FR BERT’S REFLECTIONS ON LAST SUNDAY’S PARISH FEAST DAY

FR BERT’S REFLECTIONS ON LAST SUNDAY’S PARISH FEAST DAY

The first apostle to die for the faith was James some time in the 40’s. The Apostles Peter and Paul were martyred in the 60’s. Eventually, every apostle – bar John – was martyred. Thus, in the last third of the first century, the early Christian communities had to go it alone without the guidance of the apostles who had been with Jesus and had encountered the risen Lord. There was no one left alive who knew, saw with his eyes, and touched with his hands Jesus of Nazareth. When no one alive could say ‘I saw the risen Jesus,’ all that was left was the story of Jesus. How did the early churches survive? Two things helped Christianity to survive: one was the story of Jesus, and the other was the Eucharist. And, of course, in the Eucharist we remember the Jesus’ story.
Because of persecution, Christians in the first century celebrated the Eucharist in catacombs, caves and private homes. Churches were not built until it was safe for Christians to gather in public. What has kept alive the Catholic faith in Sunbury is the Eucharist. In the 1850’s, the first Masses in our parish were celebrated in private homes. Some 25 years later, in 1875, Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church was opened and blessed by Archbishop Gould.
At Mass we gather to tell the story of Jesus. At the Last Supper Jesus got down on his knees to wash the feet of his disciples. He also took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘take and eat: this is my body.’ He then took a cup of wine and offered it to his disciples saying, ‘take and drink: this is my blood.’ Through these prophetic actions Jesus foretold that on the following day he was to break his body and shed his blood in self-sacrifice. Humble service and loving self-sacrifice were the examples he asked his disciples to follow when he said, ‘Do this in memory of me.’
On our parish feast day, besides doing things in memory of Jesus, we also remember the humble service and the loving self-sacrifice of our forebears. We stand on the shoulders of those who built up not only the buildings – the schools and the churches – but the faith and culture of this parish. We owe much to the Catholics who built up our parish. We gather today to tell our story, the story of our parish.
In today’s second reading, St Paul reminds us that we all have been blessed with personal gifts, and he urges us to use those gifts to contribute to the building of our parish. Even ‘a cup of water given in my name,’ said Jesus, ‘will not go without its reward.’ In my short ten years in Sunbury, I have seen much more than a cup of water given in Christ’s name to this parish. One good lady, for nearly twenty-five years, has kindly washed and kept clean the priests’ vestments. Another good lady – for more than I can remember – is the first to arrive at Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church every Sunday evening to open up and set up for Mass. And she is the last to leave. There are hundreds of other examples of selfless acts of service which I could mention, but I don’t want to embarrass any more good people. If Jesus promises a reward for a ‘cup of water given in his name’, I can’t imagine what reward awaits these good people. There are good signs for the future of our parish. One day, others will continue to tell and celebrate our story, the story of our parish. And, even when we pass on – and our name is forgotten – God will never forget.
Fr Bert Fulbrook sdb

FR BERT’S REFLECTIONS ON LAST SUNDAY’S GOSPEL OF THE “SOWER”

