This will be a Lent we all remember, I am sure. In the midst of the growing spread of COVID-19, all the Masses have been suspended in our Archdiocese. For many of us, Sunday Mass is a staple of our week and our spiritual life. This is an opportunity and a challenge to us to live Sunday as something different, as something holy. When it is not possible for us to participate at Mass, how can we still keep holy the Lord’s Day?
The Catholic Church encourages the faithful to make frequent, even daily, Communion. But when we cannot make it, however, we can still make an Act of Spiritual Communion, in which we express our faith in Christ and in His Presence in the Eucharist, and we ask Him to unite Himself with us. The basic elements of an Act of Spiritual Communion are an Act of Faith; an Act of Love; a desire to receive Christ; and an invitation to Him to come into our heart.
The most common occasion for making an Act of Spiritual Communion is when we cannot fulfil our obligation to attend Mass on a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation, whether because of illness or bad weather, or some other reason outside of our control. It is also good to make an Act of Spiritual Communion when we can attend Mass, but not able to receive sacramental Communion.
However, always take a minute or so to make an Act of Spiritual Communion. We can even do so multiple times a day—even on days when we have been able to receive the Eucharist. Why would we do that? Because each Act of Spiritual Communion increases our desire to receive sacramental Communion, and also helps us to avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Communion worthily.
How to make an Act of Spiritual Communion?
1. Make the sign of the Cross
2. If possible, read the Mass Readings
3. Recite the Prayer of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that You are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love You above all things, and I desire to receive You into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive You sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace You as if You were already there and unite myself wholly to You. Never permit me to be separated from You. Amen.
In these times of trial, let us pray that our faith may hold firm and our commitment to one another be strengthened. During this time, being a caring community is really important. We continue to pray for all people throughout the world - the many people- who are suffering due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We pray for those who have died, that the Lord receives them into His care.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Wednesday March 25
Thursday March 26
Friday March 27
Sunday March 29 - Fifth Sunday in Lent
In these unprecedented times, The Catholic Leader has decided to share our news for free.
With the recent announcement to suspend all Sunday and Saturday vigil Masses until further notice, you, our readers, will be unable to buy The Catholic Leader at parishes on weekends. So, we are making our digital newspaper free at our website, catholicleader.com.au.
This digital newspaper will be free for readers to access until parishes reopen across the Brisbane archdiocese. It is our commitment to ensure that everybody has access to stories of connection, inspiration, and faith.
We will also have up-to-date daily news published on our website and shared to our social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We will strive to maintain our reputation as a truthful, Catholic news service for leaders locally, across the province and beyond.
Thank you for helping us to share the Good News and we pray that all Catholics who feel disconnected will find hope, purpose, and renewed faith from our content.
Managing editor of The Catholic Leader
Last night the Federal Government suspended all non-essential gatherings for an initial 4 weeks to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and to give the community time to understand fully social distancing requirements. The ruling applies from noon today (23 March).
The ruling includes a suspension of all religious gatherings, places of worship or funerals (in enclosed spaces and other than very small groups and where the 1 person per 4 square metre rule applies).
Therefore, all parishes in the Archdiocese of Brisbane are required to suspend with immediate effect all Masses, including weekday Masses.
Parish churches should close immediately until further notice. Mass will not be celebrated publicly; nor will there be other celebrations such as Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Stations of the Cross. However, the Cathedral of St Stephen will for the time being remain open for private prayer, with the current restrictions and precautions applying. This is because, in a way not possible for parish churches, the Cathedral is able to ensure a supply of the necessary cleaning materials and the staff to ensure that the space and its furnishings are properly cleaned on a regular basis. It is also a symbolic way, at the heart of the city, of pointing to the necessity of prayer at a time when prayer is more needed than ever.
Funerals should be a private event strictly limited in size and in line with Queensland Health guidelines The 4 square meter rule shall be adhered to and social distancing of 1.5 metres observed throughout. If you need advice in this matter please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation should not be celebrated until further notice. The Holy See has given permission for the celebration of the Third Rite in exceptional circumstances which are unlikely to apply in this country. Approval should be sought from me or Bishop Howell for any proposed celebration of the Third Rite.
Baptism and weddings should be delayed if at all possible. If these celebrations need to proceed, attendance should again be strictly limited, with the 4 square metre rule and social distancing of 1.5 metres observed in line with the advice I gave last week.
First Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Communion should be postponed until the pandemic is over.
All other parish events, both outdoor and indoor, should be cancelled. This would include events such as outdoor Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.
Meetings should be conducted by phone or skype wherever possible, and where held in person, need to be conducted in line with the 4 square metre rule and social distancing of 1.5 metres throughout.
In days to come, I will provide Archdiocesan directives for the celebration of Holy Week, which will be based upon the guidelines already produced by the Holy See.
