My first week has been a good experience; thank you for your open-arms welcome to the Parish family over the last two weekends. Thank you to everyone for the wonderful work you are doing in the parish and I pray that we will continue to work together in this faith family of St Mary MacKillop and St John Vianney Catholic Parish. Here I would like to share with you a beautiful story that I received in the New Year and it starts with a thought provoking message. “Whatever comes your way as you journey into the New Year, remember the lesson of this story”...
A little boy and his father went into a country store, and as they were leaving, the owner of the store offered the little boy some free Sweets. “Get a hand full of sweets", the shopkeeper said to the boy.
The boy just stood there looking up at his father. The owner repeated it: “son get a hand full of sweets... it’s free.” Again the boy did not move, continuing to look up at his Dad.
Finally the father reached into the candy jar and got a hand full of sweets and gave them to his son. As they walked back home, the father stopped and asked his son why he did not grab a hand full of the free candy. The boy with a big smile looked into his father’s face and said: “Because I know that your hand is bigger than mine.”
So dear friends, whatever your needs are for 2020, please place them in the FATHER'S HAND IN HEAVEN, because HIS HAND is BIGGER THAN OURS. My Prayers and Best Wishes for you are that you have a blessed time as you journey through 2020.
This weekend we begin again the Sundays in the Ordinary Season of the year A. Two thoughts emerge from today’s readings. The first is John the Baptist’s dramatic declaration, ‘Behold the Lamb of God’. The second is an invitation to do a personal stock-take during this first month of the New Year, and make some resolutions to improve the quality of our lives. This weekend John the Baptist urges us to ask what are we fundamentally about and then seek to reset our lives.
Let us ask the Lord to pour His Holy Spirit upon us to deepen our faith, hope, and love for God and to reveal the plan He has for our life.
Fr. Dantus Thottathil
A short introduction....
My full name is Fr. Dantus Thottathil. I am delighted that the Archbishop appointed me to this great parish community. It is my hope and prayer that we be filled with blessings through our journey together as disciples of Jesus Christ. I was born on 27th February 1982. Sadly, my beloved father Joseph and my elder sister Sr. Joe Maria. C. M. C who inspired me to become a priest passed away in January 2019 and November 2018 respectively. I miss them so much. In my home, I have my mother, one older sister who is also a nun and my twin brother who is married with two kids. I come from the southern part of India called Chandanakampara, in the state Kerala.
I was ordained to the priesthood on 30th December 2008, in India. The Religious order of priests to which I belong, is the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS). I was then appointed as the associate pastor in one of the parishes in Kerala. I have worked as a pastor in different parts of India. Finally, I was appointed as the administrator in our minor seminary. Then I came to Australia in 2015.
My first appointment was to Ipswich Parish for one year. My second to Burleigh Heads for the term of two years as associate priest. I’ve been Administrator of Stanley River Parish for two years. I am filled with hope that this new journey will bring abundant blessings, joys and spiritual fulfilment as we begin the new year. Thank you for welcoming me into your wonderful parish community. So please keep me in your prayers as I begin the next part of my journey, my ministry in this parish.
I look forward to meeting and working together with you all. God’s blessings and peace be upon you and Happy New Year....
Fr. Dantus Thottathil.
Christmas is just around the corner. I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy and holy Christmas and a New Year full of grace and peace. Emmanuel - God is with us – is our joyful word of praise. When we gather this Christmas it is Jesus who draws us and who gives meaning to our experience of family and Church.
In fact we find Jesus in the sweet taste of mercy and compassion. Jesus makes our hearts burst with willingness to help all those in need. Jesus enables us to be close to everyone and everything. He was born to make us available for everyone. You will find Him in the beauty of nature, children, elderly and the young. Especially in those who are weak, sick and poor. Let us remember that Christmas is a wonderful gift. Emmanuel helps me to
go out to the weak and fragile and show them the way to health and wholeness. To be a real comfort for all who are sad and suffering.
God’s glory is shown in us when we are fully alive for others. Joy, peace and love all come from the heart in love of God and from a will full of goodness. Let us make this Christmas a true time of peace and adoration. To be still and feel the presence of God in each other.
Nine years ago I left Guayaquil in Ecuador to come back to Australia and start again as a parish priest in a new diocese. I had been twenty five years a priest and most of that time had been as a missionary priest in Latin America.
The only reason for leaving was due to serious health issues that made it impossible for me to remain. It broke my heart to leave and I felt that sorrow for a long, long time.
The beautiful people of Manly and Gumdale made me feel very welcome and it has been a joy to me to be part of this wonderful Catholic community. I celebrated my silver jubilee as a priest at Manly and will cherish the memories of these past nine years. Not only is it a beautiful place to live, it is also a place I call home where I have forged great friendships and a deep sense of belonging.
