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Parishioner’s Easter Reflection 1

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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Exemple

Dear parish family at St. James, visitors and friends,

Even though our church buildings are closed, locked doors are no obstacles for the risen Lord.

We have never experienced an Easter like this, with public worship suspended in many places, and people confined to their homes.

Over the past weeks, our world and our lives have been turned upside down, as we respond to the global pandemic of coronavirus, COVID-19.

Our Easter services this year have taken a very different form, as Christian communities seek to respond in many ways that will slow the spread of the virus, and keep vulnerable people safe.

It has been heartening to see the creative ways our churches are connecting to pray, pastorally care for one another, and advocate for those who are experiencing disadvantage and injustice.

Across Australia and around the world during the Christian festival of Easter, we celebrate that Christ is risen, and continues to be present with us today. As we celebrate Easter this year, we are conscious of all those who are affected by the catastrophic and unprecedented events in our nation, of bushfire, flood and drought, as well as the global pandemic.

It is our Christian belief that through his life and ministry, Jesus identifies with, and comes alongside us in our suffering, offering comfort and compassion.

In our churches and wider communities, we are witnessing acts of enormous sacrifice and love, as people reach out to their neighbours. In the midst of grief, we see emerging signs of hope, and new life. The Jesus story as we have heard in the gospel, does not end in death, but in life. Jesus, the God-man dies on the cross and is buried, and after three days rises again. The disciples got to experience the risen Christ. They came to realise that the empty tomb was no joke, but the source of a new and glorified life, in which we are invited to share.

The risen Lord breaks through the physical and emotional barrier, just by standing in their midst and speaking “Peace”, banishing fear stemming from the hostility of the world.   It is not merely a wish: “Peace be with you”; rather it is a declaration: “Peace be with you”! The cross of Jesus, dear friends, says that there is no dark place, no depth of human desolation, where Jesus is not present – he is there. The book of Exodus speaks about “Moses entering the thick darkness where God is present” (Ex 20:21).

Jesus is in the thick darkness of COVID-19, and his resurrection says that he is the light which dispels even the thick darkness of death. So when we sing “The Light of Christ” on Easter night, even in an empty church, we are speaking a truth to all the world – that the virus may be new but the remedy is not.

We can all catch something of the reality of the resurrection, when we experience new life in the midst of hopelessness. We can see it in so many working on the frontline, our nurses, doctors, volunteers, religious, sisters, priests, shopworkers – all performing their duties so that society can continue. We can see it in the beloved disciples who see in the dark what no-one else sees.

Let us keep deep faith, dearest friends, stay strong and try to remain sane.

On behalf of Fr Silvio, Fr Brendan, Dcn Royden, the parish council, and myself, we miss you greatly and long to be physically united with you again.

May you all experience God’s renewing love and hope in your life and families. Have a blessed and peaceful Easter.

Fr Jude Pirotta mssp Parish Priest

 

 

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The YPs are holding their annual Easter Fundraiser, with the sale of Easter Hot Cross Buns. The Hot Cross Buns will be available for purchase for $5 each and on Palm Sunday Weekend (Saturday 04th and Sunday 05th April) at all masses. All profits raised will go towards supporting the ongoing work of the Young Paulists.  Stock is limited, so get in fast to avoid missing out! Special thanks to the Eiffel Tower Bakery and Allied Pinnacle for the support and generosity.

 

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The Season of Lent

To make this Lent a more meaningful time, consider taking part in any of the following available at our Parish:

Ash Wednesday: Wed 26 Feb Mass with distribution of ashes at 9:00am at the Paulist Centre with St James Primary, 11:45am at St Clare’s Primary and 7:30pm in the Paulist Centre. Please note that the Mass at 11:45am will be held outside and in the event of bad weather, will instead be cancelled.

The Way of the Cross: During Lent, time to reflect on the Stations of the Cross will be every Friday from this Fri 28 Feb at 7:00pm in the Church.

Project Compassion: Project Compassion promotes peace by pursuing justice. Please take home a Project Compassion box and/or a set of envelopes available in the Foyer of the Paulist Centre this weekend and return by Holy Thursday.

Paulist Missionary Sponsorship: For $5 per month, you can help with the wellbeing and education of children in Pakistan, Peru, Cuba and the Philippines. Brochures available this weekend.

Daily Reflections for Lent and Easter: Available in the Foyer of the Paulist Centre, a book of daily reflections to get the most out of this Lenten season, are available for $5 each.

