STEWARDSHIP RESULTS….WE HELP JESUS WITH HIS MISSION BY FINANCING IT AND WORKING IN IT

Jesus gave us a mission. We have responded.
THANK YOU TO THE 319 DONORS FOR YOUR GENEROUS SUPPORT OF OUR PARISH. THIS IS 17% INCREASE IN DONORS.

Our Stewardship Program has finalised and once again we wish to warmly thank everyone for their involvement and generous support. A special thank you goes to Karen Rose and Program Leadership Team and Lorella DiPaolo and to all the volunteers who assisted with the follow-up process.
Letters of confirmation, and where possible, new sets of Stewardship envelopes, are available for collection today– in alphabetical order of surname. Members of the Program Leader- ship Team will be on hand to assist at all Masses. The new pledges take effect from next week and some envelope numbers will have changed. To avoid any confusion please destroy any old envelopes that you may still have.
Pledge cards are available at the church entrance if you have not yet had the chance to complete one. Completed cards can be left in the collection plate or delivered to the Parish Office.
A reminder that Time & Talent sheets are currently being processed and those who responded will be contacted in the near future.

 

 

FR KEVIN AT RENEWAL CONFERENCE IN POLAND

In 1952 following the destruction of World War II, Pope Pius XII urged Catholics to build a better world. In response, Fr.Riccardo Lombardi S.J. of Italy formed a group of Catholics of various vocations and the Pope resourced substantially this new group. Today, this group has 565 members in 25 countries, e.g., 83 in India, 52 in Korea, 42 in the Congo, 39 in PNG, 38 in Italy and smaller groups e.g, 9 in Spain, 8 in Australia, and 6 in France. Our parish renewal project is from this group.
The delegates of the group meet every four years over twelve days. This year they met in September in Krakow, Poland where I attended as a delegate of Australia. We gathered in a centre for spiritual formation. The Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow met us all individually. The conference uses three languages; imagine listening to a sermon three times in French, Spanish and English!
Krakow is where St. John Paul II was born in 1920 and lived until he was elected pope. This year, the diocese had seventy priests ordained. The city is 97 per cent Catholic with 150 churches. It is the venue for World Youth Day in August 2016.
We visited the nearby Auschwitz concentration camp where 1.1 million persons were executed by the Nazis – a very confronting place. We saw the hair, the clothes, and the children’s shoes of those exterminated between 1940 and 1945.
Today, since the fall of communism Poland is growing economically, with good educational and medical facilities, a safe place with good public transport.   …..Kevin McIntosh

OCTOBER 2015 STEWARDSHIP MONTH

A MESSAGE FROM FR KEVIN
My dear friends,
This weekend we commence a special program — a Parish Stewardship Program. We undertake the Program recognising that “Parishes are the Heartbeat of the Church.”
Over the next few weeks we will ask ourselves what it means to be a part of our parish community. We will reflect on the three key areas that identify our parish as a special community of faith:
Firstly, that we are a parish which celebrates faith. We know the importance of gathering as a community to celebrate the Eucharist at Mass, We know that it is the foundation of who we are as a Catholic community. But importantly, we don’t merely attend Mass, we celebrate our faith. As Pope Francis says, “……… it is a beautiful thing to do.”
Secondly, that we are a parish that values engagement. We recognise the importance of being involved in parish groups and ministries. We encourage parishioners to be involved in the many opportunities available to nurture, grow and live our faith — as listed in the Program Time & Talent sheet.
Thirdly, we are a parish that supports generously. We firmly believe in the need to plan and budget for our personal financial commitment to our parish – giving us the resources to sustain our parish today and to grow and respond to Pope Francis’ call to Mission.
| encourage your active involvement in the Program – read the materials, listen to our speakers and discuss the issues with your family and friends. I also invite you to attend the key meeting of the Program —the Parish Information Meeting.
Let us all use this Program as a wonderful opportunity to grow our community of faith in our parish
Yours in Christ,

Rev Kevin McIntosh
Parish Priest

A MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRPERSON
Dear fellow parishioners,
Father Kevin has asked me to be the Chairperson of our Parish Stewardship Program and I am happy to offer and use the gifts I have for this Program.
Together with my fellow members of the Program Leadership Team, i have met with Lorella Di Paolo from the Parish Development Office of the Archdiocese who will be guiding us through the Program. We have all been impressed with the message and structure of the Program and believe it will provide a wonderful opportunity to reflect, discuss and reaffirm what it means to be a parishioner here at our parish.
We are confident that with your support and involvement the Program can bring great benefits for us all as individuals as well as for our entire parish community. I endorse the Program and encourage your active participation. Throughout the course of the Program, please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries.