Within six months of being at Manly, I had the privilege of being appointed as parish priest to Birkdale and Manly together. The last eight years have been a time of a great deal of pastoral work and many changes. I love Birkdale parish and will always feel part of this very generous Catholic community that have welcomed me into their homes and hearts. It is a very blessed community of friends and family. I leave with a heavy heart but also one filled with deep gratitude and joyful memories.
Both communities have very generous volunteers who create a parish of spirituality and care. I have witnessed the practical charity of the St Vincent de Paul Society and the warm loving care given to the bereaved by the ladies and gentleman of Birkdale who serve the families after funerals with real compassion. The Rosary group at Manly founded by our dear Sr Teresa PVBM have inspired me with their spirituality and practical charity.
The many people of our parishes who help the care of the sick and home bound is just wonderful. The catechists who serve the sacramental programmes and the generous teachers of our two schools who give of their time and expertise is so admirable. The sacristans who keep our liturgies alive are so loyal and generous. The people of the music ministries are just so important and we are blessed to have their service.
Both our parish councils and finance committees are so kind and generous with their time and expertise and they have forged these communities into vibrant sound parishes. We hand on the baton to a new priest with confidence.
I wish to thank Fr Prem for his generosity and goodness to me and our parishes and to Fr Epati who worked bedside me for eight years. I am extremely grateful to them. It was wonderful to be part of Fr Tom Zaranski's journey to the priesthood. He has been a real blessing for us.
I cannot finish without thanking our two parish Secretaries Lisa and Collette. Without them the parish would not function. They have been loyal generous friends to me and to all of us. Over the years they have achieved a great legacy for our parishes. Their professionalism and generous service can never be repaid. It has been a tremendous privilege to work beside them and I have received so many blessings because of them. Thank you both sincerely.
In conclusion, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to everyone for your acceptance of me and the spiritual gifts you have given me. The love of Christ in the Eucharist and His Word alongside our love for Jesus in His poor, especially in our school that we have established with our sister parish in Metinaro, Timor Leste is reason enough for all of us to celebrate our Catholic faith and joy of being a parish family that makes a real difference in the world.
Ad multos anos and I finish with St Mary MacKillop's words "gratitude is in the memory of the heart" and St John Vianney who said "God is everywhere ready to hear your prayers..remember.. He is here.."
Thank you everyone
God love you
As our two schools close for the Christmas Holidays, we all turn our attention to the coming birth of Jesus. This week’s Gospel centres on reconciliation and being tolerant with each other. I encourage everyone to make available this opportunity to make a good confession in the sacrament of Penance before Christmas.
The gift of forgiveness is so important for every person to feel loved and to be able to make new beginnings and restore relationships.
As the “wolf lies with the lamb,” with a “little boy to lead them.” We hear that enemies become friends and “they do no harm, no hurt” to each other. What a beautiful image of the Christ Child leading us to be reconciled with God and with others.
Now at this Advent time, we try our best to be tender, loving and forgiving with each other.
It is now the time to leave past injuries done to us behind. It is with Jesus, the prince of peace, that we choose to forgive and get on with living our lives in the presence of God – Emmanuel – present in every person, especially those we find most difficult to love. It is what we do for them, not what they do for us, that matters.
May our generosity in forgiving be the start of a truly blessed Christmas.
God love you,
Fr Frank Farewell
Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 15th December at 8:00am followed by morning tea and refreshments. Please bring a plate of food to share. Donations towards a farewell gift for Fr Frank can be made at the Parish Office during business hours or by placing an envelope on the collection plates at weekend Masses marked “Fr Frank Farewell”. Everyone is welcome to come and share memories and wish Fr Frank farewell.
We now begin the season of Advent and this is a time of preparation for the birth of Jesus. As the Gospel says “The Master is coming.”
This Advent I hope will be a time for spiritual renewal where we can spend time alone with the Lord in private prayer. It is a time of reconciliation and peace. A good way to prepare for Christmas is to take the chance to make a good confession in the Sacrament of Penance. To take advantage of maybe attending weekday Mass as well as Sunday.
We will have the opportunity for people to help our St. Vincent de Paul Conferences with food items for Christmas hampers in order to share love with the poor.
We congratulate all the children of our two parish schools who graduate from Year 6. May Our Lord bless them Congratulations also to Mylee Barry, Tahlia Carmock and Kerri Fuller who will be welcomed into the Church and receive their Sacraments on Saturday 30th November. Please keep these ladies and their families in your prayers.
God love you
Fr Frank Farewell
Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 15th December at 8:00amfollowed by morning tea and refreshments. Please bring a plate of food to share. Donations towards a farewell gift for Fr Frank can be made at the Parish Office during business hours or by placing an envelope on the collection plates at weekend Masses marked “Fr Frank Farewell”.Everyone is welcome to come and share memories and wish Fr Frank farewell.
The following reflection comes from “Set Your Heart Free” by Francis de Sales.
My Day Begins
Do not let anxiety sabotage your search for God.
You know well that when you search for something too anxiously you can come upon it a hundred times without ever seeing it.
Anxiety masquerades as true spiritual energy,
even as it wearies our mind, drains our enthusiasm, and deadens our soul.
