We need to be Spirit-filled Christians.... In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves for what we will be later.” “Nonsense” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?” The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat from our mouth. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.” The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. But the umbilical cord is so short. Life after delivery is to be logically excluded.” The second insisted,” Well I think there is something, and maybe it’s different from life here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.” The first replied, “Nonsense. And moreover, if there is life, then why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life. “Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.” The first replied “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists, then where is she now?” The second said.” She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of her. It is in her that we live. Without her this world would not and could not exist.” Said the first: “Well I don’t see her, so it is only logical that she doesn’t exit.” To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can hear her loving voice, calling down from above.”
Today is Pentecost: The Church’s birthday! The last Sunday of Easter season. “Before Pentecost, the disciples were unsure of what they were to do next, and spent most of their time in hiding. After Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they understood their mission to spread the Good News of Jesus. They had the courage to come out of their hiding and speak openly about Jesus. There is much in our universe that is real but is not visible to the naked eye. Actually what we see with our eyes is only a fraction of our physical world. The Holy Spirit is part of the spiritual world, and it is no surprise that we cannot see the Spirit with our eyes. Yet, there are helpful ways of imagining the Holy Spirit. St. Paul uses an image drawn from nature, speaking about the fruits of the Spirit. He is talking about the visible impact of the Spirit on one’s life. We may not be able to see the Holy Spirit, but we can see the impact of the Spirit in our life, just as we cannot see the wind but can see the impact of the wind on people and objects of various kinds. St. Paul is saying that wherever we find love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control, the Spirit is there at work. The Spirit becomes visible in and through these qualities and virtues. The Holy Spirit is essentially the very life of God, and that life is a life of love. The Spirit is constantly at work in our lives, making us more like Jesus. We can recognize the Spirit’s presence in the common happenings of everyday life. The spiritual is not something other-worldly; it is humanity at its best.
So dear friends, today is a great day to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle in us the spirit of new life and enthusiasm, the fire of God's love. Let us repeat Cardinal Newman’s favourite little prayer, “Come Holy Spirit:”
“Come Holy Spirit
Make our ears to hear
Make our eyes to see
Make our mouths to speak
Make our hearts to seek
Make our hands to reach out
And touch the world with your love. Amen.”
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
The feast of “The Ascension of the Lord” that we celebrate this weekend was actually last Thursday exactly 40 days after Easter, but because of its importance and for pastoral reasons it is moved to this Sunday. Everyone is looking for a long and happy life. And we know Eternal life is unending happiness. This is what we all seek. Jesus today tells us how to attain this all-important reward in life. The feast of “The Ascension of the Lord” is the hope of our glorification and a promise to meet our Lord in heaven. It is a reminder of our salvation, because our true home is in heaven. This is the beautiful truth we celebrate today. So we are challenged to look beyond this world to the destiny which we are to share with Christ. Thus, this world can only be a place of temporary refuge; a world of passage and not a world of permanence.
Moreover, this feast of the Ascension is also a reminder, not just of what awaits us, but also what we need to do while we are still on earth. His Ascension is also the start of our mission, the call that Jesus gives to His Church to continue His mission. A big task indeed. But before we can proclaim Jesus to others, our first task is to make sure that we make Jesus the Lord of our own hearts. This we can do by prayerfully reflecting on His words and by living according to His teachings and commandments.
We are to make time to become more and more Christ like in everything. We can write a new page of the gospel each day, through the things that we do and the words that we say. Then we proclaim the Good News to others not only through our words and deeds, but also through our lives. So that Jesus will also reign in their hearts and one day we all will be with Him in heaven.
The Feast of Mary, Help of Christians, the Patroness of Australia is on 24th May, this year because it falls on Sunday we celebrate this feast on 25th Monday. I now ask you to join me in saying the prayer of entrustment of Australia to the care of Mary Help of Christians, on this her feast day especially during this extraordinary situation.
