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Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

As we celebrate Mary’s assumption, the patroness of the Paulist Missionaries, we remember God’s taking up into Heaven the physical body of Mary at the end of her physical life. We honour Mary and all women of faith who lead us to Christ by their examples of hope, courage and love.

Like Mary, we too may experience uncertainty and fear in our lives, especially when confronted with things over which we have no control, like this pandemic. Mary leaned on God’s Word and trusted in God. Mary knew that God would keep his promise. This was the ground of her hope. May our trust in the promises of God be the ground of our hope .

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Exemple

Last weekend on 24/25 July, our Parish celebrated the Feast Day of our Patron Saint, St James the Greater.  Like last year, our celebrations were more subdued than previous years, but were no less meaningful.

Here were some thoughts on the celebration:

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A Reflection from those who joined us online:

Covid lockdowns have provided an opportunity for many people of faith to tune in to week-end Mass at a parish other than their own. Today Michael and I decided to attend Mass at St James on YouTube, looking for the comfort of a pastoral leader in Fr Jude and revisiting the western suburbs.

What a treat to find you celebrating your parish feast day of St James. The readings about James and his brother John leaving their fishing business to follow Jesus were so pertinent as I have been doing an Alpha program and thinking so much about discipleship these past few weeks. So I smiled when I heard that St James parish is also embarking on an Alpha program.

But I write mainly to tell you how much we enjoyed and appreciated your presentation on St James the Apostle Parish as a true Christian Community. Some of our old friends from Werribee have been parishioners there for a long time and I know how strongly connected they feel. You expressed so beautifully the importance of looking out for one another, especially in these challenging times, and of everyone pitching in to make things happen. Then you hit on a key point –  sometimes conflict arises in large, lively communities and occasionally people brush up against each other but forgiveness leads to new growth and stronger relationships. It is at the heart of the gospel and even amongst Jesus’ disciples there needed to be give and take.

You painted a lovely word picture of what would have been taking place at St James this week-end were it not for Covid restrictions – the music, young people, food in the parish centre. You are blessed to live in such a wonderful parish …. made all the more so by your faithful and energetic leadership of the Parish Council.

Thank you for making our Sunday special,

Judy and Michael Cain

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St Clare’s Primary School Reflects:

Dear Fr Jude and team,

Thanks for the celebration of Mass being live streamed on Saturday night.

At St Clare’s Primary School last Friday we asked students to share what they liked about being a part of the Parish of St James.

Here are some of the students responses:

– The Priests are kind, funny, helpful, understandable, always willing to say hello, really nice;
– We love that we can come to Mass online in lockdown;
– That love and care is shown to all at our parish;
– The church is a wonderful space to be in God’s presence;
– We love that the school and parish work together;
– It is great that the priests take the time to visit us at school;

St Clare’s is truly blessed to be a part of such a vibrant parish. Have a great week.

Stay awesome!

Beth
Religious Education Leader.

 

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Bible Study – Mon 29 Mar

The combined Parishes of St Peter’s and St James are hosting a Bible Study Ministry.  This year, the meetings will be held at St James at the Ray Centre.

Meetings will be held every 1st, 3rd & 5th Mondays of each month, 7pm-9pm. Next meeting this Mon 29 Mar on the Gospel of John. For more information contact Clive on 0490 814 452 or Francis on 0401 787 372.

 

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The combined Parishes of St Peter’s and St James are hosting a Bible Study Ministry.  This year, the meetings will be held at St James at the Ray Centre.

Meetings will be held every 1st, 3rd & 5th Mondays of each month, 7pm-9pm. Next meeting this Mon 15 Mar on the Gospel of John. For more information contact Clive on 0490 814 452 or Francis on 0401 787 372.

 

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Australia Day Reflection

As one nation this past week we were invited to stop and celebrate Australia Day, we did this as we acknowledged the different sentiments that this celebration evokes. Life in the nation is not static and we grow and mature in the understanding of who we are and where we come from. This year we recognise that symbolically we have made another big step forward; in our national anthem we now acknowledge that we are an ‘old’ nation as we celebrate the longest living culture on earth, and although we now sing that we are ‘one and free,’ like the kingdom of God, that ‘oneness’ is something we need to work at together to achieve.

The readings chosen for our liturgical celebration of Australia Day reminded us that we are ‘the land of the Holy Spirit.’ The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God sends his Spirit upon us, as a nation, and, if we allow the Spirit to work, the Spirit will change our dry and arid landscape into lush and fertile raintree forests. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of love and unity and when we allow the Spirit to live in our midst, it will burn away all our divisions and allow for new growth.

