Parishioners’ Easter Experience

Over last few years because of all that has been happening in the institutional church, faith and church has been challenged within me and I stopped going.

Then I found St James Church, and coming to St James Easter services has given me a renewed sense of community, faith and hope. For me it started at the Good Friday Service. Seeing the cross pass over the heads of the community brought me to tears, to touch, to raise my hand and reach up, and be part of others doing the same, gave a true sense of community and the power of God’s love and forgiveness. I thank St James community for giving my faith new life, and saying to me to stay on the journey.

Kind Regards, Julie


I am a new parishioner and this year was my first Holy Week experience within St James Parish.

There was no doubt that there was a lot of planning, time, love & energy done from Father Jude, Father Silvio and all the ministries involved during the Holy week.

During the masses, I was amazed how everybody involved, brilliantly knew what to do.

I am so grateful to the Lord,  to be part in such a vibrant and spiritual community where I get to remember & encounter Jesus as he makes me understand “The love HE has for me ” and why “HE has given up his life for me”.

I want to say thank you very much and may our good Lord in heaven bless each and every one of you and all St James parishioners and their families.

With deepest gratitude & warmest regards, Sindhy.


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Beatrice, Parishioner and Parish Council Member, reflects on her experience of Easter at St James. Regarding the Good Friday Passion Play, she writes:

I just wanted to say the Passion Play had a great impact this year. There were people shedding tears. There was no escaping from the piercing images and words.  All of us could see and hear the full stations without interruptions which allowed a more touching experience.

We would like to hear about your experiences of the Easter period at St James, including any time from Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. If you would like to share your experience, please email the Parish Office by this Wed 19 Apr at


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On Palm Sunday Weekend (01/02 Apr), the Young Paulists will have their annual Easter Fundraiser.

This year the YP’s are pleased to announce that their fundraiser will feature Easter Bagels, instead of Hot Cross Buns.  The Easter Bagels are cinnamon raisin bagels and will be available after all Masses that weekend for $10 for a pack of 4 Easter Bagels.

Proceeds will go towards the ongoing works of the Young Paulists in our community. Come and support us this Easter period.


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Preparing for Easter at St James

Every year, our Easter celebrations get larger and more meaningful. This year we are seeking help to ensure that our celebrations continue to engage and move everyone who attends.


Palms and Olive Branches: In preparation for Palm Sunday (01/02 Apr), we would welcome all donations of Palm, Pine and Olive branches to be left along the large wall behind the Church after the weekend of 25/26 Mar.  These will be used in the morning of Sat 01 Apr to prepare our liturgical spaces.


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 04 April.

The Holy Thursday Rehearsal will be from 6:30pm-7:30pm in the Church.

The Good Friday Rehearsal will be from 7:30pm-8:00pm in the Paulist Centre.

The Easter Vigil Rehearsal will be from 8:00pm-9:00pm in the Church.

Please arrive 5 mins before your scheduled start and once your part has been rehearsed, you may return home.

RCIA Candidates’ rehearsal is on Fri 31 Mar at 7:00pm.


Ushers and Carpark Attendants: The Hospitality Ministry needs help with ushering and car parking for Palm Sunday and 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 (01/02 Apr) & Holy Thursday (Thurs 06 Apr).


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Easter Preparations

Keep Watch With Me is an overnight vigil with the Lord in Adoration from 10:30pm on Holy Thursday until 7:30am on Good Friday.  If you belong to a Parish Ministry, please wait for your Coordinator to organize a one hour time for your group. Individuals not part of ministries are able to mark down their availabilities on the sheet provided in the Narthex.

Special Ministers of Communion are required for the Easter Celebrations. With so many different services during this time, it is important that we have them all covered. Please use the sheet in the Narthex to mark your availability. We will contact you with the Roster closer to the date.