O Immaculate Mary, Help of Christians, Queen of heaven and earth, and tender Mother of humanity, at this time when a pandemic threatens all your children, we entrust to you our nation, Australia, and all who live in this country. We commit to your intercession all the members of our community, beginning with the weakest ones, from the unborn to the sick, the disabled and the elderly. We commit to you our families, our young and old, and all who are vulnerable, those who are quarantined or anxious. We entrust to your Immaculate Heart those who have lost their livelihood or employment, our pastors and other essential service workers, and our leaders at this time. We implore your intercession especially for the protection of doctors and nurses and those who minister to the contagious sick in this crisis. Reign over us, Mother of God, and teach us how to make the Heart of Jesus reign and triumph in us and around us, as it has reigned and triumphed in you. Amen.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
From 23 May
St John Vianney’s Manly Parish invites applications for the part-time position of Parish Secretary 15 to 20 hours over 3 to 4 days per week.
The successful applicant will have:
Specific responsibilities include:
The day-to-day running of the parish office including reception, general office responsibilities, general banking, database entry, document preparation, photocopying and filing.
Please submit your current resume and a covering letter outlining your suitability for the position of Parish Secretary. Applications should include the name of two (2) referees one of which preferably should be a Parish Priest.
For a copy of the position description or any other enquires please email James Herd, HR Coordinator.
Remuneration will be based on the suitable candidate’s skills and experience and be paid in line with the Clerks Private Sector Modern Award 2010. Applications close on Friday 29 May 2020. The Archdiocese of Brisbane has standards of conduct for workers to maintain a safe and healthy environment for children. Our commitment to these standards requires that we conduct working with children checks and background referencing for all persons who will engage in direct and regular involvement with children and young people (0 - 18 years) and/or vulnerable adults. The organisation is fully committed to child safety and has a 0 tolerance to abuse of children or vulnerable adults.
As the weeks of the Easter Season continue, we hear more and more in our Gospel reading about God the Holy Spirit. In the Third Eucharistic Prayer, in the second petition following the consecration, the priest prays: “... grant that we, who are nourished by the Body and Blood of your Son, and filled with His Holy Spirit, may become one body, one spirit in Christ.” This is where the Easter Season is leading us. It is the heart of the mystery of Pentecost.
The Holy Spirit helps us love others even when it is difficult to do so. Everyone around us is an important part of our spiritual life, whether we realise it or not. They all important in our journey on the way to Christ Jesus. Sometimes that way is not easy. Perhaps it requires reconciliation and forgiveness. The Gospel of today focuses on the gift of the Spirit, the Advocate who Jesus sends to us. The Holy Spirit helps us understand what we believe, draws us into the truth of Jesus and comforts us in our affliction.
We rely on the Spirit to help us to continue to grow. In these days leading up to the Solemnity of Pentecost, the feast of the sending of the Holy Spirit upon us, we are reminded to keep asking for this Spirit to be poured out on us and on all the earth. Let us ask the Holy Spirit today to give us wisdom and understanding, especially in our faith and our dealing with others. Let us walk more and more faithfully with Jesus each day and try to live as He did, enlightened by the Holy Spirit, loving others and giving our lives to the service of those around us so that our world can be transformed.
Easing of restrictions from 15 May
We understand the desire of everyone to return to the Masses and sacraments, but we continue to cooperate with the policies developed to ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone. The Queensland Government has announced the implementation of step one which will allow for gatherings of up to 10 people for weddings, places of worship and religious ceremonies. Funerals will be increased to a maximum capacity of 20 people indoors and 30 people outdoors. These protocols will be in effect through to 12 June 2020 and are subject to change with any ongoing amendments to Queensland Health guidelines. All of these activities must continue to observe social distancing. This news requires further consultation in regards to implementation for parishes and workplaces. We are hoping for a statement that will be released from the Archbishop’s office next week to outline how these new guidelines will be implemented within the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
One of the greatest truths of the Christian faith is that we can know the living God. Our experience of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. On this Fifth Sunday of Easter we reflect on Jesus as our way, truth and life and we receive the fullness of life in and through Him.
Jesus assures us of a place in His kingdom: “Let not your hearts be troubled...there are many rooms in my father’s house...so that where I am you may be too.” This is a clear indication that by virtue of baptism we are truly children of God. This is why He considers us worthy of being where He is going to be.