 

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Prison Fellowship

This Easter, Prison Fellowship (PF) will again provide every Victorian inmate with 10 home-made biscuits, together with a card that explains the meaning of Easter. Help PF show the prisoners of Victoria that God loves them. Biscuits to be delivered to St James by Wed 25 Mar for collection by PF.

 

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Easter Celebrations Notices

Easter Triduum Rehearsals: For those involved in the Liturgies during the Triduum (including Readers, Special Ministers of Communion, those getting their feet washed, candle bearers, those to be commissioned, Ushers and Car Park Attendants) there is a Rehearsal on Tues 16 April in the Paulist Centre. Holy Thursday Rehearsal from 6:30pm-7:30pm, Good Friday Rehearsal from 7:30pm-8:00pm and Easter Vigil Rehearsal from 8:00pm-9:00pm. Please arrive 5 mins before your scheduled start. RCIA Candidates’ rehearsal is on Fri 12 Apr at 7:00pm.

Ushers and Carpark Attendants:  The Hospitality Ministry needs help with ushering and car parking for Palm Sunday and all the Easter celebrations for their smooth running. If you are able to help please leave your details on the sheet in the Narthex.

Project Compassion: Project Compassion Boxes can start being returned between Palm Sunday (13/14 Apr) & Holy Thursday (Thurs 18 Apr).

RCIA—Holy Saturday Morning Preparation Rites: all are invited to support our Catechumens and Candidates at 9:00am on Sat 20 Apr.  This is a simple and brief rite to prepare the Catechumens and Candidates before they are baptized and received on Holy Saturday night.  Your support will be a great source of encouragement.

Mass Time Changes: Due to the Triduum, there will be no 9:00am Mass on Thurs, Fri or Sat.  Additionally, there will be no reconciliation available on Sat. Reconciliation before Easter will be on Mon 15 Apr at 6:30pm-8:00pm.

Special Collections: During this week we will have two special collections.  The first is the annual Good Friday Holy Land Collection which supports and sustains the Christians in the Holy Land.  The second is the annual Easter Offering collected on Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday to support our priests.

 

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Visitor to the Triduum

Dear Fr Jude , Committee Members and Parishioners,

I wrote a brief thank you on the Thanksgiving Envelope before I passed it on but the love and Spirit of what you offered me is so burning within  my heart that I want to express my gratitude to you in a  way that may reach more of you.

As a visitor to your parish of St James the Apostle during the Easter ceremonies of Holy Thursday, the Stations of the Cross Friday morning and the Easter Vigil Mass I want to express both my gratitude and my faith which was moved through my experience with you in your faith community and liturgical/Eucharistic celebrations.

Your community is what I dream of as a ‘faith community/Church”. You have so many of all ages both male and female of diverse cultures, coming together, contributing and sharing equally in their own special way, some in ways that are visibly evident to others, working behind the scenes or offering donations or are there as participants. ‘The Life’ I experienced,  as you acknowledged Fr Jude, is made possible by the communion of you all.

It is so evident that your coming together in your humanness,  offering what each can and appreciating  the efforts and contributions of each other, that the faith experience  is made truly alive. I experienced both the presence of Christ’s humanness  and the Divinity of Christ with you over the ceremonies. Thank you for enabling me as a visiting participant to share both in your real life and the faith experience as they entwined, enriched and made Holy the other.

My sister Lourdes invited me to your parish. While I missed my parish and wondered what was going on there, I am left feeling so glad she did. I am feeling so blessed and grateful to you for this blessedness. Experiences like this ‘don’t just happen’. Thank you, one and all from Fr Jude to the one who opened up their heart or hand  in the simplest of ways – it is this combined openness that enabled me to feel so welcomed, humbled and a part of these celebrations and your faith community.

As I said,  this is the quality and spirit of parish I dream to be a part of and pray that in their own way all parishes and our wider Church may be built on. Thank you for making my dream come true! May our loving God continue to watch over you and keep you so that the seeds you sow may continue to flourish and bear even more fruit. Your partnership between priest and people is a very special quality that I know enabled this to become and ‘be’.

‘Amen ‘ to you my brothers and sisters in Christ . And in this liturgical season I hail you “Alleluia, Alleluia” .

To you and yours. May the richness, beauty and Life of these experiences ripple to and fro within and between your families and parish,

Marian Muller

 

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