Message from Our Principals

We greeted our Prep – 2 students back on Tuesday.  It was wonderful to see the smiles on their faces as they were dropped off. Later in the morning I visited the P-2 home groups to welcome each of the students back to school and what amazed me was how well they transitioned back into onsite learning.  I put this down to the relationships and connections to St James that were maintained over the past six weeks when the staff held an online meeting with the students each morning.  The sad part at the moment is not being able to spend time with families and having them in the grounds as part of the St James community.  We are looking forward to the whole school being together on Tuesday 9 June, 2020. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff at St James who have worked hard this term with remote learning to provide the best possible learning for the students.

Mary Abbott, St James Primary Principal

We are excited to be back on site and welcoming our youngest members of the community. Our P – 2 students have settled back in well at SFA.  Lots of bright, smiling faces and eager children ready to start face to face learning again.  We are looking forward to June 9 when all our students will be back with us.  The SFA staff have risen to the occasion during remote learning and in the transition back to site.  We are blessed and proud to have staff who are capable, confident and do their job with enthusiasm and positivity which has made this term an experience like no other, but also a great success.

Michelle Gillett, St Francis Primary Principal

‘It was wonderful to see the happy and excited faces when the children in Years Prep, One and Two returned to St Clare’s Catholic Primary School on Tuesday. Happy and excited faces on the students, parents and staff!  The students and staff have settled back very quickly into learning routines.  The normal practice for drop off time in the morning has worked well with students arriving at a steady flow.  We have also been pleased with how well the staggered pick up times in the afternoon have worked.  Thank you so much to parents and families for your support and cooperation. Wwe have had the vast majority of students in Years Prep – Two in attendance.  Remote learning continues for Years Three – Six until they also resume learning onsite on Tuesday, 9 June.

Andrew Leighton, St Clare’s Primary Principal

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Message from Fr Jude – Ascension Sunday

Dear Parishioners and friends,

During the last couple of months, much of what we would consider ‘essential’ to a Parish Community has been stripped away. So much of how we habitually express our faith and our relationship with Jesus has changed. Yet these have been weeks of unprecedented innovation, vibrancy and commitment to reaching out into our communities.

This weekend as we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, Jesus underlines the need for trust and acceptance in the face of radical change. He talked about going away, returning to the Father and preparing a place for his friends. His talk about dying grieved his disciples; if they had their way they would make him stay. But he urges them to be glad, since he is going to the Father.

We too can find joy in his going, because in his risen life he can do much more for us than if he simply stayed on here. In going to the Father, Jesus opens up eternal life for all who trust in him. Only by going away could he send the Holy Spirit. So his going brought a blessing to us all.

Sometimes the best way to show our love for others, as hard as it is, is to let them go, not trying to hold them with us but letting them go to whatever God has planned for them.

Over the years since the Ascension and the Great Commission entrusted to the disciples and to us to bring the Good News of God’s love to the ends of the earth is very evident. We are commissioned to share the Good News by the way we live, love and relate to others.

Here in the Parish of St James and also through our mssp Global Missionary outreach, we see so many ways we are trying to communicate this message during this COVID-19 period which are:

  • Delivering groceries and medicines
  • Dropping off Parish Bulletins for people unable to manage the internet
  • Making care calls
  • Ministering to families and our youth as they experience long hours at home.
  • Setting up online faith sharing
  • Communicating to our youth and young adults

So you can see that the power of the Holy Spirit is very much at work through many people in our community. Jesus has passed on the baton to us to communicate the Good News to others in words and actions.

Thank you to the many volunteers who have assisted in this mission especially to Deacon Royden for being innovative and assisting with the many hands on ministries to the community.

May I take this opportunity to wish Fr Silvio a happy birthday and ask you to keep him in your prayers. We look forward to seeing you at our celebration of Pentecost next weekend.

On behalf of Fr Silvio, Fr Brendan , Dcn Royden, the Parish Council and the Parish Staff, a Happy Ascension Day to you all!

Fr Jude Pirotta mssp

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Thank You for the Support

Dear Parishioners,

Over the last couple of months we have encouraged all parishioners to participate in thanksgiving contributions by using direct debit as listed in the message below ‘Supporting the Parish’, thank you to everyone who has taken up this option. Our Parish contributions over the last couple of months has dropped significantly. This is leaving the Parish in a financially vulnerable position and I am seeking alternate ways of topping up this loss.

