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Catholic Identity – 26 March 2020

 

Prayer for the world facing the challenge of COVID-19

 

Dear God who hears the cries of all the world.

You invite us to trust in your gift of unconditional love.

Stay with us in this time.

Give strength to those who are ill and work through the hands and hearts of those who serve.

Be with us as we pray and learn at home, unable to access the communities that have carried us for so long.

In every heart you have given the capacity to love as Jesus loved.

Let us share this love today.

Amen.

 

Bishop Patrick O’Regan appointment and Planary 2020.

We congratulate Bishop Patrick on his appointment as leader of the Diocese of Adelaide and thank him for the gift of his presence in the Sale Diocese for the last five years. We also congratulate our St Michael’s parent, Katherine Jelavic, on her appointment as representative of the Diocese of Sale at the Plenary 2020.

 

Project Compassion completion

Thanks to students and families for supporting the Project Compassion campaign. Boxes were collected on the last day of term. We know this year is different to any other, so any help is gratefully received and will be passed on to Caritas. It was wonderful to hear messages of hope and solidarity from those who have received help from Caritas recipients from overseas, wishing Australians all the best after the recent bushfires.

 

Daily Prayers for students

The RE department is now preparing daily prayer resources in case students begin remote learning next term. Creating a calm and reflective space at home will help us all thrive through this time of uncertainty. Let’s keeping praying for all people to work together in solidarity so that this time will pass.

 

Liturgy on Sundays

The College will be sending resources home each Friday to support family prayer. Without the access to parish Eucharist this is a challenging time for the faithful. This is the letter which was sent out to parents last Friday with the content of the Mass of the fourth Sunday of Lent. Tomorrow, resources for celebrating the 5th Sunday of Lent will be emailed to families. We hope that you can use the prayers and readings to stay in touch with the wonderful prayer of the Church which directs us to prayers, the Word of God and sustaining our orientation to Christ at this time.

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

In response to the COVID-19 virus our Victorian Bishops have said that in the immediate future all Catholics in Victoria are dispensed from their Sunday obligation.

At the same time, they are encouraging us to still be active in family prayer especially in the absence of parish masses.

For those whose prayer and faith life have been nourished by Sunday mass in particular, this time represents a great challenge. How do we nurture our faith in the absence of Eucharist and community?

But, this is not the first time in the history of the Church in this country that this has happened. Let alone in the countries that many of our St Francis Xavier College community have come from.  Access to priest, to parish to mass is not easy for many people of faith in the world.

Let me share a snippet from the research of our Deacon, Rev Graeme Pender, a Church historian:

In the early years of colonisation there were no priests. The first Mass was lead by Fr Dixon in 1803, but only five people were allowed to attend that Mass and the ones that followed shortly after.

Despite the absence of parish or formal faith community people of faith still acted in ways faithful to the gospel message of Jesus and sought to fulfil the invitation of Jesus when he said:

 

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?

 

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.  Matthew 25:37-40

 

And the early Catholics did this when the first Good Samaritan Sisters, provided sanctuary, education and dignity for the women of the colony, whose only means of finance was prostitution in early settlement.

The faithfulness, prayerfulness and courage of Catholics has been present in Australia since the European beginnings of settlement, with or without access to parish or weekly liturgy and we can draw strength from this for today.

Dr Graeme Pender has prepared a summary of the beginnings of Catholicism in Australia for your reference at a time when it is not possible to celebrate Mass in your parish.

Our RE staff are preparing a resource for you to stay connected with the church using the Mass texts for each Sunday. The resource will also provide ideas on how to set up for, celebrate and pray with the content of each Sunday’s readings and prayers, including some guidelines for reflections on the readings, and liturgical music as well.

As we get closer to Holy Week the resources will include information about how to connect with the Easter Triduum celebrations. The resources will also go wider than the Sunday Eucharist too.

Let us all take heart from the courage and steadfastness of Catholics in days of old and other parts of the world who likewise have limited access to priests or parish.

Let us use this time as a great opportunity to deepen our connection to the life-giving liturgy of the Church in our own homes.

We can all be the hands and heart of God today for our family in this challenging time. So, as you make your home your sacred faith place, just like what was done in the early church, please pray for our community and the world.

 

 

 

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