Warm Regards,
Karen Rose

 

The brochure which includes the Stewardship Pledge Card can be seen and downloaded here.

PARISH GROUPS (OUR YEAR OF FAITH)

All parishioners belonging  to any group are warmly welcomed to a gathering on Tuesday May 6 at 7.30pm in the Parish Centre. There we will discuss the commencement of the PMN (Parish Meeting Night) Initiative.

STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

4adventCandles
Fourth Sunday of Advent

The Gospel from Matthew proclaims “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us’.” St. Paul introduces himself to the Romans, to whom he is writing in the second reading as “Paul…called to be an apostle, and set apart for the Gospel of God.”
That essentially sums up what and where we need to be as we complete our Advent preparations on this Fourth Sunday of Advent with Christmas fast approaching. We, too, are called to be Apostles — the Greek roots of the word “apostle” meant messenger. Thus, there are two important clues for us as stewards as to what Advent and Christmas mean to us personally.
First, is the Good News (Gospel) that God is with us (Emmanuel). The second is that we are called to be messengers of that Good News among all peoples. Christmas is not just a time for us to celebrate the birth of Christ, but it is a time for us to be renewed and to accept our calling to be those messengers, those disciples.
There are often a lot of good feelings at Christmas, but the best is the joy produced by the understanding that God loves us. We join with shepherds and wise men and angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill to all people.”

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

Second Sunday of Advent
Second Sunday of Advent

CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

There is a reason that John the Baptist appears in our Gospel reading for this Second Sunday in Advent calling out, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We might conclude, and not entirely in error, that the reference point is the imminent birth of Christ, the ultimate conclusion of Advent.

However, the meaning of this is much deeper and broader, something which needs to strike a chord in our hearts and in our lives of stewardship. Often we make reference to the fact that stewardship requires conversion. There are actually two accepted translations of μετανοέω/metanoeō, the original Greek word construed as “repent” which begins John the Baptist’s admonition. One is “repent” which is always good advice to us.

The other is “change.” Last week Jesus told us to wake up. This week John the Baptist is telling us to change. Advent is the time for us to come alive, but it is not just an occasion for action. It should also motivate us to alter the way we approach living — to seek ways to live out stewardship in service, in love, and in gratitude.

But, yes, it is a time to be penitent as well. It is a time to repent in the original sense of that word. St. John Chrysostom wrote eloquently on how to repent. He gave us five paths (terms) to lead us to repent: 1. Confession; 2. Forgiveness; 3. Prayer; 4. Almsgiving; 5. Humility. That is good advice for Advent.

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

The First Sunday of Advent Candle
The First Sunday of Advent

CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

“The day is at hand.” (Romans 13:12) “Let us walk in the light of the Lord.” (Isaiah 2:5) These two quotes — the first from Paul’s letter, our second reading, and the second from the prophetic Book of Isaiah (our first reading) — alert us to the fact that this season of Advent is more than just a time to get ready. It is a time to act.

Stewardship is an action word; it is an action concept. It is a reminder that the Lord did not call us to be just a follower; He called us to be a disciple. That means doing things, and this sacred season is a great time to begin doing, or to expand what we are doing, or to improve what we are doing.

The Latin word adventus from which we get the word Advent means “coming.” But who is coming? Of course, we all know the answer to that — Jesus, because we celebrate His birth in just a few short weeks. The Lord reminds us in today’s Gospel that it is not just Christmas we are talking about: “Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.” When are we to awaken? Now! Why are we to awaken? Because it is time to be spiritually alive and spiritually aware. How do we put our spiritual lives in order? We are to “put on the armor of light.” Jesus is coming, and we must be prepared.

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

christking12CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

“Amen, I say to you; today you will be with me in Paradise.” Are those not the words we all aspire to hear? Jesus reminds us throughout Holy Scripture that we must keep our stewardship focus on two points: Jesus Himself, and the fact that our lives lead to Eternity. It is these thrusts that should allow us to live existences of stewardship.

This Sunday is traditionally called Christ the King. Yes, we recognize Jesus’ Kingship over all the earth and all its peoples, but the Gospel points to the part of His dominion that cannot be matched by anyone else: He rules over death as well as over life. St. Catherine of Siena once said, “All the way to heaven is heaven, because Jesus said, ‘I am the way’.”