Jesus reveals the Father to us. He is the life that is not mere existence but sharing in the very life of God and communicating that life. Thus anyone who wants to know who God is and what He is like, must know Jesus. He has revealed the Father to us in His very being and life. He not only taught about a loving and forgiving Father, He lived His own life in a loving and forgiving way. He practiced what He preached. He taught in a very simple, down-to-earth way.
To know Jesus means to have a personal, deep, warm relationship with Him. To follow the Way of Jesus is not to go anywhere. It is to become a special kind of person, whose whole being reflects the Truth and Life that Jesus reveals to us. It is to be a follower who is totally identified with the vision and the values of Jesus. It is to walk in Truth and Life.
Let us pray today that we may let the Lord form us by His words and example. Let our hearts accept whatever rejection or difficulties of life we are called to face to follow Jesus. May our hearts be on fire with love of the Lord.
This weekend, we give thanks to God for all mothers on this Mother’s Day weekend. We acknowledge the care and love of mothers and pray that they receive joy, health and peace.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Even in these dark pandemic days, the Church continues to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead during the Easter season. The Fourth Sunday of Easter on the Church’s calendar is often called “Good Shepherd Sunday” because the Good News is that Jesus is the Good Shepherd who loves His sheep, even to the point of laying down His life for them. Jesus often used the imagery of shepherds and sheep to show His commitment for those in His care. He, the Good Shepherd, exemplifies the relationship between the shepherd and the sheep. The imagery is old, but the message is still relevant to us.
It’s been four months now since I arrived in this parish as your pastor. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to know everyone in this parish before this lockdown began. This COVID-19 virus has affected so many aspects of our lives in different ways, our health, finances, our social interactions and also our spiritual situations. So many parishioners feel pain at not being able to come to Mass and receive Holy Communion. I’ve received a couple of emails from our parishioners expecting some contact from the parish and the priests. Please be assured Fr. Prem and myself still offer Masses and you all are in our prayers and thoughts, despite the empty pews.
Our parish staff, pastoral council members are devising new ways for the parish to keep in contact. We can maintain our parish connections. These people will introduce themselves and say they are phoning on behalf of the parish. The phone contact is to assure you that you have a valued connection with our parish. If your contact details have changed, please email, or phone the office and help us to stay in touch. Occasionally we will send an email from the parish office to keep you connected with the parish newsletter. If you miss out it is because we don’t have your current email address. Once we know it we will it follow up. If you know someone who would like a copy, please print and share with them.
Please check out our ‘Stay Connected’ section for latest updates and links to the live streamed Mass from the Cathedral as well as Liturgies for you to be able to use at home during this difficult time while the church must be closed.
Parish Office hours have been reduced due to the current circumstances. Staff are working from home and will only be in the Parish Office on Tuesday and Friday at Birkdale parish office. You can keep in contact with us by email or phone and we will endeavour to make contact with you as soon as possible.
As you know, with the suspension of public Masses, collections are not taking place, which places some
strain on our parish finances through considerably reduced income. We understand that many are facing the task of preparing for the financial difficulties that lie ahead. If you are able, please remember the parish in your thinking and planning ahead. We are most grateful for the assistance you feel you are able to offer in this difficult time. May I express our deepest thanks and appreciation to our parishioners for your continued support of our Parish.
Our parish account details:
BSB: 064 786 Account No: 100017027 Account name: Birkdale Parish Planned Giving
Kindly reference your deposit with your surname and your planned giving number/envelope number if you have one.
Thank you for helping us keep in touch.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
There was once a little boy who desired to meet God. One day he was walking home from school. As he went through the park, he noticed an old woman sitting on a park bench. She looked lonely and hungry, so he sat down and offered part of the chocolate he had been saving. She accepted it with a smile. They sat together in a very friendly manner, eating and drinking and smiling at each other. When the boy got up to leave, he reached over to the woman and gave her a big hug. Then walked home smiling. His mother noticed his big smile and happiness on his face and asked, “What did you do today that made you so happy?” “I had lunch with God. And he has a great smile,” he said. The old woman returned to the small house she shared with her sister. She too was smiling. Her sister asked her why she was so happy. “I just had lunch with God. And he is a lot younger than I expected,” she said.