It pretends to stir up our soul, but all it does is dampen our spirit. it pushes us until we stumble over our own feet.
We need to be on the watch for this impostor
that would have us believing that our spiritual life
depends completely on our efforts, so that the more panicked we are, the more anxiously we search, the more likely we are to find God. Let God do his part. Be patient.
Not even our best efforts can earn the blessings of God.
Our role is to be ready, to receive God’s gifts
with an open heart – carefully, humbly, and serenely
God love you,
National Prayer Campaign The Catholic Bishops of Australia have announced a National Prayer Campaign for Drought to take place during November. People across the country are encouraged to pray for the gift of rain, for people affected by the drought and to provide practical support, where possible. The Bishops note that large parts of the country are directly affected by the drought, but the impact is national – and so should the response be national. Access resources and find out more here.
This week we hear from the Lord that He is a God of the living and that includes all our loved ones who have gone before us....”for to him all are alive.”
Our faith is centred on life and all that encourages us to live. A few years ago | heard from a lady who suffered cancer. Upon hearing her diagnosis, she began to review her life. Prayer became very important to her, her practice of the faith, her family. She took retirement from her employment and, something that struck a chord in me, was taking from her life anyone or anything that was negative. She made a conscious decision not to allow negative people in her life. All this created a very positive effect in her life. In fact, by doing this she chose life.
| have come that you may have life and life abundantly are the very words of Jesus. | believe the Lord is challenging me and all of us to be people who generate life. To bring well-being to our community. There are many obstacles to well-being. One of these as described last week in the Gospel are found in the words...” they all complained.” We have to be vigilant to avoid colluding with people who are negative. As the Lord would say: “Show them the door....” In other words; do not allow their negativity to poison your well-being and thereby that of our community. The scriptures are full of strong examples against the negative critic. It is like a disturbing wind that creates waves which can cause harm and even destruction.
St James tells us in his letter, that it is very easy to deceive yourself by just listening to God’s word instead of putting it into practice. “Everyone must be quick to listen, but slow to speak, and slow to become angry... .....Does anyone think he is religious? If he does not control his tongue, his faith is worthless and he deceives himself” “Just think how large a forest can be set on fire by a tiny flame! And the tongue is like a fire.” James 1:19, 3:6-7.
The true reality of a Church giving life is when in our heart we desire unity above everything. All that we say and do is for mutual uplifting. This is the thirst Jesus has for our peace and justice.
God love you
November is the month for Holy Souls. We remember each day during November our loved ones who have died and we offer Mass for the salvation of their souls.
We encounter at every Mass, the death and resurrection of Jesus. “Do this in memory of me.” So too as Christians we remember our parishioners who have died this year and those members of our family and friends.
Our sense of loss and grief is sacred to God and each other. Remembering with gratitude our loved ones who have died is essential for our own well being. Life is changed, not ended with death. “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” In every Mass this November, we live the intimate union we share with our loved ones. Our home is eternal life. All those who have died enter this realm where we encounter them in the sacred mysteries of the Mass.
Our communion with Jesus in the Eucharist leads us to holy communion with the holy souls of those who now live in heaven. Heaven and earth are united and we are caught up in the Kingdom of God.
Life with God means coming home. It means that when our strength is weakened He provides the courage. In our sadness at death Jesus comes to us and tells us not to be afraid. All is not lost. Our loved ones are still at home in us, their love for us remains and the sorrow we feel becomes holy and links us to our loved ones.
The truth is that in Jesus we are all one. In Jesus we find our home, our dwelling place secure. In Jesus we find our loved ones who hold us in true communion at every Mass. Dying you destroyed our Death. Rising you restored our Life. Come Lord Jesus.
May Christ’s peace be with all who grieve.
God love you,
The Trappist monks take the vow of daily conversion when they are formally professed. Conversion is the theme of today’s Gospel. It is the way to turn around and face God. In other words; to face the truth about ourselves. The one who “went home again at rights with God” was the sinner who called out to God from his heart “Lord be merciful to me a sinner.”
Obviously, this requires humility. To be “down to earth” in our relationship with God and others. The spiritual masters say that “pride is the root of all evil.” It is the vice that is completely opposite to the virtue of humility.
It is good to sometimes take a break and reflect upon my relationship with God. To stand still and look back over my day and review how did I love today? Was I preoccupied with myself? Did I do good? It is essential also to examine my conscience.
When was the last time I said “I am sorry?” When was the last time I acknowledged my sins? Practised the sacrament of reconciliation; to take the opportunity to confess my sins and make amends? Do I identify with the tax collector in today’s Gospel and recognise the same desire to seek mercy? Forgiveness brings peace. Peace brings harmony. Harmony brings joy. Conversion is when I turn around and see my true self, loved and forgiven. May we pray to practise this Christian virtue each and every day.
God love you
Welcome to all our St Mary MacKillop School families. Students from the Wood Sporting House will be ministering at Mass this Sunday