As we prepare for Advent, which begins next weekend, and as we end our liturgical year this week, we need to dedicate ourselves anew to being good stewards — to realizing that we are children of God, that Christ is our King, that we are gifted, and that we are called to share those gifts. We also need to join with the forgiven thief who was crucified next to Jesus and place our total trust in God. While we attempt to be disciples of the Lord, all we must utter is “Thank you, God” and “Lord, remember me.”

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

Icon St PaulCATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

Most theologians concur that Advent is a dual preparation, both for the birth of Christ but also for His Second Coming. All the readings for this last Sunday in Ordinary Time point toward preparation and Christ’s Second Coming (the Parousia or Second Advent).

Nevertheless, that can be complex and complicated, so let us concentrate on the simple exercise of preparation. If we practice stewardship, we understand that the Church, its Masses and liturgies, and its approach to organizing our faith lives are all intended to deepen our relationship with Christ. Stewardship is intended to lead us to serve others, but even more so it is a means to bring us closer to the Lord.

The reading from Malachi, Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, and Jesus’ words in the Temple from Luke’s Gospel all direct us to the idea of preparing ourselves spiritually. We all know that symbols of Christmas seem to appear earlier and earlier. Our stewardship lesson this week is to keep focused, to maintain our concentration on being good stewards and disciples of Christ, and to try to avoid getting too caught up in all the activity and adornments that come with the Advent/Christmas season, which of course is a detriment of our holy approach to this special time of year.

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

Icon St Paul
Icon St Paul

CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

What does it mean to hope in the Lord? The seven brothers and their mother who are featured in the first reading from 2 Maccabees both know and understand what it means. One of the brothers declares that everything he has received came from God, and he hopes to receive God’s blessings again. Another brother speaks of the “hope God gives of being raised up by Him.”

Living lives of stewardship is living lives of hope. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul speaks of the “good hope” we have of God’s grace. Paul reminds us that the Lord “will strengthen and guard you.” The hope we have in the Lord is what gives us the total trust in Him which allows us to live lives of stewardship.

Jesus encourages us to have hope in the living God in today’s Gospel. A stewardship approach to life exemplifies our confidence in God’s goodness and love. We are to take His love and spread it among those around us through sharing and service. Reaching out to others, knowing that we are strengthened by God, is a natural and fulfilling way to live. Good stewards are optimistic. As Helen Keller once said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

zacchaeus-sycamore-treeCATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

Most of us have no trouble visualizing Zacchaeus, a short man who climbed the sycamore tree so he could see Jesus as the Lord passed. Zacchaeus was on the verge of something important, but he probably did not go up in the tree so Jesus would notice him; he climbed the tree because he was seeking Jesus.

Zacchaeus was wealthy; he was wealthy because he had over-collected taxes from the people. They hated him, but as Jesus reminds us all at the end of the Gospel passage, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” Zacchaeus was not a good steward of his blessings.

Jesus was aware of that when he went to Zacchaeus’ home to be fed. Something important happened to Zacchaeus; he went through a conversion experience – an encounter with Christ, an event that changed his life. He began to share with special regard to the poor. He began to reach out to those whom he had mistreated. That’s what stewardship can do for us, too. We must undergo a transformation of mind and heart. Then we must reach out to God, to one another, and especially to those who are destitute, both spiritually and actually. As Blessed Mother Teresa once said, “Love is not patronizing, and charity isn’t about pity; it is about love.”

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

saintpaulCATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

“I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.” With those words, Paul compared his life to a race, something to which most people can relate. We live in a world that is infatuated with sports and athletics. Perhaps Paul’s world was not like that, but his willingness to use it as a metaphor certainly strikes a chord with our society today.

Our faith lives, our lives of stewardship, parallel Paul’s in terms of it being a race. We are not talking about a sprint, mind you, but a long, drawn out marathon. It is easy to stumble and it is easy to quit, but the real challenge is maintaining our faith and following our faith. Stewardship as a way of life presents us with many challenges and many hurdles, to use another racing term.

The faithful steward strives to keep moving, to keep praying, to keep trying to fulfill Jesus’ call and exhortation to us to be His disciples, His followers. Paul admits that he could not have run the race, could not have remained true to it, without the help and strength offered to him by the Lord. There is no shame, and no humility, in admitting that we need help, lots of it, to maintain our faith in a world which tests it constantly.

 

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

parable-persistent-widowCATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

Many have referred to St. Paul as “The Persistent Apostle.” Thus, Paul serves as a great example and model for what is laid out for us in all the readings for this 29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Persistence and its importance to people of faith is an intricate part of each of the readings.