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Easter Sunday

Christos Anesti, Christ has risen”

As I grow older, I feel that more and more of our fellow citizens enjoy the Easter holiday from Good Friday through to Easter Monday without a thought as to what lies behind it. As I cycled through a very crowded City on Friday evening, it seemed like any other Friday, except that maybe the people were in a more celebratory mood because of the extended holiday.

So when we as people of faith gather as a community to commemorate the death of our Lord and, this morning, to celebrate his resurrection, we are doing something that’s increasingly unfashionable, counter-cultural even.

At the same time, we know that we are addressing the truths that are the foundation upon which our civic socity is built. If those truths and principles are forgotten, neglected, or ignored, our society will disintegrate into meanness, selfishness, lack of compassion and hope in the face of suffering, and widespread despair.

On Good Friday, we saw Jesus stand alone, betrayed and abandoned, to suffer an appalling death because the values to which his whole life and ministry gave expression challenged the prejudices and comfort of those in power in the situation of his time. He drew attention to the plight of the poor and said that they were particularly precious to God; he reached out to those on the margins: those with leprosy, foreigners like the Samaritans, widows; he healed on the Sabbath because he believed that the Sabbath was made for human beings and for enhancement of life, not the other way round; he threw money-changers out of the Temple because he believed that commerce, profit, should take second place to the true worship of God.

All these things made him deeply unpopular because they exposed the meanness of those whose comfort depended on leaving things as they were. Those who brought about the failure of justice that led his death, mocked him as hung upon the cross, because they thought they had finally got the upper hand, got rid of this troublemaker for good.

What we are celebrating this morning is that God had other plans. God wasn’t going to let his saving intervention into our world in the person of his Son come to nought. God raised Jesus from the dead and with that affirmed and vindicated all that he had died for.

The women, especially the heroic and faithful Mary Magdalene, and the male disciples who went to the tomb on Easter Sunday morning did not see the risen Lord—that would come later. What they found was a mysterious emptiness that at first caused them great distress. Not only have they lost, in a terrible way, their living Lord; now even his body has been taken from them before they could give it the rite of anointing prescribed in their Jewish culture.

Sometimes, however, an emptiness on the human side is precisely a sign and indication that God has taken over and is at work in a wonderful, divine way.

So this emptiness in the tomb is not a barren or devastating emptiness. It is not a sign that grave robbers or the authorities in some further exercise of cruelty have removed Jesus’ body. It is a sign, as the angel explains, that Jesus has been raised from the dead on the third day, exactly as he had foretold.

There is plenty of cause for emptiness in our hearts at the present time: the pandemic lingers and leaves few lives untouched. Above all, the terrible news from Ukaine and the revived threat of even nuclear exchange does cast us down—not to mention more personal experiences of loss and absence of loved ones around the Easter table.

The disciples who experienced the emptiness of Jesus’ tomb soon discovered that it was an emptiness that God had filled in a wonderful way when they met the risen Lord. They became, as the First Reading from the Acts of the Apostles assures us, the witnesses to the fact that he has been raised. They spread that message and the hope that it brought around their world. From them it passed on down the generations, right down to us. For our Greek brothers and sisters it has become a greeting, Christos anesti, “Christ has risen”. When they meet each other, they say, “Christos anesti”, a wonderful way of sharing and reinforcing their common faith.

But Easter for us is more than simply a belief that Christ has been raised. It is a commitment to a way of life that reflects the values for which he lived, died, and was raised by God. That is what we affirm when, in place of reciting the Creed, we recite our baptismal vows. Our baptism commits us to live as individuals and in community the life we have in Christ, allowing his divine love to well up within us and find expression in our lives.

So, although many, perhaps most, of our fellow citizens will enjoy the Easter holiday, with little or no appreciation of what it is all about, we who are here this morning can sustain them with our faith, bearing witness by the way we live and speak, that “Christos Anesti, Christ has risen”—and in that lies hope.


Brendan Byrne, SJ

St James, Hoppers Crossing North,

17 April, 2022

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