilding trust in light of the clerical sexual abuse scandal.
Archbishop-elect Peter Comensoli, who will take up the leadership of Australia’s largest Catholic diocese on 1 August, said the abuse crisis was ‘paramount’ in everyone’s thinking and required a response at every level in the Church.
Read the rest of the interview here.  

In a somewhat simiar vein, Robert Mickens (writes for La Croix International, in his regular column Letter from Rome) writes that there is an elephant in the sacristy that no-one is talking about, at least not in any healty way. Read it here:    Sexual Misconduct and the High Clergy 

Related to this story is some Breaking News : from Fr James Martin (America Magazine) on Facebook 
Theodore McCarrick has resigned from the College of Cardinals. He has been ordered by Pope Francis to spend his life "in prayer and penance" until a canonical trial where more penalties may be imposed.

McCarrick's resignation from the College of Cardinals means the immediate removal of the titles "Cardinal" and "Your Eminence." (Even Bernard Law kept these, which shows how seriously Francis takes these charges.) His "faculties" as a priest were removed earlier by his diocese, so he can also no longer celebrate any of the sacraments. Other penalties may follow.

It is, at least in the Catholic Church in this country, an unprecedented rebuke to someone who was one of the most powerful men in the church. And again, still more punishments may follow, pending a canonical trial.

"Do not put your trust in princes, in mortals, in whom there is no help./ When their breath departs, they return to the earth; on that very day their plans perish." (Psalm 146)
Gerald O'Collins gives more background here

Just as Eric Hodgens spares a thought for the task in front of Bishop Peter, Robert Mickens considers the task in front of Pope Francis and questions which way he will move and act.  Read it here: The Pope's Long Hot Summer. 

 Happy Father's Day to all our heros and role models. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do, in presenting the face of our heavenly Father to our families and to the world.

World Meeting of Families

This meeting takes place every three years somehwere in the Catholic world and this year it has just been held in Dublin, Ireland from 21-26 August.
The website of WMOF is a mine of information, and there is much to be learned, discerned and thought about there.
In particular, have a look at the explanation of the Logo . Sometime logos appear as being very simple, but when they are well thought out and designed as this one is, they can tell a whole story. This logo speaks eloquently of the various elements that define the meetings.
Bishop Barron presented a session on the Gospel of Love (Amoris Laetitia). In a brief 8 minute video, he presents some of the points he made in his session. He opens up the way in which Pope Francis understands family, as the 'school of virtue', where everyone learns and grows in the interior disposition towards good, where each person learns the habit of being virtuous. See what you think about his analogy of learning a sport as a way to better understand the learning of virtue. 
Perhaps you have not yet read Amoris Laetitia - it is growing chapter by chapter so you don't have to read it all in one go.
Fr James MartinSJ  was another presenter and he offers ways in which the family of the church - the parish - could be more encouraging and welcomging to our LGBT brothers and sisters.  Read his paper here

Light a Virtual Candle

The Jesuits in Britain invite everyone light a virtual candle for those we have known and loved into death, in their online prayer community.
All names will be added to the book of remembrance at Farm Street Jesuit Church in London, which will be displayed before the altar throughout November.

Nazareth Parish Combines with our Schools for a Fun Run!

Have you thought about joining in the fun?  A three kilometre walk/run/cycle is just the thing to get those legs working whilst having a great time with our parishioners and all our schools! Come along and support our 'Reach Vietnam' project offering sponsorship to young girls in the form of education. 
Date: Thursday 21st March, 2019
Venue: Armstrong District Park, Sovereign Drive, Armstrong Creek 
Time: 5.30 (for 6pm start) - 7.30pm
BYO Picnic chairs  rugs and of course, picnic tea
The caps are the fundraiser, so if you would like to help support our Vietnamese girls, please ring one of the schools (Numbers opposite) and order before Friday March 8th. Cost is $15 per cap.

Our Lady knows exactly what it is like to stand by and see someone you love suffer and die.

An introduction to what happens next.

I have a favour to ask. Would you pray with me?
I’m more aware than ever before of how much we need the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, during this time of the pandemic. All the unknowns make for great anxiety. And then there’s so much loss – the loss of so many lives, the loss of livelihood, the loss of plans we had made, the loss of simple things, like hugs and smiles that are now hidden behind face masks. But I do believe deep in my heart that even at times like these God’s grace abounds. But we need the Spirit to give us the eyes to see it.

This pandemic has already changed our lives forever. It’s forcing us to reimagine ourselves as the followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Those first disciples didn’t know how to be Church but had to listen to the quiet voice of the Spirit and dare to go where that voice led them. We’re pretty much in the same situation.

So if you feel inspired, would you join me for the next nine days to pray this novena? Just as Jesus told his followers to gather in the Upper Room and devote themselves to prayer till he would send them the Holy Spirit, so we can do the same. And we can do this together even though separated by space.
Click here to access Dan Schutte's  NOVENA FOR PENTECOST. 
It’s been many years since I last made a novena, nine days dedicated to prayer. But if there’s ever a moment when we all could use the light and wisdom of the Holy Spirit, it’s now. While we wait till we can be together again for Sunday worship, this is a way we can join our hearts in prayer, as those first disciples did, and wait in hope to receive the Comforter, the Spirit of Jesus.
Begin today, and come back each day for the nine days of prayer as we move slowly toward the Feast of Pentecost.