The conversion of Paul is recounted six times in scripture — three times in the Acts of the Apostles and three times by Paul himself in his letters. The intensity and the persistence of Paul’s faith lead us to see how important persistence is to live a life of stewardship.

From the persistence of Moses in the first reading from Exodus, to Paul’s urging us to “be persistent” in his letter to Timothy, to the Parable of the Persistent Widow in the Gospel from Luke, we are advised that we should always pray and never give up.

Perseverance is a hallmark of good stewardship. Good stewards know that living in that way is not always easy and comfortable. Yet with the help and guidance of the Lord, the strength to both live that way and to fulfill Jesus’ call to carry on lives of discipleship is both possible and a path to great joy and satisfaction. Paul wrote,

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

 

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PARISH MEETING NIGHT

????????PARISH MEETING NIGHT

This is a concept where all the parish groups gather on one night a month, beginning with a brief prayer session together in the church, followed by their group meeting for one hour, concluding with supper together. At the parish of Kings Park (formerly St Albans West), they have followed this concept for 16 years with about 230 people involved each month. There, they use classrooms and other spaces for meetings. Each year, parishioners are asked to be in a group whichever they have the energy for in that year. Coming together on one night enthuses people as they are not meeting in isolated venues. Minutes are done at the meeting and emailed to those not present.  At our Parish Assembly, this proposal was accepted for us to implement next year. Parishioners can be part of multiple Ministries as they do not need to attend monthly meetings whereas Parishioners are asked to be part of one Group who do attend a monthly meeting. The difference between Ministries and Groups will be outlined in the Parish Expo on 15 & 16 February 2014. Information will also be part of the next Neighbourhood letter to describe the various Ministries and Groups for parishioners to be part of for the next 12 months.

STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

ten-lepers2CATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

At the heart of stewardship is gratitude. The Greek philosopher Epicurus wrote, “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” There is certainly stewardship wisdom in that quote.

It follows upon the wisdom that is displayed in today’s readings. In the Gospel from Luke, for example, Jesus cures 10 lepers. They have been given something — health – which they once only hoped for. Yet only one of them, a Samaritan as a matter of fact, returns to the Lord to thank Him. Jesus says “Where are the other nine?”

Stewardship expects us to focus on our gifts, on our many blessings, not on what we may not have, or what we may have been denied. Not only do we need to concentrate on those gifts, but we need to take the time to thank God and others who may have provided us those gifts. When was the last time you actually thanked your parents for the gift of life? When did you last thank your spouse for all that he or she may have done for you? When did you last thank God in prayer?

According to many Catholic encyclopedias, there are five kinds of prayer — adoration, contrition, love, petition, and thanksgiving. For the good steward, those prayers of thanksgiving should be foremost.

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

parable_of_the_mustard_seedCATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” (Luke 17:6) As is the case with Jesus’ statements almost always, there is a stewardship message here.

Most of us are aware that a mustard seed is incredibly small; in fact, it was one of the smallest seeds known in Jesus’ earthly world. The mulberry tree, on the other hand, was known to have a vast and large network of roots which spread far out from the trunk of the tree.

Jesus’ point is that faith cannot be measured by size or depth. It is as if He is saying that the key is quality, not quantity. It is not the size of one’s faith, but its presence, and the willingness of each person to rely on that faith in trying times.

One of the most important facets of stewardship is trust in God. It is that trust –– a trust built on faith –– which gives us the strength to follow lives of stewardship and service. What Jesus is saying at the end of today’s Gospel, “…we have done what we were obliged to do,” is that service, another important part of stewardship, should be a privilege, not a burden.

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STEWARDSHIP……A WAY OF LIFE

Rich_Man_And_LazarusCATHOLIC STEWARDSHIP FROM SUNDAYS READINGS

St. Paul captures some important aspects of stewardship in the second reading today, as he tells Timothy to “pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.” That formula would seem to apply to being a good spouse, a good parent, a good sibling, a good neighbor, a good employee, a good boss, a good friend. Or, in other words be a good steward.

Stewardship, of course, recognizes how important our relationship to God is, as well as how we live out God’s love by loving others.  If we practice stewardship correctly, it is always on the edge of our consciousness, an important part of our decision-making, and an intricate part of how we live our lives every day, every minute, every place.

The Gospel from Luke may seem a bit heavy in the way it handles the rich man’s treatment of Lazarus. However, Jesus tells us over and over that we must be conscious of those around us; that we need to be aware of how we are blessed in relation to others; and we must appreciate that what we do is in preparation for the next life. Those who live lives of stewardship, who truly love their neighbor, realize what is truly important in life.

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