Farewell Message from Fr Mario Zammit mssp

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Fr Mario Zammit mssp, Parish Priest of St John’s, Heidelberg, has been a fixture at St James Parish over many years, assisting and supporting Fr Jude in our Parish and in our Mission Trips to the Philippines. Later this year, Fr Mario will leave the Australian Province of the MSSPs to begin his new ministry in the Philippines. Here are a few words from Fr Mario, addressing his Parish:

Over the past few weeks, at our weekday Masses, the gospel readings were taken from the long farewell speech of Jesus at the Last Supper narrative according the John. This farewell speech covers four chapters in this gospel! I do not pretend to be John the evangelist, even if I have spent the last seven years in his shadow, but it does seem that my farewell speech(es) are coming in a number of editions. Please bear with me. I would have dearly loved to share some of these thoughts with you in person, but our new friend Covid had other plans!

Up to a few months ago, if anyone asked me whether I had any intention of leaving the parish, I would have definitely answered with a clear NO! I was certainly enjoying my time at St John’s, surrounded with a nice group of parishioners and friends, school staff and students, with my ministry at OLMC and Marcellin colleges and the hospitals. I believe that, apart from some hiccups that are part of life anyway, we had struck a good relationship and were enjoying each other’s company. My intention was that, after I finished my first six-year term as parish priest in November 2021, I put my hand up for another term, taking me to 2027, before I had to consider moving to another parish. So what changed?

While my first love has always been, and still is, St John’s and ministry in the parish, what many of you did not realise was that I had a second love which I rarely spoke about. Before my sudden appearance at St John’s in October 2013, I had just spent six months in Manila and in Bataan, in the Philippines. I actually went back there in September 2015, and then with two groups in January of 2019 and 2020. I had always nurtured a love of working among the less fortunate among God’s people. In 1980, as a deacon, I had already spent one full year in Karachi and in Faisalabad, in Pakistan, a ministry I totally enjoyed.

Last January, during my visit to the Philippines with some members of our parish, things finally fell into place, and as those who were with me can tell, I really enjoyed the space and could not resist requesting my superiors to consider assigning me to that mission. The parishioners who joined me in either of those trips can appreciate what draws me to that mission.

Through our Baptism, each of us is called to be a missionary and to witness to God’s words and actions in our life. We are called to be missionaries in every situation we encounter. My ministry in the parishes in NSW and in Heidelberg was certainly missionary. I have always tried my best to live the good news with you. As a member of a missionary congregation, I feel drawn to minister among those who are less fortunate—this seems to be part of my DNA. My transfer to the mission in the Philippines gives me the opportunity to live out this part of my missionary vocation.

I understand that I have left myself open to be accused that I have cheated you by abandoning my first love and choosing to continue my journey with my second love, but I ask you to be kind to me and appreciate my desire to take up this new ministry. Once again I thank you all for your welcome, friendship and support. As I said in my message two months ago, I will always carry you with me in my heart!

Fr Mario Zammit mssp

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The Parish Mission was indeed a time of looking interiorly at ourselves and our Christian life. Fr Martin touched on the Pauline Spirituality and charism of Joseph De Piro. One participant says:

Last week’s Mission was a beautiful opportunity to drink abundantly from the Well of Life, to take timeout to gather as community and feast on amazing and inspiring spiritual food: to immerse ourselves into the mystery and knowledge of our faith; the life, spirituality and charism of Joseph De Piro; self-awareness empowering positivity and healing with Christ at the centre. Fr. Martin Cilia (mssp) led a very dynamic, engaging and insightful series of workshops to challenge our awareness and to impart knowledge about the practical ‘tools’ which help us build the Kingdom of God in the simplicity of living the gospel in the fullness and brokenness of life as Christ to others and the wider world.

Thank you for the opportunity to share and receive. I encourage us all to embrace such opportunities to grow with an openness, gratitude and thanksgiving for the gift of God revealed to us and present within every human heart.

Ann F.