Welcome to our celebration of the Resurrection

Welcome to our celebration of the Passion of The Lord

A different Reflection

These days are some of the most challenging and frightening we have encountered in the last fifty years.

So many things we take for granted have been stripped away leaving us with a sense of loss, grief, dislocation, and vulnerability. Our technology normally gives us a sense of power and control, but this has been taken away by the spread of COVID-19 – a microscopic parasite thousands of times smaller than a grain of salt. It has no respect for borders, nationality, gender or religion. Such a small organism with such a terrible impact.

None of us would have imagined that it would bring our patterns of ministry, outreach, and public worship to a halt in the ways it has: no public gatherings, self-isolation, being locked out from visiting loved ones in nursing homes – the list goes painfully on and on for us all. A simple organism that has been described as being on the boundaries of what we call life is challenging life as we know it.

On the verge of entering into Holy Week, my thoughts turned to another single-celled organism we call yeast. In ancient Israel, yeast was removed from households for the week of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread (Exod 12:17). As precious as it was, once removed it served as a reminder of the Exodus journey from slavery to freedom.

One of the images Jesus used to describe the growth of the reign of God was that of the yeast in Matthew 13:33. This parable stressed how yeast, like a virus, works in hidden ways, and yet it can have an enormous impact. In order for it to do its job effectively, it must be worked thoroughly into the dough and left to do its work of leavening. Early Christianity could not operate in public, judged by many to be a destructive and corrupting influence on society. It needed to work in hidden ways, and yet it would go on to have an enormous impact on the world.

Fear, grief, panic, and selfishness are being quietly matched by compassion, kindness, and generosity as people of faith work the leaven of Jesus’ message into this moment. Hope does spring eternal. New connections, and new ways of serving and worshipping, are emerging day by day. There was no synagogue or Temple for that first Passover – it has always been a feast to be celebrated in the context of family. This year our Holy Week will be the same.

...and then share in the reading of The Passion of Our Lord Christ

A Parish Prayer in time of Pandemic

Heavenly Father, loving and healing God:
In faith, we come before You asking for your grace, wisdom, and trust in this time of anxiety and distress.
Keep us safe and protect the most vulnerable among us with the healing hand of your Son, Jesus. Comfort those already afflicted and bless them with perseverance and hope.
Grant insight and wisdom in abundance to those who search for vaccines, generosity to those who care for the infirm, and consolation to those families who have lost a loved one.
Give us all a full measure of compassion and boundless care for the common good so that we might fully contribute to every effort to halt the further spread of this contagion. May your Holy Spirit breathe courage, commitment, and compassion into our hearts.
May we, parishioners of Nazareth Parish, find our strength in your Son’s heart, where humanity and divinity touch, and where healing is most richly found.

How will we live our Lent?

For most of us, there is an acute awareness that so many have been abused within the Church, but we never have the opportunity to truly hear their stories. Neither did many of the Bishops at the Vatican Conference on the Abuse of Minors.. until they heard the cries of survivors in the prepared testimonies during that conference. Those testimonies are presented here. Please read them - hear the pain and the despair - and during Lent, pray especially that we , as church, can find the way forward to compassion and healing for all the victims of abuse.

First Testimony         
Second Testimony          
Third Testimony          
Fourth Testimony          
Fifth Testimony

2018 ACBC Social Justice Statement

Homelessness is a challenge for all levels of society: for government, for Church and community, and for us as individuals. Each one of us can make a difference and, when we join with others, we can be a real force for change that ensures everyone has a place to call home. 
Watch the Video on the 2018 Social Justice Statement, and be challenged by the very real need to provide afforable housing for all. 
Read the full Statement here
Get involved!  Organise a car load and a night out in Melbourne to learn how our parish can do more.

Catholic Church releases report in response to Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

Friday 31 August 2018  Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 

Read a brief report in Melbourne Catholic

There is a link to the full response at the end of the Melbourne  Catholic article

Although the days are passing rapidly and the months disappearing,
we are still in the Easter Season
and it is still OK to being eating chocolate!
Even more importantly,
we should still be singing and proclaiming ALLELUIA everyday.