The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference is submitting to the Holy See texts for a Mass in Time of Pandemic, which we hope to have approved in the near future.
I conclude with the Collect of that Mass:
O God, healer of all our ills, to whom we turn in this time of distress, grant, we pray in the power of faith, eternal rest to the dead and comfort to those who mourn, health to the sick and peace to the dying, strength to medical workers, wisdom to our leaders and a spirit of kindness to us all. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
As always in the Lord,
+ Mark Coleridge
Archbishop of Brisbane
Due to the Coronavirus epidemic, there are no weekend Mass celebrations until further notice.
The following directive has been received from the Archbishop of Brisbane
It is essential in a time such as this to strengthen and deepen our spiritual life, precisely so that we do not “lose sight of Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). The Archdiocese will do everything possible to assist you with this; and there is an abundance of online resources – including Mass at home – to nourish your faith through this time. As Pope Francis has said, pastors will have to show creativity in ministering to their people; and there are many examples of this around the world, with technology making it less difficult than in the past.
With the blessing of peace,
+ Mark Coleridge
Archbishop of Brisbane
Reconciliation is officially called the Sacrament of Penance. In the past, it was also called Confession. These titles are all aspects of the meaning of the Sacrament. The Sacrament of Penance is a celebration of God’s love and mercy. It celebrates the call to repentance after a process of conversion of heart. This includes confessing our sins and receiving the forgiveness of God through the ministry of the priest. Through this process, a person is reconciled with the Church and continues to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
How do we celebrate reconciliation?
There are three forms of the celebration of penance.
When do we celebrate reconciliation?
Individual Reconciliation (Rite I) is usually celebrated at set times during the week in parishes (often on Saturday afternoon) and may be arranged at other times by appointment. This Rite is meant to give people the opportunity for personal prayer and individual spiritual direction to enable them to ‘set their lives on track’!
Communal Reconciliation (Rite II) is usually celebrated in parish communities during Advent and Lent and at other appropriate times during the year.
Who celebrates reconciliation?
Baptised members of the Roman Catholic Church who feel called to be reconciled with God and with the faith community can take part in the sacrament of penance. This call to conversion and reconciliation occurs when one considers, judges and changes one’s life in the light of God’s love revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Prayer and participating in the Eucharist are the regular means of asking for forgiveness and being reconciled with God and the community. However, there are times when the faithful need the sacrament of penance/reconciliation in their struggle to be forgiven and forgiving, to discover anew the gift of God’s saving action in their lives and to be strengthened to continue living as disciples of Jesus.
Copyright © 2020 | Part of the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Now as we enter the Second Week of Lent, our task is to continue to examine our hearts and to repent in order to prepare ourselves for the glorious paschal mystery. The Gospel this weekend speaks of the transfiguration of Jesus in the presence of His disciples, manifesting to them His divinity to strengthen them in their faith before He enters into His Passion and death on the cross. The invitation to “Listen to him” is directed to the disciples and us. We need to pray and listen to what God says during this Lent and yet we know God has no need of our prayer, in fact the very desire to pray be a gift from God. So I invite you during this Lenten season to spend an hour to be still before God in our Birkdale Chapel through the 40 Hours adoration on March 27th- 29th. You are invited to come and pray anytime during the 40 hours or commit to spend a specific hour with Jesus.
Stations of the Cross
Every Friday during Lent, there will be Stations of the Cross at Birkdale church starting at 9.00 am followed by Holy Mass.
Good News for kids
Our parish is aiming to start children’s liturgy to explain the message of the Gospel and to stimulate involvement from the children so that they can relate to their own lives. The children’s liturgy sessions are run by parish catechists and volunteers. They take place during the mass. The children are led out by catechists at the start of mass, and return during the Preparation of the Gifts. Each session is led by at least 2 Adult. Parents can also assist children to engage more fully in the Sunday Gospel by looking up the weekly readings prior to attending Sunday Mass.
Children’s Liturgy will take place about every first and third Sunday. The sessions go for no more than 20 – 25 minutes during the 9:30am Mass at Manly and 8.00 am mass at Birkdale and that includes time for a themed activity. All children are welcome to join in.
Your presence here makes all the difference....
Our parish needs more volunteers for all the Ministries and volunteers play an important part in the day to day operation of the parish. If you are interested in any ministry, please email the Parish or talk to me. It’s a great way to get more involved in the Parish.
About That Virus COVID-19
There is a message below from the Archbishop about a response to the coronavirus.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
We have now entered the great season of lent. It is important for us to realize that our life is a journey, a movement towards God and the way to prepare ourselves to receive Him fully. During the season of Lent, the Church invites us to examine our lives, to repent of our sins and do penance. By means of fasting, penance and prayers, the faithful obtain the strength they need to overcome our sinful tendencies.