When the simple pine coffin of John Paul II was set down before the altar in St Peter’s Square, an open copy of the book of the gospels was placed upon it. Karol Wotyla had lived his whole life – as a seminarian, priest, Bishop and Pope – under the inspiration of the word of God. Throughout his entire life he preached and lived that word. There, in death this holy man – now a canonised saint – lay quite literally beneath that same word.
The prophet Isaiah likens God’s word to falling rain that moistens the earth and brings forth growth. ‘The word that goes forth from my mouth,’ says the Lord, ‘does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do’ (Is 55:10-11). Jesus qualifies that statement a little: God’s word is not a battering ram, smashing the door to our heart. The Risen Lord says, ‘Look, I am standing at the door knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in and share a meal with that person’ (Rev 3:20).
Like the sower’s seed, God’s word can fall on the edge of the path and be eaten by birds. It can also fall on shallow soil and wither under the scorching sun. And it can fall among thorns and be choked. But, when God’s word falls on fertile ground, it indeed yields a rich harvest. The gospel of Matthew was written at a time and particular context in which his Christian hearers were feeling the effects of having been ostracised from their Jewish community. The trials had proved too much for some and they fell away from their faith. Others were confounded by the fact that other Jews could not accept the person and message of Jesus as they had. We recall last Sunday’s gospel. In it Jesus blesses his disciples for their understanding of his person and his message. It is one of the most comforting pieces of scripture.
Jesus, through the parable of the sower and the seed, makes it clear to his disciples that not everyone is ready to hear and accept the message as they had. The teaching behind the parable of the sower is as true for us today as it was in its original context. The word of God continues to fall on people who are at various stages of readiness to receive it. What Jesus suggests to his disciples – and to us – is that the ‘good soil’ can’t always be taken for granted. Jesus doesn’t tell his disciples to only sow the word in people who are receptive. Rather, he wants them – and us – to scatter the word everywhere and to rejoice when it does find good soil and yields a rich harvest. Today, as I do every Sunday, I am conscious I am preaching the word to the converted.
I am aware that I am reaching only 10% of the Catholics in Sunbury. Should I be sad about that? Sure, there is reason to be sad. But, there is also good reason to rejoice, because you are here, and the word is reaching you. The word is falling on good soil, and you are that fertile soil that will produce a rich harvest, a hundred, sixty even thirty-fold. The word will make a difference to your life, and it will also make a difference to the people who are touched by you. At the end of Mass you are sent forth to spread the word by your lives and to give glory to God.
Fr Bert Fulbrook sdb

CHILDREN’S LITURGY OF THE WORD

Children’s Liturgy will be starting at alternating 5.30pm Saturday and 10.30am Sunday Masses in term 3. We have 4 new leaders who will help our children pray at children’s level of understanding. Fun activities and interaction are encouraged at the sessions. All are welcome. Sessions are as follows:
Saturday 22 July 5.30pm
Sunday 30 July 10.30am
Saturday 5 August 5.30pm
Sunday 13 August 10.30am
Saturday 19 August 5.30pm
Sunday 27 August 10.30am
Saturday 2 September 5.30pm
Sunday 10 September 10.30am
Saturday 16 September 5.30pm

AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC YOUTH FESTIVAL……NORTHERN PARISHES

A number of young people from the northern region of the Archdiocese have decided to work together to take a combined group to the Festival as a ‘Northern Region Collective’, and would like to welcome other young people from parishes in the region. This provides an opportunity for young people from Our Lady of Mt Carmel’s to meet other young people, make new friends and enjoy the Festival in a supported group environment.

There are two ways of registering:

· Participants aged over 18 can simply register themselves individually. The Northern Region Collective organisers will then contact them with information about transportation and accommodation. Click here ‘ACYF – Northern Region Collective Information – Individual Registration Information‘  for more information.

· Participants aged under 18 will need to be accompanied by a leader from your parish and registered as a parish group. This leader will work with the Northern Region Collective Organisers on the logistical planning for their group. Click here ‘ACYF – Northern Region Collective Information’ for more information. Registration and consent forms are also available to assist your leader.

LATEST NEWSLETTER FROM INDONESIA

We have recently received from LAP the newsletter setting out the activities they are undertaking in the first half of this year as part of their ongoing care for the children living with HIV AIDS.

Note that LAP are now caring for 95 HIV children, with over 20% now reaching their teenage years and undertaking life-skill education provided by LAP.

SCHOOL AGE CHILDREN BAPTISM

If you have a child who would like to be baptised and is at school already, please contact the Parish Office asap on 9744 1060. We will be organizing preparation and celebration times but have limited times/ dates.

PARISH PLAYGROUP

PARISH PLAYGROUP is run every Tuesday morning (during school term) from 9am-10am in the Parish Centre. All are welcome to come and play with the toys and join together in a social morning. No bookings required. Contact the Parish Office on 9744 1060 if you have any queries.

VINNIES WINTER APPEAL

 

VINNIES WINTER APPEAL
It’s on this weekend. We need your support to help those in need this winter. Vinnies prefer cash donations so that families can buy the items they need for their families. Please give generously.

CHRISTMAS IN JULY FUN NIGHT

Pop, Rock and Roll, Dance Night, for all ages.

All profits will be shared by three deserving groups:

1) Goonawarra Neighbouring House Mentoring Program – for young girls bullied in schools.

2) Chaplaincy program in local schools and

3) Youth Group.

Your support will allow the above groups to continue to deliver their programs to deserving youth.

Please circulate to family and friends.

JESUS IS RISEN……HOW CAN WE SERVE HIM?

A CALL TO SERVE THE RISEN LORD IN OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL PARISH

easter

Ministry Teams (note there may be some overlap)

– Lectors & Commentators:  To read the word of the Lord at Mass on a roster. Commentators will welcome parishioners and make announcements.

– Musicians & Singers:  To uplift our Masses

– Ministers of Communion

– Altar Servers: Open to boys and girls who have celebrated First Communion

– Baptism Preparation: welcome and instruct families wanting to baptize their children

– Catechetic: a program for children who attend Government schools who would like to celebrate their Sacraments

– Children’s Liturgy

Prayer, Service and Formation Teams

– RCIA Team: Are involved in Initiating Adults into the Catholic faith

– Legion of Mary: Meet every Tuesday to pray together and to reach out to parishioners

– Knights of the Southern Cross: An organization of catholic men who support the educational, charitable, religious and social welfare needs of the parish

– EMMAUS Charismatic Prayer Group: meeting held every Thursday morning in the Chapel

–Small Christian Communities

Support Teams

– Creative Tech: operate laptops, audio, cameras, graphics and lights at events

– Office Support: help with administrative tasks in the office

– Counting monies support: count money and get it ready for banking

– Mass Hosts: set up and pack up weekend Masses on roster

– Pastoral Visitors: visit with the homebound and hospitalized. Take Communion to those at home and/or the Nursing Homes

– Pastoral Assistance: assist people who have no transport but need to get to Mass or Shops or Medical Appointments

– Bingo Helper: running the parish bingo at the Sunbury Football Club every Thursday night

Maintenance Teams

– Parish Posties: deliver our Neighbourhood Newsletter to all our Catholic families three times per year

–Gift Shop

–Church Linen: Wash and iron linen

–Church Cleaning

–Altar care

–Gardening

–Welcoming Team: hand out the newsletter at each Mass and welcome each parishioner

Various Groups

SOCIAL JUSTICE:  We have a small team who promote issues of Social Justice in our parish. We would love to hear from you if you have a passion for Social Justice.

YOUTH GROUP:  Our youth group has many activities that they coordinate each year for the parish and they sup- port our other groups financially from any fundraising they do. New members are always welcome.

OVERSEAS HUMANITARIAN PROJECT:  This project has a small committee who coordinate the promotion of the needs of the orphans in Jakarta that our parish has been supporting since …..

PARISH HISTORICAL GROUP:  Our small team preserve our parish’s rich history. If you have a love for History, please join in.

EVERGREENS: Our Seniors are always looking for people to join them as they arrange gatherings and outings.

FR KEVINS NOTES

FR KEVINS NOTES

ONE FEAST OVER THREE DAYS
Over these three days we proclaim Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection. It is such an immense and awe-inspiring mystery that we need three days to enter its truth. The mystery is called the paschal mystery. We gaze at the mystery on Holy Thursday as Jesus kneels on the floor to wash feet, sits at the table for the Last Supper and anguishes in the garden of Gethsemane. On Good Friday we gaze at the Cross and on Easter Day, we are gazing in another garden and see the empty tomb. There is no attempt to soften either the sadness or the joy.

THE PASCHAL MYSTERY—THE NEW CREATION—THE NEW TREE OF LIFE
John’s gospel presents Jesus as dying as a King and that Jesus is in complete control of his own destiny, with Jesus carrying his own cross.

John’s passion begins and ends in a garden—a feature unique to John. Jesus’s cross is erected in the middle of the garden. The tree of life was in the middle of the garden of Eden. His mother is called ‘woman’ the same term used for Eve in the Garden of Eden.
(Genesis 2:23)
Only in John’s gospel, there is the scene where Jesus from the cross says: “Woman, this is your son. Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother” (John 19:26) This changed the relationship between Jesus and his disciples. Now we share the same mother as he—we hence become his brothers and sisters.
The body of Jesus is buried in a new tomb in the garden. In John 2:19, Jesus said “destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up”.
The risen Lord appears to Mary Magdalene saying: “Go and tell my brothers and sisters, I go to my Father and your Father” (John 20:17).
Jesus and we share a relationship of being children of God. We by baptism are the Household of the Father—the New Temple.
“As I have washed your feet, you should wash each others feet”.
At the Last Supper, Jesus shows he is Servant, one who is ready to do the dirty jobs, to be at the bottom of the social heap. He kneels on the floor to wash the feet. (John 13:15)
Today, attached is a list of the various ways we can serve each other in our parish. There is a tear off slip to leave today at the Welcome desk.

OUR PRAYERFUL SYMPATHY:
we offer to Fr Martin Ashe and to his mother and family in Ireland as his sister Maureen entered eternal life last week.

MATTRESS APPEAL:
The Bishop of Lismore, Bishop Greg Homeming has 
launched an appeal for mattresses for the people of Lismore who have lost their bedding in the wake of Cyclone Debbie. Our parishioners at Mass on Thursday evening donated to this appeal. Others wishing to give are invited to leave donations at our Parish office.

MELBOURNE PRIESTS RE-COMMIT:
Last Tuesday during Mass at the Cathedral, 
254 Melbourne priests renewed their commitment to serve the people in the Melbourne Archdiocese. Please continue to pray for our priests and for more to follow in their footsteps as Melbourne grows bigger. Some parishes are relying on priests aged in the nineties to celebrate Mass for the people. Hundreds gathered for the funeral of their beloved pastor of 32 years Fr Jim Kierce on Wednesday.

OUR PARISH DONKEY:
We thank the Honner family for looking after our donkey on their farm. The donkey will feature on the “Melbourne Catholic” website melbournecatholic.org.au this 
week re-enacting Palm Sunday. The donkey is aged 25 years and in good health

…..Kevin McIntosh

EMMAUS CHARISMATIC PRAYER GROUP

We meet at St Anne’s Church at 10.00am on Thursdays. All welcome, including children. For further info/transport please contact Lambert & Elaine van der Weerden on 0418 322 596.
The closing Mass for the Northern Region of the Jubilee Cross will be celebrated by Bishop Curtin and will be held at St Mary’s, 204 Grimshaw Street, Greensborough on Sunday 23 April com- mencing at 2.00pm. If attending please bring a plate for afternoon tea.

GOOD FRIDAY COLLECTION

Our Good Friday collection supports the church of the Holy Land. It promotes the missionary work of the Church in the Holy Land by providing welfare assistance to local Christians in areas such as health, education, employment and housing. Parishes, schools, orphanages and medical centres also rely on support from this collection. The collection also is relied upon to maintain the 74 churches and shrines associated with the life of Jesus. Please also pray for peace and harmony will become a reality in the land where Jesus lived.

REMEMBRANCE CARDS FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT BE WITH US AT THIS TIME

REMEMBRANCE CARDS

Our parish offers cards of remembrance to parishioners who would like to remember those who cannot be with us throughout the time of Lent and Easter. If it due to distance or loss that loved ones are not with us, we can still remember and pray for them at this time. Please take a card from either of our churches and place in the basket.