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Fr Jude wishes to express his heartfelt thanks to all who have reached out and ministered to him at the recent and sudden death of his sister-in-law Leonie and of Brother Joe Pantalleresco mssp who died during the week at the Little Sisters of the Poor—Northcote.
For this, he is truly grateful.
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Dear Parishioners and friends of St James,
Looking back over the year of 2021, we can see how it was another frustrating year in so many ways for all. I appreciate that it has not been an easy time for any of us. At least we have had the opportunity for live streaming so that family members and friends have had the opportunity to participate by tuning in, and being virtually present in spirit.
Masses are now open to all and you are all most welcome in joining us at our Sunday Liturgies. In this first publication of the Parish Bulletin, may I welcome all Parishioners and in particular new Parishioners who have begun the journey of faith with us. We also welcome back our Parish School Communities and all ministries within the life of our Parish, enhancing and deepening our encounter with Jesus.
Late in 2019 Pope Francis decreed that a day be ‘devoted to the celebration, study, and spreading of the Word of God’.
In Australia it’s the first Sunday in February. Here’s a fragment from Francis’ letter: ‘A day devoted to the Bible should not be seen as a yearly event but rather a year-long event, for we urgently need to grow in our knowledge and love of the Scriptures and of the risen Lord, who continues to speak his word and to break bread in the community of believers. . . We need to develop a closer relationship with sacred Scripture; otherwise, our hearts will remain cold and our eyes shut, struck as we are by so many forms of blindness.’
Throughout the year there will be a number of opportunities for all of us to meet and explore our vision and dream as we look ahead for the future life of the Parish and our current financial situation after the recent Church refurbishments. We will also be looking at Stage 3 of our Building Project, the Community Centre.
We look forward to journeying with each other even through challenging times.
May the spirit of peace and goodwill remain with us all as we enter into this new year of 2022.
God bless you and your families,
Fr Jude Pirotta mssp
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Dear Parishioners of St James,
Greetings! Here we are finding ourselves as Victorians in another snap lockdown, the fifth of its kind! Please be reassured of our solidarity with you at this difficult time. On behalf of Frs Silvio, Brendan, Mario, Dcn Royden and the parish council, I write to remind you all of our Parish Feast Day on Sunday 25th July. We celebrate the martyrdom, in the year 44 AD, of St James the Apostle, patron saint of our Parish and of one of our Parish Primary Schools. Usually, on this day, we would gather as one family to celebrate with a special Eucharist around the table of the Lord and our Parish Party. For obvious reasons, for yet a second time, we are unable to come together for this celebration. While we may not be able to come together physically, we will still celebrate a special Eucharist dedicated to our Patron Saint. At this stage we cannot determine what will happen in a week’s time, hopefully we will be able to be present in our newly renovated church home; if this is not possible, we will certainly be able to celebrate, in a limited way, through live-stream on our parish YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/StJamestheApostlehcn) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/stjamesapostlehcn) pages. We were planning to enjoy some light refreshments, with the traditional cutting of the feast day cake, after the 10:30am Mass, but, for the moment, all this is on hold awaiting further announcements.
During these difficult times there is a piece of good news as, together with St Peter’s Mission parish, we have started an Alpha programme. This is a series of interactive sessions that create a safe and honest space where people can explore life, faith and meaning. A number of parishioners have responded to our invitation and the programme started last Tuesday. This will be another opportunity of renewal and growth in our parish community. Thank you to Fr Silvio and Dcn Royden for participating in this eleven week programme.
Wishing all at St James Primary School and St James parish the blessings of a happy feast day.
Fr Jude M Pirotta mssp pp
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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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Fr Jude and Fr Mario will be away from Thurs 26 Nov—Fri 04 Dec. Fr Silvio will be available during this time.