What makes each Lent different is our response. This special time can be an opportunity for real conversion of heart. Turning away from the trap of selfishness, turning towards Jesus who gives fullness of life, lasting into eternity, starting here and now.
At the beginning of chapter six of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus calls us to give to the poor, to pray and to fast. But He prefaces this call with a warning not to “practice these good deeds before people in order to be seen by them.” Three times He repeats “your Father, who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.” Lent is a time for that deeper meeting with God and the true conversion of our hearts. Only out of that conversion can come any good deeds worthy of the name.
A Different Approach to Fasting... Fasts have a tendency to be oriented toward things like giving up food or television. But there are many other creative ways we can welcome Jesus' healing touch. Here are suggestions we may want to consider. *Fast from anger and hatred. Give our family an extra dose of love each day. Give up anger - Be more patient. *Fast from judging others. Before making any judgments, recall how Jesus overlooks our faults. Give up gossiping - Control your tongue. *Fast from discouragement. Hold on to Jesus' promise that He has a perfect plan for our life. Give up discouragement - Be full of hope. *Fast from complaining. When we find ourselves about to complain, close our eyes and recall some of the little moments of joy Jesus has given us. Give up complaining - Focus on gratitude. *Fast from resentment or bitterness. Work on forgiving those who may have hurt us. Give up bitterness - Turn to forgiveness. *Fast from spending too much money. Try to reduce our spending by ten percent and give those savings to the poor.
Finally, make this Lent a time to rediscover the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Don’t wait till Holy Week, but find a time early in Lent to reflect on where you need forgiveness and healing and bring it to Confession. The priest will welcome you and help you. The prayer of Absolution is beautiful for the truly penitent to hear.
Wishing you Peace, Love, and Happiness during Lent and let’s pray for one another as we journey to Easter.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
One day, Mother Teresa was asking a baker for some bread to feed the hungry children in her orphanage. The baker was furious with her request for free bread. Not only did he turn her down, he spat at her. In response to his outrageous actions, Mother Teresa calmly reached deep into her pocket, took out her handkerchief, wiped the spit off and said "That was for me; now what about some bread for my poor children?" The baker was touched by Mother Teresa's love and greatness, complied and thereafter provided bread for the children in the orphanage. What makes a disciple of Jesus Christ different from everyone else? What makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace - treating others, not as we deserve, but as God wishes us to be treated - with loving- kindness and mercy.
I do not know if you have heard this already. An unknown author said something about what a Christian is all about. This is what he said:
This weekend’s Gospel speaks of the essence of holiness. And why should we be holy? It’s because God Himself is holy and we have been created in His image. The passage concludes with Jesus saying, “Be perfect, then, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This obviously is an ideal, a goal to be aimed at. And the perfection intended is not total perfection but rather to aim at that total impartiality of a God who extends His providential care and love equally to all. What Jesus wants is for us to adopt a divine perspective and to see other people as they really are. He wants us to pray for everyone and to love them as God loves them. Jesus understands perfectly well that the best way to get people to be more open is to treat them with dignity and to appeal to their better instincts.
So let's take up the challenge Jesus gives us today. Let's try to be perfect, in each decision we make and in all that we do. Strive to be perfect!
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
Wednesday 26th February: Ash Wednesday 6:00pm Mass
The message of this weekend’s Gospel is for us to understand the fundamental value of Jesus calling us to have a heart that is forgiving, faithful and trustful. This is the wisdom of God that comes as a gift from God. It is not mere human wisdom. In bringing the law of God to completion, Jesus calls us to live in love, a love that completes us and makes us whole because it is God’s love. God calls us to a radical way of living. We are called to be more than just moral: God calls us to be virtuous. We become virtuous by faithfully choosing to do good. Naturally we are not perfect, but God calls us to reflect on how we live and to understand what He desires for us. Such reflection can lead us to insight that will help us to live better and be more virtuous in the future. Therefore, by reflecting on our experience in the light of faith we grow in wisdom.
In today’s Gospel Matthew emphasizes the close relationship between Jewish Law and the teaching of Jesus. Here Jesus explains that He has not come to abolish the Law and the prophets but to bring them to completion. He tells us that the Law still has its force and will not pass away till it has achieved the purpose for which it was given. Jesus gives us the new law, namely the law of love. In the first reading Sirach affirms that God knows every human action. As a wise teacher he urges his listeners to make the right choice in life. They have the commandments to guide them. In the second reading Paul reminds us that God has many riches for those who love Him and tells us that the rulers of this age failed to recognize God’s wisdom in Christ. True wisdom however is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit.
Today Jesus is sharing with us the wisdom of forgiveness, faithfulness and trustfulness. Let us pray today and everyday that we might be able to forgive, to be faithful and to be truthful. But let us also remember to first choose to love and be loved.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil