A Parish Update message from Peter Rush, Chairman, Finance and Development Committee

UPDATE OCTOBER 2020

Dear fellow parishioners,

Regrettably, we have been unable to return to parish life with any sort of normality and at the time of writing this, it is difficult to imagine when we will be able to do so. However, the Finance and Development Committee (FDC) has continued to go about its business as best we can and we thought you might be interested in an update of our activities.

Staff Issues

From the time of our stage 4 lockdown, the Parish Office has been closed and all staff commenced working from home for their normal activities. As much as possible, our dedicated staff have continued to conduct all the normal operational matters of the parish with minimal disruption. Day-to-day matters have been managed well, although, obviously, some activities have had to be temporarily curtailed. The parish office will be reopened as soon as possible but, of course, in line with government requirements and practical measures in place. I would like to thank our staff for their commitment, dedication and flexibility in difficult circumstances.

Finance

While the FDC expected that the finances of the parish would be affected by Covid 19 and the restrictions imposed, we are pleased that the effect has not been as great as we has initially imagined.

Understandably, our weekly collections have reduced but many parishioners have opted to use electronic means of transferring funds to the parish and we are very grateful for this. It remains an available option and if you would like information on how it’s done, please leave a message on the parish office’s line and someone will return to you. Alternatively, if you would like to make an electronic contribution to our accounts directly, the relevant BSB & Account numbers are:

Presbytery A/c-1st Collection BSB: 083 347 Account:674466042

Church A/c-2nd Collection BSB: 083 347 Account: 546358602

Importantly, the parish qualified for the federal government’s JobKeeper program, the first phase of which ended on 30 September. Likewise, we qualify for the second phase, although the financial contribution from the government will reduce and at this stage, it will cease on 31 December. This initiative has been an enormous advantage to the parish as it relieved the financial impact of staff salaries on the parish.

Our income and expenditure continues to be closely monitored and where possible, we have deferred costs to a later date and have scaled back on non-essential items, including some general maintenance matters. As is our routine, the FDC formally reviews our financial position monthly, while expenses are managed on a day-to-day basis.

Parish Connectivity

Fr Kevin continues to live-stream Mass and I know many parishioners use this service.

Parish ministries are connected by Zoom technology, which has enabled many of these groups and the parish generally to continue to function, albeit with some difficulty and restrictions.

Of course, when we are able to attend Mass again remains unclear but the Liturgy Committee will ensure we are able to do so safely and in accordance with requirements when it does happen.

Risk Management

The dangers and restrictions imposed due to Covid 19 have enabled the FDC to implement a risk management strategy, for which we have utilised a risk management ‘tool’ developed by our insurer, CCI. This period has provided an excellent opportunity to ‘road test’ our recently developed risk management strategy and over time, you will see this in operation in the parish more frequently. The aim of the FDC is to ensure that appropriate risk management techniques are implemented in all ministries within the parish. Glenn Morris is leading this work and progress is encouraging.

Strategic Plan

The FDC has also used the additional time due to restricted activities to commence work on the parish strategic plan and while there remains much to be done, FDC members are pleased with progress. The plan is very much in its construction and draft stages and it will be released to all parishioners for comment and feedback in due course. We are fortunate to have the expertise of Michael McConville for this project.

On behalf of Fr Kevin and the FDC, I hope you continue to stay safe and well. Like all of us, I am keen to have life back to ‘normal’, although I can barely remember what that looked like. Please continue to look after yourself and to pray for each other that we will be able to gather again as a community in the not-too-distant future.

God bless you and warm regards,

Peter Rush

Chairman, Finance & Development Committee.

Feast of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop
The Sisters of St Joseph have lived among us since Sr Francis, Sr Lambert and Sr Joseph came in 1916.
In total 87 Sisters have served our Parish, generally two or three residing in the Convent which Fr Gallivan PP donated.
We also thank Sr Jose` who has been with us since 2011 and serves our parishioners with joy and care for which we are very grateful

A message from Archbishop Peter A Comensoli

https://cam.org.au/archbishop/portrait/

07 July 2020

Dear friends in Christ,

Today’s decision to place metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire areas back into Stage 3 lockdown for the next six weeks from 11.59pm Wednesday 8 July is sobering news. It is truly disheartening, and will bring renewed distress to so many families and individuals.

These words from Psalm 22 have come immediately to my mind (words that were on the lips of Jesus as he was crucified): My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest. (Ps 22.1-2)

Yet, I want to encourage you in grace, trusting in the abiding closeness of our loving Lord, who promised to be with us always.

In returning to Stage 3 restrictions in those specific areas, sadly the public celebration of Mass, which we have only just re-commenced, will need to go back to live-streaming; churches will need to be closed again to any private prayer; and the numbers allowed for funerals and weddings will be severely limited.