We are called to say yes.
That the kingdom might break through
To renew and to transform
Our dark and groping world.
We stutter and we stammer
To the lone God who calls
And pleads a New Jerusalem
In the bloodied Sinai Straights.
We are called to say yes
That honeysuckle may twine
And twist its smelling leaves
Over the graves of nuclear arms.
We are called to say yes
That children might play
On the soil of Vietnam where the tanks
Belched blood and death.
We are called to say yes
That black may sing with white
And pledge peace and healing
For the hatred of the past.
We are called to say yes
So that nations might gather
And dance one great movement
For the joy of humankind.
We are called to say yes
So that rich and poor embrace
And become equal in their poverty
Through the silent tears that fall.
We are called to say yes
That the whisper of our God
Might be heard through our sirens
And the screams of our bombs.
We are called to say yes
To a God who still holds fast
To the vision of the Kingdom
For a trembling world of pain.
We are called to say yes
To this God who reaches out
And asks us to share
His crazy dream of love.
From Edwina Gateley, "There Was No Path So I Trod One" (1996, 2013)


 Most Reverend Denis Hart, D.D., 

Apostolic Administrator of Melbourne,

is pleased to invite 

Priests, Deacons and Parishioners

of the Archdiocese of Melbourne 

to the

Liturgical Reception and Solemn Mass of the

Ninth Archbishop of Melbourne 

Most Reverend Peter A Comensoli DD STL MLitt PhD 


Clergy Only:

If you wish to concelebrate please bring an alb. Stole and chasuble will be provided


Other Guests:

Note to Guests (other than clergy):

This booking is for entry to the Cathedral only and is not a reserved seat . 

  St Patrick’s Cathedral

1 Cathedral Place, East Melbourne 

Wednesday 1 August 2018 at 7pm 

The Liturgical Reception and Solemn Mass will be followed by light refreshments at

Central Hall, 20 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.


Eric Hodgens, a priest of the Melbourne Archdiocese, also wrote in La Croix:


We all have a father, and almost any man can biologically father a child, but the irreplaceable and unique role of fathers is often little acknowledged.

Dads help their children thrive
Children do better academically, emotionally, and socially when their father has greater involvement in their lives. They tend to take more risks, while also developing greater self-discipline. Involved fathers are also more likely to have a stronger influence on their children’s moral development and religious belief and practice.

The kind of involvement is important too.
The most effective forms involve:
• Listening, encouraging, and conveying warmth
• Providing everyday assistance
• Providing reasonable and consistent behavior correction, and
• Facilitating children’s increased independence over time.

Dads do it differently
Father’s play styles and type of nurturing provides unique benefits:
• Through roughhousing type of play children are prompted to develop their gross motor skills
• Encouragement of risk-taking in play develops confidence
• They tend to use more questions in play, which encourages children’s interaction and develops vocabulary
• They inculcate a strong physical sense of protection. Children who spend lots of time with their fathers tend to be less vulnerable 
• Fathers tend to provide firmer discipline, whereas mothers tend to negotiate more. Both are important, with the firmer correction prompting children to achieve goals

November is the month of the Holy Souls

At this time each year, we focus on the great communion of saints –
On All Saints Day, the wonderful company of saints we know as part of the reality of our Catholic tradition;
On All Souls Day – those who have died – Friends, colleagues, relatives ……
Others whom we have known …worked with …laughed with …wept with …walked with …
Many of them are not famous. Their statues are not in churches but their pictures are in our homes and their stories alive in our community, and in us. We know of their goodness and their struggles.
We now pray for them, and remember them with love, celebrating in faith their journey to God, now within the great communion of saints.
As we sit in silent contemplation, let us reflect on the great communion of saints - those already in the light of God’s presence and those still to reach that state – as we listen to a new hymn by Dan Schutte.  

Bishop Mark has taken the news by storm!

The Jesuits invite us to use Advent to prepare for the Lord

Image result for australian  christmas lighting
December has arrived! Suddenly, houses are being wrapped in wondrous displays of lighting in anticipation of Christmas, and the end of the year is hurtling along with end of year activities, parties, gift buying, cooking and the busyness of the pre-Christmas season.

For us, this pre-Christmas season has another aspect to it. Just as it intensifies the hustle and bustle of daily life December can also offer a radical break with that hustle and bustle. When we name this pre-Christmas period as Advent, we accept the invitation of Advent's promise to enter into a fuller sense of time.

As we move through the coming weeks of Advent, stopping to contemplate Christ's Incarnation in a particular time and place, we can become more fully present in our own time and place. During Advent, prayerful expectation can lead to purposeful action, including service to those in need and grateful attention to friends and family. Without contemplation, action devolves into mere activity.

Advent, as a time of preparation for the for birth of the Christ child, invites us to sit with Scripture so that we may learn how to linger, how to be patient, how to be still.
Jesuit Communications is inviting people to connect more prayerfully with the sacred scriptures this Advent season, and their reflections can be found here. Alternatively they can be found on Facebook here.


'Knock, knock. Who's there? More than half the church!'

An Editorial at the National Catholic Reporter on Oct 25, 2018 has an interesting line on the topic of womens' place in the church, which is also worthwhile. Read it here.


Pope Francis Blesses the World

On March 27, 2020 Pope Francis delivered an extraordinary Urbi et Orbi message and blessing for the coronavirus, and it was striking. He walked up the long stairs in St. Peter’s Square in the dark and rain by himself, limping and with no umbrella. Then, he delivered the message to an empty St. Peter’s Square.

Later, Pope Francis raised the Blessed Sacrament through the doors of St. Peter’s Basilica to overlook the dark, empty square where the rain poured, and blessed the world. It was stunning to see him embrace the spiritual and physical feelings of this current moment as he brought himself and the Blessed Sacrament into the storm.

