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Fr Jude’s Message

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Fr Jude’s Message

Dear Parishioners and friends,

Last weekend we gathered at last in our beautifully renovated and expanded Parish Church Building. For many people, not to be able to enter our church building over the last year, has been a serious depravation. Re-entry felt like a joyful homecoming, a long awaited return from exile, with an opportunity to celebrate the presence of the risen Christ in our midst. New challenges and opportunities continue to emerge as a result of the pandemic including new ways of being Church and of worshipping together.

Though we are in the middle of the penitential season of Lent, it is surely a day of thanksgiving to God, gratitude and joy. It is no small thing for a Parish to spend a great deal of money on a renovation and indeed the expansion of its church building, especially at a time when finance is tight and social distancing, because of the pandemic, is still in force. Yet our Parish community had chosen to do so because the church is significant for the people’s hope and faith. St Paul reminds us that we are the Body of Christ. Now God dwells among his people, the Church, the early Christians were so convinced of this that they called the building constructed for worship ‘the house for the Church’ Domus Ecclesiae, or, as we are often reminded, it is the people who are the church and not the building. The building simply houses the Church. It was very pleasing to hear many of our Parishioners affirming the newly refurbished sacred space, with messages of gratitude through emails and text messages.

Once again I express my gratitude to the architects from Smith and Tracey, Raysett the builders, the Parish Council, the Building Committee, St James the Apostle Primary School, Thomas Carr College, and the many volunteers and donors who generously offered their time, energy and financial support to see this project through.

 

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Advent Angels – Thank You

Thank you to all who supported this project in Dec 2020, by buying an Advent Angel, bookmark or keychain and those who donated materials.

Special thanks to Angel Hartanto and Fr Mario who helped set up our online sales and FaceBook pages, Chris Innocenzi and Denise Falzon for their contributions, and to Jannine Warwick who helped with sales during a challenging Advent period.

A total of $3444 has been donated to the Mssp in the Philippines to help support the victims of the devastating typhoons. We appreciate your affirmations and generosity during a very difficult year.

Advent Angels Team

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Local councils and shopping centres have begun ‘dressing up’ their community spaces for Christmas. What a lovely surprise to find the nativity scene displayed amidst the lights and colour of the commercial world. Some nativity scenes are small and insignificant, perhaps found in one shop window but how wonderful to find larger, well-placed displays in shopping centres. Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus are there and often the three well-dressed Kings with their gifts tastefully presented.

But where are the shepherds?

I went checking the Christmas cards available and found that Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the Kings and a star are there in varying combinations but no shepherds.

We sing about shepherds in traditional Christmas Carols. When we coordinate children’s pageants, we have plenty of shepherds. We knew the shepherds well once, but it seems they are disappearing from public display and possibly from our consciousness.

The shepherds were the first to witness the birth of Jesus and in the Gospel of Luke we find them front and centre. It was within the ordinariness of their daily lives that they met Jesus. They were not the important kings or leaders; they were simple ordinary folk doing the hard-daily task of caring. They would have been tired and shabby after days watching the sheep. They knew the landscape and their flock well, but they were drawn to Jesus.

This year, the shepherds remind me of those many ordinary workers who have been working tirelessly day after day, caring and protecting those who come into their care.  During COVID-19, we have been made aware of the many, many ordinary workers who are now heralded as the heroes:

The aged care workers, the cleaners, the lowly paid hospital workers, the security people and nurses, have a new-found dignity in the public eye.

Those who have supported refugees, asylum seekers, prisoners, the homeless, those suffering domestic violence and those in quarantine.

Those seamen stranded on boats throughout the world keeping imports and exports flowing, not able to disembark anywhere.

Teachers, parents and grandparents who took on the task of education of children when schools were closed.

You know all these people and many more who are the ordinary, often low paid workers or volunteers who have been drawn to service and care as were the shepherds.

The Shepherds need to be in the nativity scene this Christmas, if not in our towns and cities, then in our minds and hearts. The good news of the Christmas story is that the Shepherds had the best view and ever since, have announced to the world that God loves the humble and lowly ordinary worker.

On behalf of Fr Silvio, Fr Mario and the Parish Council, thank you and wish you all and your family a very Blessed Christmas.
Fr Jude Pirotta mssp

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Message from Fr Jude

Dear friends,

This second lockdown has been more of a challenge than the first. I certainly have struggled this time. Even though we have not been able to gather physically, we are conscious that our Parish Community continues to gather as a domestic church linked together by our faith. Our webpage has the latest news and daily reflections. As a Parish Community, we continue to hold each other in our prayers, mindful of those Parishioners who are sick and in hospital, and those who have died.

We are looking forward to when we can finally gather as a community in prayer and fellowship. Until that time, keep safe, keep well, be people of prayer and know that we think of you and pray for you each morning.

On behalf of Frs Silvio, Mario and myself, go gently.
Fr Jude Pirotta

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St James Parish Feast Day

This weekend we celebrate our Parish Feast Day in honour of St James the Apostle. We reflect on his missionary zeal and his love for Jesus. May we take up the invitation to be a parish that is missionary-minded, and foster the same spirit of our patron St James.

We can achieve this, I feel, when we are open and willing to become missionary disciples. Our Patron St James had a transformational encounter with Jesus, and chose to surrender and follow Him. It is this model of encounter, surrender and following that we too as parishioners of St James are invited to encounter Jesus through a personal experience of the love and presence of God.

Within our parish we are also given the opportunity to taste and live out the MSSP charism as missionary disciples allowing our entire life to be transformed by this encounter with Jesus.

Hopefully as we journey through this pandemic, longing for our return as the whole body of Christ, we may come prepared and open to make a deliberate decision to follow Jesus Christ as a missionary disciple in the midst of His church.

On behalf of Frs Silvio, Mario and the Parish Pastoral council I wish you all a blessed and joyful St James Feast Day.

God bless you and your families, go gently and safely, Fr Jude.

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Next weekend (Sat 25 July) we celebrate our Parish Feast Day in honour of St James the Apostle. We reflect on his missionary zeal and his love for Jesus. May we take up the invitation to be a parish that is missionary-minded, and foster the same spirit of our patron St James.

We can achieve this, I feel, when we are open and willing to become missionary disciples. Our Patron St James had a transformational encounter with Jesus, and chose to surrender and follow Him. It is this model of encounter, surrender and following that we too as parishioners of St James are invited to encounter Jesus through a personal experience of the love and presence of God.

Within our parish we are also given the opportunity to taste and live out the MSSP charism as missionary disciples allowing our entire life to be transformed by this encounter with Jesus.

Hopefully as we journey through this pandemic, longing for our return as the whole body of Christ, we may come prepared and open to make a deliberate decision to follow Jesus Christ as a missionary disciple in the midst of His church.

We look forward to celebrating the feast of St James with you next weekend, with a special online liturgy.
Fr Jude

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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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St James The Apostle