Could I please encourage everyone to use the facilities listed below to ensure that our planned giving contribution is maintained through these testing times. For those who are still contributing, we are deeply grateful. It means the work of the Parish can continue in these difficult days. Thank you for your commitment to the Parish. It is deeply appreciated.

Fr Jude and Fr Silvio

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Update from Fr Jude

It is very positive to hear that as a country we seem to have made it through the COVID tunnel to the other end. We are finally trying to get used to what may be the new ‘normal.’ As we have been told repeatedly, we still have to be very careful with the way we behave and watch the progress of this pandemic. We sincerely hope we can soon be able to claim our life back!

There have been some relaxation with regards to the number of people that can be in the same place together. It is positive to see that we can celebrate weddings with ten guests, funerals with twenty mourners, and baptisms where ten people can come together. While positive, this still puts great restrictions to the way we can be together.

At this stage, although one is technically able to celebrate Mass with ten people present, yet, after carefully considering all the options available, our COVID-19 Committee has decided that at this stage we are not in a position to change any of our procedures. Mass is a banquet, a joyful celebration for the whole people of God. To limit this joyful feast to ten people, arbitrarily excluding any others, does not seem fair to us. We will continue to monitor the situation giving due regard to further relaxations as they arise.

While coming together as a People of God is a very important moment in the life of the Body of Christ, something we cannot do at present, we need to remind ourselves that this is not the only way we can live our faith. Faith starts in the home, which is the basic unit of the Church. We need to continue to practice coming together as a ‘family Church.’ Within this context it is important that we encounter and get to know the Word of God. The suggestion is that at least once a week, preferably on a Sunday, the whole family comes together to read the Word of God, especially the gospel reading chosen for that Sunday, and then pray using that text. We can stop and reflect on what the Word of God means to us in our life, even at this strange time. We are then invited to formulate our own private prayers. What is it I would like to talk to God about? How do I praise him for his many gifts? How do I express my concerns to God?

As a parish we will continue to live-stream and recorded Masses on the parish Facebook page (facebook.com/stjamesapostlehcn) and website (stjamesapostlehcn.com.au). We totally understand that this is not the same as being physically present in the Church, but at this stage, this is the best option we have available for us. Daily Masses are live-streamed at 9:00am, Monday-Saturday on Facebook. The weekend Mass is pre-recorded and is available on the Parish website at 10:00am on Sundays.

During this time we also continue to pray and to look out for people who are lonely in their homes and who might need neighbourly support. Some people may require assistance with shopping while others will greatly benefit from a friendly phone call. This is where the Eucharist we participate in really comes to life, when we look out and recognise Jesus in those who are in need around us. Let us pray that we will soon be able to come together physically to continue our journey of discipleship.

Fr Jude Pirotta mssp

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Dear Parish Family,

I trust, through the grace of God that this letter finds you well. Given the enormous changes that we are living through, I must acknowledge that as a priest, I have never experienced a more difficult time, especially the suspension of public Masses and parish gatherings.

The current situation presents all of us with many challenges that through our daily prayers and our trust in God, we will see come to an end very soon. May we use this time after Easter as an opportunity to ask God’s guidance, protection, and blessings to end the spread of this deadly virus. Several weeks ago, our schools resumed with our teachers doing an amazing job preparing for online learning and preparing for the small group that need to come to school. Red, Tita, Angel and Maria, are working from home and alternating their days at the parish office. I certainly miss the daily encounter with all of you, but this current arrangement of distancing and restrictions will come to an end and when that does happen, I plan for us to gather both for the celebration of Mass and for catching up with friends once again. I take this opportunity to thank our school principals and all our school staff for their commitment towards our children.

Parents, may I acknowledge the challenges confronting you with at home and back to school learning and with everything else that goes with it. True we cannot get to our church worshipping centre at this time, in the physical parish sense, but the life of the Church is present in your families, in your household and in your circumstances, no matter what that might be, being part of the Body of Christ and part of your life at the moment. Please note that we do miss you and long to be reunited with you when all this passes. Here at St James the church building extensions continue, as we look forward to its completion later in the year.

The Corona Virus, dear friends, has helped us, families, school teachers and students, realise that churches are not being closed; buildings are being closed, we are the Body of Christ! The gospel is not constrained by quarantine, because Jesus is bigger than Corona Virus! God can, and is, moving powerfully during this time; our challenge is to prayerfully discern where the Holy Spirit is moving and then go there and join in the work.

