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Fr Mario Zammit MSSP

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Fr Mario Zammit MSSP

Parishioners and friends at St James the Apostle parish, over the past year I have had the privilege of celebrating life with you as a community.

I thank Fr Jude, Fr Silvio and Dcn Royden and the Parish Pastoral Council for their kind invitation and welcome, and you all for embracing me and for your support.

Unfortunately we will not have an opportunity to say a proper farewell, I will be departing Australia on September 9 on my way to my new mission in the Philippines.

Thank you and please keep me in your prayers.

Fr Mario mssp
([email protected])

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Fr Mario Zammit mssp, Parish Priest of St John’s, Heidelberg, has been a fixture at St James Parish over many years, assisting and supporting Fr Jude in our Parish and in our Mission Trips to the Philippines. Later this year, Fr Mario will leave the Australian Province of the MSSPs to begin his new ministry in the Philippines. Here are a few words from Fr Mario, addressing his Parish:

Over the past few weeks, at our weekday Masses, the gospel readings were taken from the long farewell speech of Jesus at the Last Supper narrative according the John. This farewell speech covers four chapters in this gospel! I do not pretend to be John the evangelist, even if I have spent the last seven years in his shadow, but it does seem that my farewell speech(es) are coming in a number of editions. Please bear with me. I would have dearly loved to share some of these thoughts with you in person, but our new friend Covid had other plans!

Up to a few months ago, if anyone asked me whether I had any intention of leaving the parish, I would have definitely answered with a clear NO! I was certainly enjoying my time at St John’s, surrounded with a nice group of parishioners and friends, school staff and students, with my ministry at OLMC and Marcellin colleges and the hospitals. I believe that, apart from some hiccups that are part of life anyway, we had struck a good relationship and were enjoying each other’s company. My intention was that, after I finished my first six-year term as parish priest in November 2021, I put my hand up for another term, taking me to 2027, before I had to consider moving to another parish. So what changed?

While my first love has always been, and still is, St John’s and ministry in the parish, what many of you did not realise was that I had a second love which I rarely spoke about. Before my sudden appearance at St John’s in October 2013, I had just spent six months in Manila and in Bataan, in the Philippines. I actually went back there in September 2015, and then with two groups in January of 2019 and 2020. I had always nurtured a love of working among the less fortunate among God’s people. In 1980, as a deacon, I had already spent one full year in Karachi and in Faisalabad, in Pakistan, a ministry I totally enjoyed.

Last January, during my visit to the Philippines with some members of our parish, things finally fell into place, and as those who were with me can tell, I really enjoyed the space and could not resist requesting my superiors to consider assigning me to that mission. The parishioners who joined me in either of those trips can appreciate what draws me to that mission.

Through our Baptism, each of us is called to be a missionary and to witness to God’s words and actions in our life. We are called to be missionaries in every situation we encounter. My ministry in the parishes in NSW and in Heidelberg was certainly missionary. I have always tried my best to live the good news with you. As a member of a missionary congregation, I feel drawn to minister among those who are less fortunate—this seems to be part of my DNA. My transfer to the mission in the Philippines gives me the opportunity to live out this part of my missionary vocation.

I understand that I have left myself open to be accused that I have cheated you by abandoning my first love and choosing to continue my journey with my second love, but I ask you to be kind to me and appreciate my desire to take up this new ministry. Once again I thank you all for your welcome, friendship and support. As I said in my message two months ago, I will always carry you with me in my heart!

Fr Mario Zammit mssp

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It is with a  heavy heart, many prayers, but a clear mind, that I have made the decision to resign from my duties at St James Parish.  I thank you for all the love, care and support throughout the years.  It has truly been a labour of love and a great faith filled journey, with may blessings, little miracles, and beautiful friendships formed over the years.

I thank God for leading me to St James at a time when I was faced with a huge life changing challenge and of course my prayers to be sent to where He wanted me to work next.  Bingo, St James Parish House!  Luckily, I listened and trusted completely in God’s plan.

Once again, I find myself listening to God’s whispers, which has been a big influence in my decision to resign from St James. Yours sincerely,

Leonie Martinez, Parish House Keeper

 

 

Fr Jude gives thanks for Leonie and writes:

 

I would personally like to thank Leonie for her care, support and love over the past 11 years.  She has lovingly prepared meals for me and the many visiting brother priests over this time, the school principals and visitors to the Parish House.  Leonie has also maintained and cleaned the Parish House and has possessed a friendly, welcoming and caring attitude to all visitors, making my ministry less stressful.

I personally wish to thank Leonie, Joe her husband and her daughters Kiarra and Alicia for the beautiful journey we have shared. We look forward to continuing the journey as we live out  the joy of the Gospel.  There will be a Mass of Farewell for Leonie on Sat 09 March at 6:00pm. May God bless you.

Fr Jude Pirotta

 

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We farewell Bev Winchcombe who has been part of the fabric of our community for many years. Many of you would know Bev from her service in our many ministries including the Piety Stall Ministry of which she was the coordinator. We will miss Bev as she embarks on this journey. Bev writes:

I’d like to thank you all. I have seen St James grow from its humble beginnings. I was here when the Church was still being built. I helped out where I could starting with the Vacuuming Ministry and in setting up the chairs in the portable before the Church was built. I have had many interesting, adventurous and loving times and for this I thank our Lord.

With a lot of prayer and thought, we made the decision for a new adventure in our retirement to go interstate. So with a heavy but happy heart, I thank you all and will always remember you and our community.

Please be happy for me and remember to smile. I thank you and love you all. God bless, Bev.

 

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Farewell to Deacon Giovann mssp

This weekend marks the final weekend Deacon Giovann will be with us. He will now go to Sunshine North Parish before returning to the Philippines to finish his studies. Let us keep him in our prayers. Deacon Giovann writes to us:

I am more than grateful for this amazing experience of living here at St James the Apostle Parish! Even if my stay here was pretty short I did feel very much at home and welcomed to share my life with you. A word of special thanks goes to Fr Jude who with all involved here is doing something indeed special. Which I feel more than honoured to experience. While I continue my journey of life may I please ask you to keep me, and all of us Paulist Missionaries in your prayers. May we continue to strive to be beautiful people of God!

Giovann Tabone

 

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