 

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Mission 20

This weekend members from Mission 20 will share their experiences of the mission at all Masses this weekend. Here is what one participant had to say:

“The mission trip has also given me the opportunity to have a deeper connection with God through what I have witnessed and experienced during the mission trip. What really made a significant impact towards me was witnessing God’s work and love through the amazing work and commitment of the members of the MSSP, the volunteers, the children and their families of the Bataan Orchestra, and lastly the generosity and love of our communities”

Christian Torregosa

Hear more about the journey of Mission 20 at Mass and in an upcoming publication with more reflections and experiences from all the members.

 

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Don’t miss this opportunity to come to the Mission

Fr Martin Cilia mssp will be accompanying our Superior General Fr Mark Grima mssp from Rome who is visiting our communities.

Fr Martin is a member of the Missionary Society of St Paul and is currently Director of the MSSP Oratory, Malta. Fr Martin provides adult formation opportunities to those who are still searching and curious to come closer in their faith journey, and to those in the community who wish to deepen further their experience.

St James the Apostle Parish warmly welcomes all Parishioners and friends to our Parish Mission:

 

Tuesday February 11—7:00pm-9:00pm

What do we find difficult about fully living out of our baptismal call to live out our Christian mission in the wider world? In this session, we will reimagine our vibrant mission in the world.

 

Thursday February 13—7:00pm-9:00pm

Learn more about the spirituality of Joseph De Piro, his life and his missionary charism.

 

Saturday February 15—10:00am-4:00pm

Day of reflection and prayer. Food provided. RSVP with dietary requirements by this Thursday February 13 by calling 9748 6800 or emailing HoppersCrossingNorth@cam.org.au.

Please keep these days free and join us for any/all of these times!

 

 

What can happen when we, as a faith community, enter into the gift of possibility that God has for the church and the world? Are we willing to risk the journey of faith, step further and share ourselves outside the walls of the church?

For Eucharistically-centred believers, that is essentially who we are as Christians: a community who experiences connectedness at the Eucharistic table and then share that same Spirit out in the world.

 

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Christmas Card poster web

Your gift can help those who are less fortunate! Buy an MSSP Christmas Gift Card and donate money to help support the education of the young adults, members of the Jose’ De Piro Kabataan Orkestra in the Philippines or the seminarians of the Missionary Society of St Paul in the International House of Formation in Manila, studying philosophy and theology in preparation for their future missionary service. Cards will be available from the Welcome Minister at the Welcome Desk from next week.

 

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It was Bono, lead singer of the famed Irish Band U2, who commented that “Music can change the world because it can change people.” Living proof of this was on display at the Fr Moran Performing Arts Centre at Thomas Carr College, Tarneit on Tuesday June 11 as a full and excited house was treated to a concert delight performed by the combined talents of the Jose De Piro Youth Orchestra from Bataan in the Philippines and the Thomas Carr College Concert Band with vocal support from the College choir.

All in the audience harmonised in a special way with the heart-warming story of how our young performers from challenging and often impoverished backgrounds in Bataan had with the visionary support of Paulist missionary Fr Joe Cremona mssp risen above this background to reach a level of musical excellence. We heard their story so eloquently explained by College staff member Geralyn McCarthy who visited Bataan in an immersion experience in 2018. However, to quote noted actor Johnny Depp whose ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ music was one of the performance highlights of the night – “Music touches us emotionally, where words alone can’t”. It was the quality of their music and the joyful spirit in which it was performed that spoke most powerfully.

Special mention must be made of how quickly both groups of performers gelled with just a day of practice together and for this their teachers deserve congratulations for ensuring their students were well readied for this experience. The Thomas Carr Concert Band lost nothing in comparison to our visitors in terms of the excellence of their performing. All in all a most enjoyable and successful evening.

Tony O’Byrne Principal Consultant Catholic Education Melbourne

 

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We would like to express our gratitude to all our benefactors who supported us in this wonderful experience we had in Australia. Thanks to Fr. Jude, Dr. Andrew Watson and his team, Members of MSSP in Australia and in the Philippines, to our dear host parents and all the Parishioners.

