We congratulate all our children who will receive Our Lord Jesus this weekend. Our children are witnesses to all of us, of the very special gift we share as Catholics in Holy Communion.
Lachlan Appleton-Seymour, Rauiri Brennan, Evelyn Bretherton, Sienna Brown, Tristan Burke, Claire Butler, Hannah Cameron, Rocco Cartella, John Cowen, Lacey Elmore, Anthony Emery, Laura Gray, Jasmine Gray, Matilda Harris, Jorden Harvison, Elleia Hawkins, Emma Humphries, Cameron Jagga, Bailey Johnston, Harrison Keogh, Lilliana Lambert, James Lawlor, Sean Larking, Eva Leben, Samuel Leotta, Lucas Marsh, Mikayla McClurg, Anneliese Musch, Darcy Nichols, Emily O'Brien, Michaela O'Leary, Aila O'Rourke, Tais Parry, Brendan Pearson, Niko Puljic, Oliver Puljic, Jacob Rowling, Harrison Skillender, Emily Sullivan, Hugh Taylor, Hayden Tickle, Rhiannon Van Belkom, Gabrielle Van Belkom, Mia Van Kretschmar, Ruby Wissemann.
In recent weeks a number of parishioners have asked me about the Plenary Council 2020. A Plenary Council is the highest formal gathering of all local churches (dioceses) in a country. The Plenary Council 2020 is focused on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit in its many expressions and to discern the future of the Catholic Church in Australia. The Plenary Council has already started, as all the local churches start to work towards facilitating the process of hearing the many voices that will contribute to the Council.
The official launch of the Plenary Council was on Pentecost Sunday, although the journey really began back in May 2016 when the bishops decided to move towards the Council. Technically, we are now in the “preparation phase” and the Council will be celebrated in two sessions, one in October 2020 and the other is early 2021; and the “implementation phase” will stretch far and wide. In the Archdiocese of Brisbane, the Archbishop has convened a Plenary Council Task Force, who will promote and coordinate all our efforts at the local level and who will work closely with the national Plenary Council Executive Committee. When more news develops on this front I will make it public through this newsletter. In the meantime, if you are after more information please visit the website: http://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/ Let us also pray for the Church in Australia as we prepare for the Plenary Council in 2020. May we listen to what the Spirit is saying as we share with one another our joys and hopes.
Today is Pentecost Sunday which means fifty days have passed since we celebrated the glorious resurrection of Jesus at Easter. Pentecost also marks the end of Eastertide because Easter isn’t just a day; it’s a season in the Church’s liturgical calendar.
Pentecost is an extraordinary solemnity and is detailed vividly in today’s first reading (Acts 2:1-11). In Acts we hear something of the amazing drama of the coming of the Holy Spirit - there’s loud noises, tongues of fire, people speaking foreign languages and a gathering of people from all sorts of exotic places.
The apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and came to the profound realisation that the treasure, which is the Good News of Jesus Christ is meant to be shared as far and wide as possible. When the Good News is shared it doesn’t diminish, rather it increases. When the Good News is shared, from one to another, it’s not halved rather it doubles. Nothing of the treasure of knowing Christ is taken away when you offer it to someone else.
Pentecost is also an opportune solemnity to reflect on our Confirmation. In a sense, our Confirmation is like our own Pentecost moment. At our Confirmation we were sealed with the Holy Spirit and received the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Like any gift we receive, it is only useful if we unwrap it. Leaving gifts wrapped and in the corner isn’t much use to anyone.
So, this week let us reflect on our own Confirmation and the gifts we were given to share.
God bless you
Last week Archbishop Mark Coleridge wrote to me informing me that I will be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Brisbane. In the morning, of the day that I received the letter, I felt particularly called to visit the Carmelite Monastery at Ormiston, to say some prayers, which I did. Shortly after my return to the Parish office the Archbishop’s letter arrived. Sometimes prayers are answered very quickly! Although, in all seriousness it was a delight to read the Archbishop’s words in black and white. The Archbishop’s letter confirms the call to be a priest a call that has been deep within my heart since I was a little boy.
Every celebration of any of the Church’s Sacraments is a public event. So,in this regard the Rite of Ordination to the priesthood of myself and my classmate (Deacon Damien Everitt) is open to everyone. The ordination liturgy will be first and foremost an act of thanksgiving to God, and in a particular way, God’s continual presence in the Archdiocese of Brisbane.
The ordination will take place at the Cathedral of Saint Stephen on 29 June 2018 at 7pm. Parking will be available at the Cathedral, although spaces will be very limited. Traditionally, a newly ordained priest says a Mass of Thanksgiving soon after their ordained. My Mass of Thanksgiving will be at Mater Dei Church, Sunday 1 July at 9:30am (16 Philomene Drive, Ashgrove West). This is my home parish which my parents attend every Sunday. You are most welcome to attend the Mass of Thanksgiving. Fr Frank and I will concelebrate a number of Masses within the two parishes in the weeks following the ordination and after a brief holiday.
Please keep me in your prayers as I take these final steps towards priestly ordination.
In the Catholic Church’s rich tradition, the month of May is devoted to Mary, the Mother of God. During the month of May, the Church in a particular way admires, honours and reflects on Mary’s unique role in salvation history.
The recitation of the holy rosary is one way in which we can join the whole Church in honouring Mary. Some say that praying the rosary is a type of “Mary worship” and accuse Catholics of idolatry in this regard. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The saintly Pope John Paul II when writing on the rosary explains, “to recite the rosary isnothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ”. (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002)
As we pray the mysteries of the rosary we embark on a journey of contemplation with Mary as our companion. When I pray the rosary, I have my rosary beads in one hand and I like to imagine Mary is holding my other hand.
To finish, I will quote saint John Paul II again:
“Christ is the supreme Teacher, the revealer and the one revealed. It is not just a question of learning what he taught but of “learning him”. In this regard could we have any better teacher than Mary? From the divine standpoint, the Spirit is the interior teacher who leads us to the full truth of Christ (cf. Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:13). But among creatures no one knows Christ better than Mary; no one can introduce us to a profound knowledge of his mystery better than his Mother”. (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 2002)