The Emmaus story speaks to people of all ages. We can see ourselves in these two despondent travellers on their journey, the faith and hope they have lost, the future they have hoped for fallen apart. And yet they met an unknown friend walking the road with them, who gave them fresh insight, and connected their challenging present situation with what they had known in the past. And, of course, Jesus reveals Himself powerfully and creatively in explaining the Scriptures, in the breaking of bread, as symbolic of the Eucharist. Having dined with Him, they were filled with new energy and enthusiasm, to share with others what they now knew about Him.
God challenges us to meet the Risen Christ who comes to us in ordinary life situations. The disciples of Emmaus were given a lesson in the scriptures. It is in the Word that we also meet God and Jesus. Scripture is God’s word and through it He communicates Himself to us. All of the Easter accounts suggest that Christ comes to us in the places where we live out our lives. Followers like Mary, Peter, Cleopas and His companion discover Him in a personal way. The Easter story and the story of the Emmaus journey tell us that God never forces Himself on us, but joins us in a walk or in the visit of a friend or while sharing the sorrow of another or reading a consoling letter from someone we love. God speaks to us in the here and now – in the voices of those who are hurt or are sorrowful, in the faces of the poor and the needy, in the victims of prejudice and the generosity of those who care. We may miss Him if we do not look for Him where Cleopas and his friend found Him – in things as ordinary as a meal and in the Eucharist. Our experience of loving and being loved by Jesus helps us to share that experience with others to help them walk the way of Jesus, to discover the Way of Truth and Life. Today we pray that each of us can personally share in that experience, that our hearts too may be burning within us...
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Monday 20 April
Tuesday 21 April
Wednesday 22 April
Thursday 23 April
Friday 24 April
Saturday 25 April
Sunday 26 April
Christians worldwide celebrated an Easter like no other. Our hearts are still filled with Easter joy! Easter is a reminder and encouragement that God in Christ continues to love and care for the whole world, overcoming death with life, conquering fear and uncertainty with hope. The Easter message also conveys that our God is a loving God, the source of life, not death. The Lord Himself has power to revive our courage and our faith.
No locked doors, nor even our current pandemic situation, can keep Him out. This weekend we continue to celebrate the victory of the Cross and Resurrection. Every year on the Sunday after Easter, the greatest celebration of faith, we encounter the gospel’s most famous story of doubt: the story of Thomas, who demands proof before he will believe. The risen Lord appeared to the apostles, who were gathered together in one place. The fact that they were gathered in one place is not without significance; for it is there that the Lord chose to appear to them. One of them, as we shall see, was not in the gathering and thus missed the blessing of seeing and experiencing the risen Lord. It might be said that Thomas, the absent apostle, missed His blessing.
Jesus is found in His Church, among those who have gathered. There is surely joy to be found in a personal relationship with Jesus, but the Lord also announced a special presence whenever two or three are gathered in His name. This Gospel has a lot to say to us about the benefit of gathering together to find the Lord’s blessing in the community of the Church, in His Word, and in the Sacraments. In every Mass, the Lord strengthens us. I am powerfully aware that every Mass I celebrate, is a source of powerful blessings for me. Not only does God instruct us with His Word and feed us with His Body and Blood, He also helps form us through the presence and participation of others.
This Sunday, we mark Divine Mercy Sunday, when we embrace the power and beauty of God’s forgiveness. It is the Sunday in which we are reminded of God’s tender mercies – when we strive, more than ever, to let Him break through the locked doors of our hearts. This Mercy Sunday means that there is a whole new moment in our lives. Risen from the dead, Jesus is now walking with us - just as He walked with those first apostles. And He is showing us the path of mercy, the path of compassion. Let us pray to be more open to God’s tender mercies that we might respond with the joy of Easter discovery, and with the wonder and conviction of St. Thomas: “My Lord and my God.”
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.