Francis reflected on Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus calms the storm after being woken from sleeping in the boat. He reminds us that the Lord’s message to us is to keep faith, “which is not so much believing that [God] exists, but coming to [God] and trusting in [God],” he said.

But the Pope also reflected on our need to take stock of how we have been asleep in the boat.

Lord, in this world, that you love more than we do, we have gone ahead at breakneck speed, feeling powerful and able to do anything. Greedy for profit, we let ourselves get caught up in things, and lured away by haste… We were not shaken awake by wars or injustice across the world, nor did we listen to the cry of the poor or of our ailing planet. We carried on regardless, thinking we would stay healthy in a world that was sick. Now that we are in a stormy sea, we implore you: “Wake up, Lord!”


A DIY edifying film festival for the socially distanced.

There is nothing like being unexpectedly homebound, as the coronavirus has done to us all.

Even if you are working remotely, the days may be shorter because others are in a working-from-home situation, too. Bored children of different ages may clamor for attention and doing something together that doesn't entail little pieces and accusations of cheating may be just the ticket to a varied and multiple intelligence approach to making this time a positive experience.

As NCR's film critic, I have created a list of edifying films we can watch together as grownups, families with children, or solo. Reluctant homeschoolers may find this helpful as part of their "curriculum." If you live alone, you might consider making a home cinema divina retreat in these days, seeing and reflecting on a film and the day's Scripture reading. With so much access to technology these days, we can benefit spiritually and as members of the human family from watching stories on the screen.

This list is sourced from my Facebook friends and my own list of favourite films that edify, inspire and sometimes challenge. They include my brief comments parenthetically. Most are available on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and other streaming services, including libraries, although some may need to be rented.
The article also includes some questions that encourage discussion. Why not get the family all to watch the same movie at the same time and then have a zoom meeting for them all to engage and converse? 

Be Not Afraid

As Catholic artists come together to pray for us, it is good to be able to put faces to the names of composers we have sung so often.

Where is our church heading?

The USA is reeling once again in the wake of the level of abuse and cover up that has been revealed in the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report published on August 14, 2018. Attorney General Josh Shapiro said the report identified 301 priests who abused children and more than 1000 victims.

At the same time as the Pennsylvania Report was becoming public knowledge, there was a report from the UK that the sexual abuse at two prominent Benedictine schools was considerably higher than was reflected by conviction figures with monks hiding allegations to protect the Church’s reputation.

Kim Smolik from Leadership Roundtable (An organisation that promotes best practices and accountability in the management, finances, communications, and human resources development of the Catholic Church in the U.S., including greater incorporation of the expertise of the laity.) says that ‘the Catholic Church in the United States, and elsewhere is at a precipice.’ In the statement issued by the Leadership Roundtable on August 27, she goes on to say:

“Catholic leaders, lay and ordained, must create a new culture of leadership and management that is transparent, accountable, competent, and grounded in justice in order to restore trust and safeguard the essential mission of the Catholic Church.
For the culture to change, the Church must practice accountability at every level and not just in terms of sexual abuse”

Smolik goes on, “the underlying conditions were decades in the making; solving these problems will require a long term, transformational change that must begin with immediate steps.”

Finally, the statement finishes with “As lay, religious, and ordained leaders, in this critical time we understand that the solution rests with each of us in the Church to live up to our respective ecclesial responsibility and to act.”

and a warm farewell to Archbishop Hart.

  As we welcome Bishop Peter we also offer our gratitude and thanks to Archbishop Denis.
On 22 June 2001 he was appointed Archbishop of Melbourne. On 29 June 2001 he received the Pallium in St Peter's Square, Rome with the other newly appointed Archbishops at the hands of Pope John Paul II. On 1 August 2001 Archbishop Hart took possession of the See of Melbourne. 
He has given our Archdiocese faithful leadership over the last 17 years, and  will continue to do so as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the installation of Archbishop-elect Comensoli on Wednesday 1 August.
As you ponder this next stage of your journey Bishop Denis, know that we are grateful for your presence in our lives of faith, and that our prayers will support you as we hold you gently before our merciful and gracious God.

We have recently celebrated the feast of St Joseph the Worker on May 1, and in doing so we are reminded by Pope Leo XIII (in Rerum Novarum 1891) that our work makes us, in effect, co-creators of the world with God.  To commemorate the feast of St Joseph the Worker, Bishop Vincent Long (as the chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council) sent out a Pastoral Letter " A Fair Day's Pay - for the dignity of workers ad the good of all."  In it he challenges us as Church to consider what else can we do as a people and a nation to reawaken Australia's commitment to a just wage.  Read it here.

Do we really want our church to change?

Massimo Faggioli (Professor of theology and religious studies at Villanova University) goes further than just calling for change. He says in his article in Commonweal "Trent's Long Shadow" that "Tackling the failures that made the sex-abuse crisis possible will involve many changes—changes to the church’s relationship with civil authorities and criminal justice, cultural and spiritual changes, but also changes in the structure of the institution itself. It is finally time to revisit the basic models of ecclesial organization that the Council of Trent imposed on the Catholic Church."

The latter sentence here held a resonance with Fr Linh's homily last weekend, when he artfully used the analogy of tidying up a woman's handbag to help us understand the very real need to have a good look at our 'bag of life' - to look carefully at the contents we hold onto and to ask ourselves what really is important? What do we need to keep as still being valuable and what do we need to throw out, being no longer useful? He asked us to consider what is it that we need to be faithful to?

In the context of the Sunday scriptures, Fr Linh reminded us that the Israelites were going through a time of reassessment, when Joshua challenged them to look into their bag of life, and to reassess which god they were committed to. Where would they place their allegiance - in the gods of the Amorites, the land in which they were now living, or in the God who had brought them out of Egypt? To whom would they be faithful?

In the gospel a similar request was made to the disciples and their faithfulness was put to the test.

In the context of the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Fr Linh reminded us of our faithfulness to the God of life and love, as we re-arrange our bag of life and continue to hold onto a genuine welcome, protection and hospitality towards those who have been displaced from their homelands.

In the context of the Plenary Council, that question of "what is it that we need to be faithful to?" seems to be shouting out to every Australian Catholic, to look into the bag of life of the church and their own lived experience, and to re-assess what needs to be kept, protected and developed, and what needs to be jettisoned. Perhaps as we contemplate our participation in the Listening and Dialogue sessions, we also need to think about which aspects of our faith and the practice of our faith, are we prepared to be faithful to.

More pointedly, perhaps we need to ask ourselves whether our church is still important enough to us, and are we able to whole heartedly get involved in the Plenary Council, to be part the process that will steer the Australian Church into the future?

So, what is my responsibility to effect change?

Fr Thomas Rosica, (Founding CEO of the Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation and Television Network in Canada) in his article "We can only move forward when we name the evil of clericalism" refers to the words of Pope Francis in his letter to the People of God 'it is impossible to think of a conversion of our activity as a Church that does not include the active participation of all the member's of God's people." 
Further on Rosica says "Ordained ministers and lay persons suffer from clericalism. If we are to learn anything from the current crisis facing the church, reform, healing, renewal must come about from every single member of the church, most especially lay women and men who have been commissioned by their baptism to be salt and light, leaven and hope, agents of renewal and witnesses to hope. As members of the church, we must decide once and for all that cronyism has no place among us...Any internal and cloistered bodies that answer only to themselves without transparency, honesty and accountability are destined for irrelevance and ruination."
An editorial piece from National Catholic Reporter "The Body of Christ must reclaim our church" on August 17,2018 finishes with these words "The next time you go to mass and as you kneel in the silence that envelops the church just before the liturgy begins, utter a prayer for this battered and wounded body we call the church. Pray for a renewal and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, and pray for a reform of our broken system. Then glance to your left and your right. Kneeling beside you are likely the strongest allies you have in rebuilding a church so badly in need of reform."
This affects all of us - the people of God. It's more than past time that we the laity demand more of our church leaders." 
Thomas Rosica finishes his article with "Francis has begun the exodus leading to this reform...will we follow?" 
To answer that headline question above - you and I have a responsibility, as baptised members of the People of God, to be part of the movement under the direction of the Holy Spirit to bring about good and effective change within our church . Please take up the invitation to be involved in the Plenary Council which has already begun. Seek out opportunities within your own parish  to participate in the Listening and Dialogue sessions currently being offered. 
If you have missed the invitation here in our parish please give DICK DANCKERT a ring on 0400 579 823 and let him know you are interested.
If you need more information read more about the Plenary Council here, or you can visit the Plenary Council website where you can make an individual submission if you want to do that.

Plenary - Do we have time to listen?

The temptation is to find a quiet corner, coffee in hand, and type in my response to the plenary question on my smart phone, sending it sailing into the iCloud heaven, hoping that my voice will sway the bishops to make some change to something I am not happy about. I finish my coffee, and get on with my life. If things don’t change, well, I tried my best to make a contribution, didn’t I? Isn’t that what plenary is all about?

Yet when I listen more deeply to the plenary invitation, I discover that it is firstly an invitation to listen. Let us “listen to what the Spirit is saying.” (Rev 2:7). What a wonderful invitation we have received from the Bishops of Australia! This scripture passage, siting as it does, underneath the logo of Plenary Council 2020, is at the heart of our engagement during this period of listening and dialogue for the Church in Australia.

While my current concerns are significant and should be voiced, what else is God speaking into my heart at this time? Am I able to come to a place of stillness and contemplation, and listen with the ear of my heart to what the Spirit is saying in my life? And am I willing to share this experience with others? Plenary is an invitation to listen… and to dialogue. After all, the plenary question is “what do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”

We accompany Jesus on this plenary journey, and are invited into Gospel encounters. Who do we meet at the heart of the Gospel? Our family, friends, neighbours and work colleagues. The Gospel people are today’s people, experiencing the same hopes and joys, griefs and sorrows as those from centuries earlier. We are invited in these plenary days to sit with a drink in the midday Australian sun, conversing with a woman from outside the religious tradition, and outside her own social circle (John 4). We listen attentively to two travellers, downcast on their way home on a dusty outback track after witnessing everything they believed about their faith being torn away (Luke 24:13-35). We experience the elation of those coming back from mission to the growth areas of our urban centres, fresh with stories of new life (Luke 10:17). We share in the grief of friends heartbroken at the loss of their beloved friend or family member (John 11).

In this time of privileged encounter, our bishops invite us to honour the stories we hold in our hearts and those we hear, by sharing the wisdom gleaned and questions raised. We are encouraged to raise our voices, to become a cloud of witnesses, sharing in the question of “what do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?” There can be no more important question. And we are a pilgrim people. We recognise that we need one another, and by listening to the truth of one another, we step more deeply into the Divine Truth, connected as we are in the One Spirit. By prayerfully listening to one another, and avoiding the temptation to race to the nearest answer, we may open our eyes and ears to what the Spirit is saying in our midst.

I hope and pray that when it comes time to submit my response to plenary, my mind and heart will have been changed by many fruitful conversations, particularly with those who hold views and beliefs different to my own.

Our Parish is growing and changing!

Having opened Lisieux CPS this year with small numbers and a small educational space in the Carmel Centre,  it is now beginning to take great shape as the first stage grows bigger week by week.
From this ...                                                                                                                     this

Already a steering committee has been formed, which will work with Fr Linh and CEM to develop our fourth Parish Catholic Primary School. To be known as St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School, it is planned to be operational in 2020. Currently there is but an empty block of land, however a community meeting several weeks ago gave the concept plans a positive tick. The next step is to learn about St Catherine, and to develop a logo and a motto, both of which are important aspects of defining the identity of a new school.
[A task for the reader: do an internet search and find out when St Catherine's feastday is, and what she might be patron saint for]
From this...                                                                                                                       this

Finally, something that has been talked about for possibly the last 40 years is coming to fruition!  It has long been desired to have a catholic secondary college somewhere south of the Barwon River and in 2020 that will happen. Although not a Parish school, IONA COLLEGE will reside within our parish boundaries and many of our current students may well be part of the first intake at the college.  Iona will be a co-educational college administered by the Archdiocese of Melbourne and Catholic Education Melbourne. Situated on the corner of Boundary Road and Horseshoe Bend Rd, it too is an open block of land at this time. It is expected that construction will commence in Septmeber 2018.

Late Addition: Connecticut Bishop appoints laywoman to lead parish

NEW YORK - Less than two months after serving as delegate in the Bishops Synod on Youth which called women’s leadership within the Church “a duty of justice,” Bishop Frank Caggiano has established a new leadership model in a Connecticut parish, appointing a woman to serve as parish life coordinator.

The appointment of Dr. Eleanor W. Sauers, which was announced on Sunday in a letter to parishioners of St. Anthony of Padua in Fairfield, Connecticut, grants Sauers decision-making authority over a team of priests who will be responsible for sacramental ministry.

Read the full story here.

Blessings from our family to yours...may your Christmasbe filled with joy and hope.

Blessed for all time is the earth

forgiveness descends from on high

we greet the Lord with joy

we adore the mystery in silence.

Liturgy of Bose 

Its not about women priests

December 21, 2018

The Gospel for Christmas Mass at dawn reminds us that distinctions of “sacred and profane,” of “divine and secular” are constructs of the human imagination. In Luke’s mind, God never intended the world to be so compartmentalized, and the incarnation of Christ demonstrates this. The birth of Jesus revealed that any part of creation could be a suitable dwelling place for the Almighty.

In subtle ways, creation continues to make Christ present today. Those of us who follow Christ and seek his return must train ourselves to encounter him every day. As we become skilled at seeking out these signs of grace, our ears may catch a hint of the angels’ song and our minds discover the great glory of God all around us.
The incarnation of Christ reminds us that the earth is sacred and that the human world we have constructed upon it can be a vehicle for holiness. God, in fact, created it to be this way, but human blindness obscured that reality. Part of the revelation that Jesus’ birth offered was a reminder that God created the universe to dwell in it with us, as the opening chapters of Genesis describe. In the incarnation, the same dust that constitutes all things gave form to the Son as well.

In another example of the intertwining of the glorious and the lowly, these shepherds become the Son’s first evangelists. Shepherds were rough characters, spending their time following their flocks through wild country beyond the comforts of settled life or Rome’s military protection. Nativity sets often depict them as gentle pastoralists, but a better modern parallel would be cowboys or bikers. These would be intimidating guests just after a birth and even more unlikely bearers of a divine message. Nevertheless, they were the ones the angels sent.

A scholar of Luke’s Gospel, François Bovon, speaks of the “intertwining of the glorious and the lowly” in Luke’s account of the incarnation. On the night of Jesus’ birth, the line between heaven and earth is blurred. Not only do angels appear to shepherds, but they appear to shepherds who are going about their normal duties. These are not individuals on a vision quest or undergoing some kind of mystical initiation or heavenly ascent. These are shepherds on the job, doing what they normally do, but on that night, they perceived the glory of God and heard the angels’ anthem.