We would also like to thank Thomas Carr College, Tarneit, Trinity College, Colac, Caroline Chisolm Catholic College, Braybrook and Our Lady of Mercy College, Heidelberg for organizing memorable professional concerts where we could show our talents.

We thank you all for giving us a very warm welcome and a truly unforgettable opportunity. Who would have thought that one day our orchestra would be in Australia? You made us achieve one of our dreams. Thank you for appreciating our talents. We really enjoyed playing music with you.

We also thank the person behind this amazing project Fr. Joseph Cremona mssp, who is always there for us and who never stopped supporting us. We thank God for giving us such a great person with a wonderful heart. Without him, this experience would have never been possible.

We will surely treasure this experience which helps us grow and develop more. This is also an eye opener for us motivating us to take the project more seriously and with greater commitment.

Words are not enough but allow us to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts! MABUHAY!

Jose De Piro Youth Orchestra

 

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One of our thriving ministries in the Philippines is the Youth Orchestra established by Fr Joe Cremona mssp in 2013, in St Catherine of Alexandria Parish, in Dinalupihan, Bataan. This orchestra stemmed from a suggestion of the children, mostly street kids coming from deprived backgrounds. We initiated a small program that teaches basic music skills and playing the desired instruments to those interested. The program has been very fruitful, and the children continued to increase in number, with much enthusiasm, and vigour for learning. Observing this interest we asked our foreign collaborators to help us out, particularly by lending us instruments, so that the students could practice, and further advance their skills and talents. The program has now proudly developed into a full youth orchestra, attracting children from the surrounding areas of the parish.

This year through the generous support of our Australian Paulist Missionary community, the Orchestra is crossing another milestone, celebrating its first Concert Tour outside of the Philippines.

The four concerts will be held in Victoria at:

Thomas Carr College, Tarneit – Tuesday 11th June 2019 https://www.trybooking.com/BBUCE (SOLD OUT)

Trinity College Jubilee Centre, Colac – Thursday 13th June 2019 https://www.trybooking.com/BBPUC

Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, Braybrook – Friday 14th June 2019 https://www.trybooking.com/BBSWU

OLMC Mercedes Hogan Theatre, Heidelberg – Saturday 15th June 2019 https://www.trybooking.com/BBVRP

Should your desired venue be booked out, please feel free to try one of the other venues. This concert tour was made possible by the generosity of the following communities; St James the Apostle Parish, Hoppers Crossing North, St Bernadette’s Parish, North Sunshine, St John’s Parish, Heidelberg, Thomas Carr College, Tarneit, Caroline Chisholm College, Braybrook, Our Lady of Mercy College, Heidelberg, and Trinity College, Colac.

 

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The Jose De Piro Kabataan (youth) orchestra began five years ago in the parish of St Catherine of Alexandria, under the pastoral care of the MSSP, in the poor village of Pagalanggang, in Dinalupihan, Bataan Province in the Philippines. The aim of this orchestra is to empower these young people giving them a skill they can use to better their life. Thirty-four members of this orchestra, together with their conductor and the parish priest are doing a ten day concert tour in Tarneit, Braybook, Heidelberg and Colac. The concerts are free, donations to support the orchestra are welcome. Some members of this orchestra are being sponsored to continue their studies at tertiary level in a university in Manila.

Please pray for the Jose De Piro Orchestra consisting of 34 young people joining us for 10 days starting from this Saturday 08th June. May this be an enriching and inspiring time for all. This is a marvellous opportunity of grace as we reveal and embrace the human face of our Christ in hospitality and love.

Thank you to the Host Families and all who have made this event possible.

You can meet the Orchestra as they attend Mass at St James on Sun 09 Jun at the 5:00pm Mass or at one of their concerts.

To book a free seat at their concert, please visit the following sites (please note, should the Tarneit Venue be fully booked, please try one of the other venues):

 

Thomas Carr College, Tarneit :  https://www.trybooking.com/BBUCE
Caroline Chisolm College, Braybrook : https://www.trybooking.com/BBSWU
Our Lady of Mercy College, Heidelberg: https://www.trybooking.com/BBVRP
Trinity College, Colac :  https://www.trybooking.com/BBPUC

 

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