This weekend we are on the second week of Advent. Many things are happening this week. Apart from the euphoria of the Australian Youth Festival, we also had children from both primary school and high school graduating. Snez, the parish Youth Coordinator who is attending the Youth Festival with some of our young people, sent me a picture of the crowd at the stadium in Olympic Park. Snez said that there are about 19,000 young people from different parts of Australia gathered to express their faith and unity. This event gives us joy and hope.
For the graduation Mass of year six, they chose the Gospel of John quoting Jesus who gave his assurance of being with his disciples and all of us in our faith journey. Jesus also mentioned that the world wouldn’t recognize the presence of the Spirit. Therefore, we are to witness his presence. This is good news for the graduates and the youth, and at the same time he is commissioning us to proclaim his presence in the middle of this ignorant world (John 14:16-18).
This week also I remember how God is so faithful in my faith and vocation journey. Indeed, only by the grace of God I am able to reach 25 years of my priesthood life. A few years back when I attended some of my confreres’ 25th anniversary of priesthood I questioned myself whether I am able to reach 25 or not, thinking about my weaknesses and unworthiness. The more I think about my weakness and unworthiness; I came to feel the hidden strength within me that keeps me going. He is the one who called me and keeps calling me to follow him.
The gospel of this weekend tells us about John the Baptist who prepares the way for the Messiah. He is the “messenger of God”. Sometimes I think that I am one of the people in the crowd who is listening to the “messengers of God”. Those messengers are people around me who have taken part in my life’s journey. They remind me to be a better person for the Messiah. On the other hand, I sometimes in my ministry act like a messenger of God for people entrusted to me. We become messengers to one another.
While thanking God for loving me, I would like to thank everyone for being part of my journey. You are “messengers of God” to help me to grow maturely as a “disciple and messenger” of him. Many thanks and God bless you abundantly.
This year we have a Christmas Giving Tree in the Church. Currently located in the foyer of the Church. It reminds us that there are many individuals and families who will do without food and gifts at this time of year. You can help us make a difference to someone’s Christmas and spread a little joy. Please take a tag from the tree and purchase the gift detailed on the tag. Return it under the tree unwrapped, but in a gift bag please. Our St Vincent de Paul committee will be collecting your generous donations and distributing them to those who are really in need this Christmas. If you have any questions, please contact Jane on 0477 017 726.
All Parish children are invited to take a Christmas picture home, along with a pack of stickers. Please colour in and decorate your picture, cut it out and return in to the box at the front of the Church when you are finished.
We will still have a 9.30am Parish Mass on Sunday 24th December. After Mass we will be having a ‘Decorating Day’ so the Church is ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus.
This year OLR are having 2 Christmas Choirs for our Masses. Both adults and children are invited to join either of these choirs. Details as follows:
1. 24 Dec 6.00pm Carols, 6.30pm Mass
Rehearsals – Tues Dec 12, 19 at 7.00pm
2. 25 Dec 9.30am Mass
Rehearsals – Sat Dec 16 & 23 at 4.30pm
The final Healing Mass for 2017 will be at OLR Church on Thursday 21 December at 10:30am. All welcome!
Following the Healing Mass there will be Morning Tea in the Foyer of the Church, a celebration of Christmas.