Luke does not speculate on the shepherds’ unusual sensitivity to God’s voice that night or explain what kind of amazement their message provoked. His account of the mingling of heaven and earth at the birth of Christ instead directs later generations of disciples to pay attention to the grace all around them. Jesus’ birth reminds us that any part of creation can communicate God’s presence. If we live with that expectation, we, too, will hear angels sing even as we toil. When we remember that sacred and profane are constructs of the human mind, the glory of God will shine around us. Like those shepherds who were Christ’s first evangelists, we, too, will have a message of amazement and joy for all we meet.
  Michael R. Simone, S.J.,  teaches Scripture at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry 
  Downloaded from  America Magazine on 24.12.2018 at 2.41pm


Francis' testimony: will he finally come clean on sex abuse?

The frequent -flier pope will soon face one of the biggest challenges of his pontificate.
Robert Mickens, Rome
Vatican City 
February 1, 2019
Read the full article here  
Downloaded from La Croix International on 2.2.2019  
Pope Francis during a speech on July 31, 2018 at St. Peter's Square, Vatican. (Photo by Andreas Solaro/AFP)

The Internet is a Resource of Our Time

Sr Susan Wolf, (a Sister of Notre Dame in Chardon Ohio) says that the internet is a mission field, so let's be there!; and the internet is also a ministry tool, so let's use it! She is a firm believer that when a faith-based community uses the internet and social networking for mission, they are in fact demonstrating that we can engage peope in the mission of Christ on line as well as face-to face.
Pope Francis says that "ever since the internet first became available, the Church has always sought to promote its use in the service of the encounter between persons, and of solidarity among all.' With this line, Pope Francsi introduces his message ofr the 53rd Annual World Communications Day, to be held on the Sunday before Pentecost.
This year's theme is                                                                                                                  
                                            We are members one of another  (Eph 4,25) 
                                  From social network communities to the human community .
Pope Frances while acknowledging that “The Net is a resource of our time,” also notes it has often been a source of “disinformation,” and has been used by some to distort facts or disrupt interpersonal relationships. Even so, he urges us to use these current communications to bring people together in a positive way.
Read Sr Susan's precis here .
if you would like to read the Pope's message, the link is included at the end of Sr Susan's precis. 

Its not about women priests.

In May 2016, Pope Francis told the assembled membership of the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) he would form a commission to study women deacons. In August that year, he named 12 scholars to The Pontifical Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women. For the first time in the church's long history, an official commission was equally male and female. It provided a report for the Holy Father several months ago.

In speaking to media in late June, the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Luis Ladaria, said it was not the place of the Commission to make a recommendation to the Holy Father.

That's up to you.
Get the facts  in the article by Phyllis Zagano here

[Phyllis Zagano is senior research associate-in-residence at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. She is a member of the Papal Commission for the Study of the Diaconate of Women. Her books include Women Deacons: Past, Present, Future (recently published in France and Canada as Des femmes diacres). A Study Guide is available for free download at]
The video below on the right is the complete session given at Fordham University on Jan 15, 2019.
At this symposium on women deacons past, present, and future, two members of the Papal Study Commission on the Diaconate of Women spoke publicly for the first time. They were joined by an American woman religious who has done research on how women deacons would be received in U.S. parishes.

The video below on the left is a shorter interview given after the Symposium.

LENT is an important time...

... for us as Catholics. It is a time of transformation, meaning that each one of us should see within ourselves a complete change so that our personhood is improved. However, we will never be transformed if we don’t face the truths of ourselves and our world.

The Catholic Church in Australia is not an easy place to be right now, it is certainly not an easy place to claim as our own. More than ever before, the Catholic Church, and that is us, needs conversion, needs transformation for it has betrayed both the gospel message and the people who have lived that gospel message. It can never be business as usual again. Several weeks ago when Bishop Mark Edwards visited the parish he told us that sexual abuse in the church would impact his ministry for the rest of his life. It is not a far-fetched notion to say that it will affect us as the church for the rest of our lives too.

Within our church there are naturally conservatives, moderates and radicals - all are important - and all would agree that change must happen if our church is to once again be a place of mercy for God’s people. As the people of God in Geelong and the Surf Coast we must have the courage now to admit that we have moved from the vision of Jesus, that we need to repent of our sins, in order to begin the transformation of reclaiming our true Catholic identity.

We need to come home to the heart of the gospel.

Within each one of us in these times of deep up upheaval, there is a struggle with our allegiance to, and association with our Catholic Church. On Ash Wednesday we will publicly declare our membership to this church with the sign of the cross, a symbol from our baptism that we belong. In these shameful times, we will certainly need courage to visit the shops at Waurn Ponds, walk the streets of Torquay, or meander the riverside of Anglesea, with pride, with the sign of the cross on our foreheads.

As we begin our Lenten journey this week let us each be the transformation we seek for our church. Let us take up the Lenten practices of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer for our own transformation, knowing that the struggles they bring will lead us to Easter joy.

Let us pray during Lent for a deep renewal in our church. Let us pray that the 2020 Plenary Council will bring trust, and hope, and joy back to our church as we hopefully leave behind one of the darkest chapters in our history. We offerthis prayer to our God who listens.


Appealing to the faithful to not allow this season of grace to pass in vain, Pope Francis says that Christians today are invited “to embody the paschal mystery more deeply and concretely in their personal, family and social lives, above all by fasting, prayer and almsgiving.”
Pope Francis' 2019 Lenten Message 

Australian Catholics take stock

John Warhurst (Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University) in his article in La Croix "Australian Catholics take stock as Pell falls." identifies that the reactions of the ordinary church-going regulars of the Catholic faith are often not well represented in the public sphere.  he states that some of the reaction has had a public voice, like the two statements here:
From our Archbishop Peter Comensoli and from Archbishop Mark Coleridge (President ACBC)
However, he continues "The reaction of regular church-going Catholics and the broader Catholic community is harder to capture. Anger and outrage at betrayal, even grief and trauma, was frequent. What they seemed to have in common was devastation for the church and guilt by association by being branded a Catholic in a hurtful way."
There  have been some very valuable videos recently that could be helpful  if you are struggling to voice a cohesive response for yourself.
and there is the beautiful article  "Pietà offers meaning amid the betrayal of the abuse crisis" from National Catholic Reporter.

Coronavirus indulgences evoke Francis' 'ridiculously-pardoning' church

Some may ask 'what are indulgences?' while others may well question 'do we still have indulgences?' 
Decree of the Apostolic Penitentiary on the granting of special Indulgences to the faithful in the current pandemic, 20.03.2020.  In this new decree  Pope Francis  shows a seemingly unprecedented level of pastoral care for those who suffer from the virus - especially those who may die in isolation without being able to receive final rites. 
In a recent article, Joshua McElwee, (Vatican Correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter) refers to Fr James Corkery (an Irish Jesuit)  as saying that the decree evokes a 'ridiculously-pardoning' church. Corkery goes on to say 'Indulgences, in the hands of Francis, must be seen in the context of his dream of a loving, merciful, pardoning, welcoming church.'
If you don't know just what an indulgence is, or if you thought indulgences were dead and gone, read the article, and then read it again and  pause awhile.

Some prayers for Ascension and Pentecost


Bishop Barron asks...

Vatican commission members: Women served as deacons for a millennium

In an interview with Michael J. O’Loughlin, America’s national correspondent, on Jan. 14, Ms. Zagano and Father Pottier, who serve on the Vatican’s Study Commission on the Women’s Diaconate, discussed their research on women deacons and the early church.   

In August 2016, Pope Francis established the Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate to review the theology and history of the office of deacon in the Roman Catholic Church and the question of whether women might be allowed to become deacons. The commission was made up of 12 experts in patristic theology, ecclesiology, and spirituality and was led by Archbishop Luis Ladaria, SJ, who serves as the prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Here are a couple of extra links to good further reading:


A Prayers for Trinity Sunday

“Trinity of Light, Life and Love, you loved us into life and into the light of your wisdom and grace. May we, individually and as a community, grow ever closer to you, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and ever more welcoming of others in our community.”

A glimpse of our life in this parish.

Our people are a friendly...
and fun loving community.
In our Outreach, we support a group of young girls in KonTum, Vietnam
to receive an education they might otherwise not be able to access.
The Easter Vigil is a very special time for us,
as we welcome adults into our faith community through the RCIA.
The Bishop kneels to pray with our confirmation candidates and their sponsors.
Young children are always welcome at our Masses,
and several times a year, families stay and share a meal.
Some come to pray and reflect together,
while others wait patiently for Fr Linh to visit the Aged Care Homes.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is readily available, via a simple phone call.
Our children and their education is the primary concern of our four primary schools.
St Vincent de Paul Society also has a strong presence in our parish.
  • Our people are a friendly...
  • and fun loving community.
  • In our Outreach, we support a group of young girls in KonTum, Vietnam
  • to receive an education they might otherwise not be able to access.
  • The Easter Vigil is a very special time for us,
  • as we welcome adults into our faith community through the RCIA.
  • The Bishop kneels to pray with our confirmation candidates and their sponsors.
  • Young children are always welcome at our Masses,
  • and several times a year, families stay and share a meal.
  • Some come to pray and reflect together,
  • while others wait patiently for Fr Linh to visit the Aged Care Homes.
  • The Sacrament of Reconciliation is readily available, via a simple phone call.
  • Our children and their education is the primary concern of our four primary schools.
  • St Vincent de Paul Society also has a strong presence in our parish.

The priests in my life.

Sometimes we just need to stop...and appreciate the good things in life.

Healing Prayer to the Spirit

Breathe in us, Holy Spirit, when our bodies ache,
   when our arms are sore from holding the Body of Christ,
   when our shoes wear through from walking with others.
Breathe in us, Holy Spirit, when our hearts ache,
   when we are numb from grief or sadness,
   when pain and anguish force us into ourselves.
Breathe in us, Holy Spirit, when our souls ache,
   when you feel so far away from the reality of our world,
   when we struggle to trust that God is with us.

Melb Archdiocese updates

The best place to get Archdiocesan updates on COVID-19 is the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

Government updates

The best place to get National updates on COVID-19 is the Australian Government Department of Health.
The best place to get Victorian updates on COVID-19 is the Department of Health and Human Services Victoria