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Easter Message from Fr Jude

Exemple

Dear Parish Family at St James the Apostle,

If there is one thing that COVID has taught us, it is this: that this great Easter mystery cannot be lived in isolation. It requires the bonds of community to support us and to challenge us. Every Sunday the Church gathers us as the Body of Christ at the Table of God’s Word and celebration of the Eucharist. We gather every Sunday as active participants in the life of our Resurrected Lord. Jesus has conquered death and everything that diminishes the divine life in us and among us. His resurrection from the dead is not simply a fact of history to be retold at Easter. It is a mystery to be lived every day. As Christians, we are just as inspired by the presence of Jesus among us as those who first saw the empty tomb.

Like them, we know that Jesus is not found among the dead. He lives among us in the community gathered to celebrate the Eucharist. He lives in the gospel proclaimed by word and deed. Through the sacraments of the Church, he gathers disciples, heals the sick, reconciles sinners and calls us to service. In our outreach, it is the hand of Jesus that lifts up the poor, feeds the hungry, shelters the homeless and visits the confined. In these ways, and many others, we give witness to the mystery of Jesus living among us.

On the 18th of April we look forward with excitement as we gather in community around our Archbishop to bless our newly refurbished church building which will carry us into the future. We look forward to as many as possible to join us in this celebration – within and outside this building! May I take this opportunity to thank Fathers Silvio, Mario, Brendan and Deacon Royden, Geralyn McCarthy, the Parish Staff and Tess Mijares who takes care of the priests. Thank you to our many parishioners, including our young parishioners, who have so generously given of their time and talents to assist us to celebrate our holy week and Easter liturgies prayerfully and enabling us to be immersed in the beauty of these great liturgies. Thank you also to Kevin Lloyd and our Ushers who have enabled us to gather in a COVIDsafe manner.  Thank you to the Parish Council, Altar Servers, Carpenter’s Club, Environment Helpers (both outside and inside the Church), those involved in Music Ministry, Liturgical Ministers, Counters, Music Ministry RCIA Team, Anna Sia and the Cleaning Ministry,  those who donated palm and olive branches, people working behind the scenes and all who have been involved. We say a heartfelt thank you to all; we couldn’t manage without you.

So, dear sisters and brothers in Christ, may Easter 2021 be a time of great peace and joy for you, your families and friends. May we rediscover that despite the unpredictability of life at times, God is always faithful. God is good, good indeed!

Fr Jude Pirotta mssp

 

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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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Exemple

Love is the eye!

As I reflect on my own life and the importance of further developing my relationship with the Risen Lord, I become more aware that God never forces Himself to the extent of taking away my freedom. He is never a coercive force.

Nowhere is this more evident than in what is revealed in the resurrection of Jesus. The Gospels assure us that, like his birth, the resurrection was physical, real, and not just some alteration in the consciousness of believers. After the resurrection, we are assured that Jesus’ tomb was empty: people could touch him, he ate food with them. He was not a ghost.

After He rose from the dead, Jesus was seen by some and not by others; understood by some and not by others. Some got his meaning and it changed their lives profoundly. Others were indifferent to Him, worse still others refused to believe and hardened their hearts against Him and His followers. They tried to destroy its truth.

I often ask, why the difference? What makes some see the resurrection while others do not? What lets some understand the mystery and embrace it, while others are left in indifference or hatred? Hugo of St Victor used to say “Love is the eye!” When we look at anything through the eyes of love, we see more clearly, understand more deeply, and are able to fully grasp its mystery. The reverse is also true. When we look at anything through eyes that are jaded, cynical, jealous or bitter, we will see with eyes that are obscure and unclear: we will not understand and we will not properly capture its mystery. We return to the tomb, wrapped in our death cloths.

This was evident in how the Gospel of John describes the events of Easter Sunday. Jesus has risen, but it is only the person who is driven by love – Mary of Magdala – goes out in search of Him. The others remain as they are: locked inside their own world. But love seeks out its Beloved, and Mary of Magdala goes out, spices in hand, wanting at least to embalm His dead body. On discovering the empty tomb, she returns to tell Peter and the beloved disciple what she has found. They both race off together towards the tomb, but the beloved disciple who outruns Peter and gets to the tomb first, doesn’t enter: he waits for Peter (the symbol of authority) to go in first. Peter enters but doesn’t understand. The beloved disciple – love – enters, sees and understands. Love grasps the mystery. Love is the eye: it is what lets us see and understand the resurrection, and that is why, after the resurrection, some saw Jesus and others did not. Those with the eyes of love see and understand.

May all our parishioners at St James persevere with eyes that love so that they may experience the many resurrection moments in their lives. I wish you and your families the peace and mercy of the Risen Lord this Easter. Thank you to all who assisted in preparing and celebrating for the Holy Week and Easter liturgies, especially the Parish Staff who continue to make a wonderful contribution to serving our community, as do many generous and committed volunteers in our thriving parish at all levels, ages and stages. Gratitude goes especially at this time to those who helped make the Easter celebrations more life-giving, and all who participated: the Parish Council, Altar Servers, Carpenter’s Club, Environment Helpers (both outside and inside the Church), Music Ministry, Ushers, Carparking Attendants, Liturgical Ministers, Counters, Youth Ministry, RCIA Team, those who donated chocolates for the community, people working behind the scenes and all who have been involved. We say a heartfelt thank you to all: we couldn’t manage without you. We are always looking for new ideas to keep our liturgies vibrant, meaningful, and reaching out to all.

Yours in the Resurrection, Jude Pirotta.

 

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Easter Message 2016

 

In an unassuming way, Pope Francis has shared many profound ideas such as our need to be

protectors of life, protectors of the environment and protectors of those most in need of our society

– such as our children. The Pope is calling the Church to continue to face its failings of the past and

to ensure it always protects the most vulnerable in our society. He has spoken about how protecting

each other demands never tiring of doing good and calls for a certain tenderness which is not the

virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength.

 

Pope Francis says that, “If we look upon others with tenderness and care, it opens up a horizon of

hope; it lets a light break through the heavy clouds.” Christian people deal in hope because Jesus

conquered our own two great enemies, sin and death, by dying on the cross for us and by rising

again. Easter is about God’s mercy and forgiveness bringing new life and hope.

 

Our Parish commitment reminds us of the invitation Jesus offered our Patron St James and to his

other disciples: “Follow me”. This Gospel truth is strikingly simple but sometimes hard to follow.

With the grace of God and as a diverse yet united community we can continue to step forward and

risk the journey of faith together.

 

Easter is the great reminder that Christ died and rose once for all, and for everyone, but the power

of the Resurrection, this Passover from slavery to evil to the freedom of goodness, must be

accomplished in every age, in our concrete existence, in our every day lives. How many deserts,

even today, do human beings need to cross! Above all the desert within, when we have no love for

God and neighbor, when we fail to realise that we are guardians of all that the Creator has given us

and continues to give us. God’s mercy can make even the driest land become a garden, can restore

life to dry bones (cf. Ez 37:1-14)

 

Therefore dear followers of the Risen Christ, let us accept the grace of Christ’s Resurrection! Let us

be renewed by God’s mercy, let us be loved by Jesus, let us enable the power of his love to

transform our lives too; and let us become agents of his mercy, channels through which God can

water the earth, protect all creation and make justice and peace flourish.

 

I wish you and your families the peace and mercy of the Risen Lord this Easter.

 

Go gently in the crucified and risen Lord who calls us to serve with mercy,

 

Fr Jude Pirotta mssp

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