We expect specific details around the restrictions will be released by the civil authorities over the next 24 hours, and will be communicated to you as soon as possible. I ask for your patience in the meantime.

Now is a time for attentiveness to the care of one another. In the face of our own despondency and fears, our fatigue and anxieties, may we learn to hold firm in faith and hope, and experience sustaining moments of love. As the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews encouraged: Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works. (Heb 24.10)

Friends, while the Psalmist knew struggle and pain, there were also words of confidence that came from the heart: In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame. (Ps 22.4-5)

May our Lord Jesus be with you, and may His Blessed Mother accompany us all.

With every grace and blessing, I remain,
Yours sincerely in Christ Jesus,

Most Rev Peter A Comensoli
Archbishop of Melbourne

A reflection on this week’s Gospel by Sr Kym Harris osb

A reflection by Sr Kym Harris osb and downloaded from http://www.prayasyoucan.com.au

Our lives have times and seasons but no matter how charmed our life might be at any point in time, we have crosses to face. At other times, our crosses may dominate our days, leaving us with a sense of barely making it, if at all. No matter what season we are in, there is an instinctive indignation that overtakes us when a cross comes our way: ‘Why did this happen to me?’ Sometimes we really do need to ask ourselves that question in order to change our ways and ensure that it doesn’t happen again. But more often than not that ‘Why’ is really a cover for the assertion, ‘This should not be happening to me!’
But why shouldn’t it? As Christians, as human beings, we have crosses to face. Not simply is this the nature of reality. Our Saviour, our Master embraced the cross and made it the way of salvation. Since that is the case, the question we should be asking when a cross confronts us is, ‘What am I to do now?’ The ‘why’ question either sends us back into the past or entrenches us in the present. The ‘what’ questions opens us to the mystery of the moment and gives us options into how we are to act. The ‘what’ question affirms that we, as humans, can choose our future, knowing that God is with us, on our side., No matter how difficult the challenge our dignity as children of God cannot be taken from us by whatever circumstances we face. This is especially important to affirm when we are in the worst of times that can come upon us. In such situations, the only option we may have is the attitude we can take. We can embrace the cross even though we may feel that it is killing us.

(painting by Bonifatiustsjerke Ljouwert licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0
https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57121583)

A reflection by Sr Kym Harris osb

A reflection by Sr Kym Harris osb

A reflection by Sr Kym Harris osb and downloaded from http://www.prayasyoucan.com.au

There was, and maybe still is, a piece of graffiti near Central Station in Sydney. ‘What you eat and drink today, walks and talks tomorrow.’ Behind the message is the recognition that what we eat affects what we become. Food becomes us.

The food that Jesus gives, his very Body and Blood, works in the opposite way. This food does not become us, rather we are transformed into this food. Just as Jesus draws his life from the Father, this food will make us draw life from Jesus. With this food we become what we eat. It is a power for unity in our lives – firstly, with God and then, with other people. It is a power that we can draw on in the ordinary circumstances of life – and in the extraordinary and difficult situations we have to deal with.

In many religions, food offerings, usually the first or the best food, are made to the gods. In the Eucharist, it is God who makes the offering to us….and it is the finest food…but with a twist on our understanding of what is best. The separation of the Body and the Blood reveals that this is a sacrifice and one that cost more than a little. Rather it cost Jesus what was most precious for him– his very life. His sacrifice was a violent death that resulted from human sinfulness. In the Eucharist Jesus offers this sacrifice to us as a food that can sustain in the difficult situations of life: in the experience of loss, of illness, of marital problems, of personal failure and in the face of sin. The presence of Jesus’ life is not meant to be something we encounter only when we attend Sunday Eucharist but rather it is a grace for good that we can consciously draw on throughout our week and beyond. Jesus wants to give us the richness of God’s life in all the circumstances of our lives but he will not force this upon us. In what ever happens to us, we need to put out our hand, receive his ‘food’ and say ‘Amen’.

SUNDAY MASS FROM ST ANNE'S CHURCH, OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL PARISH

PRAYERS OF THE FAITHFUL

Today we prayed, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” Let us approach our Good Shepherd with our needs.

  1. In this time of Lent, may we resolve to walk in the light of Christ by faithfully following Christ’s teaching.
    Lord hear us
  2. The man born blind was rejected by others for professing his faith in Jesus the Christ. May we persevere in our faith by living as Christ taught.
    Lord hear us
  3. We pray for government and Church leaders will be given wisdom to make good decisions to control the Coronavirus to support those suffering financially and for those working in health care.
    Lord hear us
  4. May all people support each other by sharing the resources of our world to bring healing to the sick and maintain the health of others.
    Lord hear us
  5. May we develop our personal prayer life in our homes to give us peace and comfort during the worrying time of the pandemic.
    Lord hear us