Some ways in which we, as a parish, have been serving the community have been:
• delivering groceries and medicines;
• dropping off parish bulletins for people unable to manage the internet;
• advertising support to parishioners struggling with anxiety and loneliness or young children and those in self-isolation;
• making care calls;
• ministering to families and our youth, as they experience long days at home;
• remaining connected by using the Zoom platform for many meetings;
• setting up online faith sharing;
• communicating to the youth and young adult groups, and
• offering online Masses.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many parishioners ministering to us at this time with food drop offs

I think that when the dust settles, we will all realise how very little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connections. I thank Fr Silvio and Dcn Royden for their invaluable support and outreach to the community at this time, and all the facilitators of our ministries.

God bless you all.

Go gently, stay safe and keep smiling!

Fr Jude Pirotta mssp
Parish Priest

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Message from Fr Jude

Dear Parish Family,

I trust, through the grace of God that this letter finds you well. Given the enormous changes that we are living through, I must acknowledge that as a priest, I have never experienced a more difficult time, especially the suspension of public Masses and parish gatherings.

The current situation presents all of us with many challenges that through our daily prayers and our trust in God, we will see come to an end very soon. May we use this time after Easter as an opportunity to ask God’s guidance, protection, and blessings to end the spread of this deadly virus. Several weeks ago, our schools resumed with our teachers doing an amazing job preparing for online learning and preparing for the small group that need to come to school. Red, Tita, Angel and Maria, are working from home and alternating their days at the parish office. I certainly miss the daily encounter with all of you, but this current arrangement of distancing and restrictions will come to an end and when that does happen, I plan for us to gather both for the celebration of Mass and for catching up with friends once again.

Parents, may I acknowledge the challenges confronting you with at home and back to school learning and with everything else that goes with it. True we cannot get to our church worshipping centre at this time, in the physical parish sense, but the life of the Church is present in your families, in your household and in your circumstances, no matter what that might be, being part of the

Body of Christ and part of your life at the moment. Please note that we do miss you and long to be reunited with you when all this passes. Here at St James the church building extensions continue, as we look forward to its completion later in the year.

The Corona Virus, dear friends, has helped us realise perhaps that churches are not being closed; buildings are being closed, we are the Body of Christ! The gospel is not constrained by quarantine, because Jesus is bigger than the Corona Virus! God can, and is, moving powerfully during this time; our challenge is to prayerfully discern where the Holy Spirit is moving and then go there and join in the work.

Some ways in which we, as a parish, have been serving the community have been delivering groceries and medicines, dropping off parish bulletins for people unable to manage the internet, advertising support to parishioners struggling with anxiety and loneliness or young children and those in self-isolation, making care calls, ministering to families and our youth, as they experience long days at home, remaining connected by using the Zoom platform for many meetings, setting up online faith sharing, communicating to the youth and young adult groups, and offering online Masses.

We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many parishioners ministering to us also at this time with food drop offs, prayers, texts, emails and phone calls.
I think that when the dust settles, we will all realise how very little we need, how very much we actually have, and the true value of human connections. I thank Fr Silvio and Dcn Royden for their invaluable support and outreach to the community at this time, and all the facilitators of our ministries.

The COVID19 pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives and Mother’s Day will be no exception, with most celebrations happening over the phone or online. Let us thank our God for the gift of motherhood and all women of faith who have impacted our lives.

I asked one mother this week was there anything she needed this Mother’s Day—her reply was I didn’t need another box of chocolates. I just need to be treated equally and with respect, everyday of the year.

God bless you all. Go gently, stay safe and keep smiling!
Fr Jude Pirotta mssp

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Dear Parishioners,

We hope that you enjoyed a blessed Easter, and in the difficult circumstances related to the coronavirus, you have had the opportunity to be with and enjoy time with your family and loved ones. We are aware that this is a difficult time for everyone, especially the most vulnerable.

Our plans to celebrate weekday liturgies at Thomas Carr College, and weekend masses, including Easter liturgies, at the Paulist Centre had to be abandoned because of restrictions related to COVID-19. You may of course follow the celebrations on our Parish website and/or Facebook page. We do miss physically seeing you.