Paul speaks of the different gifts the Spirit showers on us, his people. Paul lists some of these gifts of the Spirit, yet the Spirit of God is certainly not limited by Paul’s list and continues to come up with newer gifts that help us come together as one family, one people. Paul insists that although the gifts look different in each of us, they are the fruit of the one Spirit. We come as one nation, first peoples and recent arrivals, together we celebrate the gifts we have been given. We celebrate and thank God for these old and new gifts. Together they make us one nation.

The gospel reading speaks of the attitude we need in order to be able to welcome one another and grow as one people. We are the ones who need to approach our ‘Great South Land’ with a spirit of poverty so that we can accept and acknowledge all that we have been given. We need to have a hunger and thirst for justice and mercy as we grieve the great mistakes of the past. We need to have a purity of heart and a resolve to look for peace so that we can welcome each other, regardless of faith or culture, and together grow into one nation in the Spirit.

Fr Mario Zammit mssp

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RCIA Journey Reflection – Morteza Babaei

Morteza Babaei, along with Anna Vo, Alize Zhang, Nancy Chohan and Ronald Main, completed their RCIA Journey finally on Sun 06 Dec after delays brought about by Covid.  Morteza writes:

This journey towards Catholicism has been full of waiting. Impacted by the threats and restrictions of COVID-19, I felt tested during those long months. However, through His love, and the gentle reminders of our RCIA team, I have learnt the value of being kind to one another, to have concern for my fellow neighbour and most importantly, to be patient, humble, and have faith.
During the months and weeks leading up to my Confirmation, God never left my side. I’ve had my Visa approved, my partner and I got engaged, and my sister received her heart transplant that she needed urgently and woke up within record time. Directly after that, Victoria received the news that we were free of Covid and would have our restrictions eased.

God is with me. God is with US.

I didn’t expect much going into RCIA as I came to St James Parish as a Muslim turned Christian Protestant, having sat through hours of bible study already. However, RCIA and our Parish have helped me too much in my life. My faith is stronger. I have a deeper understanding of God’s love, as well as a deeper and closer relationship with God than I ever have before.
I am happy, and I am in the right place to Adore and Worship.

I am grateful to each and every person that makes up RCIA, Fr Jude, Fr Silvio, the Parish team, our wider community, and our sponsors, especially my sponsor, Johnny Lapiña, and fiancée, Jessica Lapiña. On behalf of my fellow Catechumens and Candidates (Anna Vo, Alice Zhang, Nancy Chohan and Ronald Main), and myself, thank you everyone, for being kind, patient, and for always allowing us to feel welcome and at home in our Christian community at St James Parish. God Bless and Merry Christmas.

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Mary’s “Yes” to God

With the Gospel of the Annunciation to Mary, we arrive today at the events leading directly to the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

Following a greeting and word of reassurance, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is to be the mother of a child, whose title (‘Son of the Most High’) and future role indicate that he will be the long-awaited Messiah.

Mary, understandably, asks how this birth is to occur. She is married but, in accordance with the custom of the time where women married very young, is still living in her parental home and not yet having relations with her husband.

The angel’s majestic explanation lifts everything to a new level. The birth will not come about through relations with her husband but through her being “overshadowed” by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. The child to be born from her will be God’s ‘Son’ in a unique way. He will have a divine status far outstripping conventional expectation concerning the Messiah.

The explanation requires of Mary faith in the highest degree. Unlike Zechariah in connection with the birth of John the Baptist (Luke 1:11-19), she does not simply have to believe that God will overcome barrenness and old age. She has to believe that God’s power will take the place of the male parent entirely. Later, her cousin Elizabeth will say to her, “Blessed is she who believed the the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled” (1:45). Mary’s faith is the channel for God’s presence and power to enter the world in the mystery of the Incarnation.

Fr Brendan Byrne SJ

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The YP event of Lettuce Spring into Action really sprang my COVID restricted mind into action! Such was the intensity of the event. For the first time I came to know that egg shells could be used as calcium supplements for the vegetable plants! I learnt more about sustainability which could be carried out by recycling all fruit peels such as banana peels and paper, egg trays & cardboard into compost for our own garden! My imagination ran wild, if I could recycle all of these, perhaps I would require the Blue bin only once a month! And if most of us use these simple daily life activities, how much waste will we reduce in our council, state, nation & in the world! This fits perfectly to the call of Pope Francis to care about our environment by adopting sustainability!

Anna Sia and her family is truly a blessing not only to our parish but to the wider society! As Christians we have been asked to share and Anna is the perfect example of sharing her great knowledge about home growing veg garden! Fr. Silvio’s demonstration to make our own planter box from pallet wood perhaps will turn for me as a hobby soon! On my way out I collected many saplings to try my luck into homegrown vegies! I hope more such events are held to benefit more parishioners!

Gilbert

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St James The Apostle