As you know, work on the church extension started in mid-February 2020, and they have continued at a steady pace since then. The old presbytery was the first to go, and Fr Jude and Fr Silvio are settling in the new presbytery in Hilden Close.

We are now on Stage 2 of the Parish project, which is the restructuring and the renovation of our parish church. This is going to cost the Parish $ 2.3 million. That is a hefty sum to pay, but we are confident that with your help, we can do it. A loan contract was signed before the coronavirus made an appearance. Our contractual obligation is to pay it back in 20 years’ time.

We would like to thank you all for your moral and financial support as the parish does rely on your generosity. We remember the spirit of the parish pioneers whose vision provided us with the opportunity to worship, educate children, and getting together as a community.

We do appreciate the generous donations of parishioners who have asked how they may contribute. In response to the question that people are still asking, there are a few options available:

1/ You can drop off your Thanksgiving envelope at the Parish Office during business hours: Monday – Friday 9.30am to 2.30pm. Alternatively, you can drop it off at the After-Hours Drop Off Chute outside, next to the Parish Office Entrance under the window.

2/ Donations towards either Thanksgiving (1st collection to support operational running costs of the Parish) or towards the Church Extensions, can be made through an Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) directly to our Church bank account.

Account Name: St James the Apostle Parish
BSB: 083-347
Account Number: 646205822
For Thanksgiving please use your Thanksgiving Envelope number and your surname so we can attribute your donation correctly (Example: if your Thanksgiving Envelope number is 123 and surname is Smith, use the reference “123-Smith”).
For Church Extension, please use reference “[your surname]-ChExt” (Example: Smith-ChExt)

3/  For Presbytery donation (2nd Collection), you can transfer directly to our MSSP Hoppers Crossing North bank account.

Account Name: Missionary Society of St Paul
BSB: 083-153
Account Number.: 869470113
Please use the reference “Presby-[your surname]“ so we can attribute your donation correctly(Example: Presby-Smith)

We know these are challenging times. Please know that we are with you in spirit and will continue to pray for you, your families and intentions in all of our daily private Masses.

Let us continue to remain connected with each other in the days, weeks and months ahead.

Yours in Love Risen,

Fr Jude Pirotta, Parish Priest
Fr Silvio Bezzina, Assistant Priest
Angel Hartanto, Parish Bookkeeper

 

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Happy Easter everyone,

Strange as this Easter has been, I’ve been thinking that it’s also been one of the most reflective ones I have ever experienced.

This is all thanks to you, Frs Jude and Silvio, Dcn Royden, our neighbouring priests, Geralyn, our leaders, parish staff and all who have contributed to bring us the wonderful liturgies of Holy Week; I have participated in each one of the events. Nothing happens just by chance. I am aware how much effort goes into these functions during ‘normal’ times, and can only imagine how much more demanding it has been to organise all of this under such restrictive circumstances. Thank you for sharing your talents with all of us.

As I mentioned, this has been a very reflective time for me. I shared this with some others and would like to share it with you too.

Churches all around the world are as empty and as desolate as the tomb this Easter.  But just as Jesus found his way to his friends on that first Easter morning, giving them courage and bringing them peace, this year he comes intimately into our own private homes, offering us the same gifts – courage and peace – and hope. By his grace, may we have the strength to bring these gifts to others who only see the present darkness.

Maybe the tomb wasn’t empty after all. Maybe Jesus filled it with hope – it just took us a long time to notice it.

I hope that you are now enjoying your Easter Sunday at home with loved ones, knowing that you have made what might have been a very ‘dark’ Easter the brilliant sign of hope that it actually is. Blessings,

Judy

 

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Dear Fr. Jude & Fr. Silvio,

We just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who made the beautiful ceremonies possible;  absolutely first class in every respect!!! In particular how wonderful that all parishes combined together for the Triduum;  the collaboration of all priests in our area — so beautiful — moving, prayerful and reverent.  So proud that we are all part of something so very special.  We thank God for such authentic spiritual leadership of our priest community and Geralyn too!!  (Great to have a woman on board….) You all must have worked so hard to get it all sorted before Stage 3 restrictions!!!

Hopefully the upside of the downside has been a new and different type of Easter for us all, where we have been able to connect with God on His terms minus all that we have become accustomed to, and embrace technology to bring us together with one heart and mind.

From our hearts wishing you a blessed Easter,

Ann & Frank

 

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