Amazon churches create transnational body to implement synod proposals
Extracts from Gerard O’Connell, Anerica, The Jesuit Review, 30 June 2020
The first significant implementation of last October’s Synod on the Amazon took place on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the founding of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon, a new transnational church structure that is intended to implement many of the synod’s proposals. The decision to create the conference was made in a virtual assembly held on June 26 and June 29 by the Assembly for the Project of Constitution of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon. Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J., who participated in the virtual assembly, described the decision as “historic” in a telephone interview with America. He recalled that Pope Francis, in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, “Beloved Amazonia” (“Querida Amazonia”), had called on the synod’s participants to start implementing its proposals. He said they have begun to do so less than eight months later by creating this new transnational church structure covering the nine countries of the region: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Venezuela and the territory of French Guiana. Cardinal Czerny highlighted the fact that “the energy and the effort for this came from the region itself.” The Ecclesial Conference of the Amazo n aims to be “an effective channel for taking up, from within the territory, many of the proposals that emerged” at the Pan-Amazonian synod............The assembly announced the creation of the new conference in a statement issued on June 29 and signed by Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos, O.F.M., president of the Latin American Episcopal Council, known by its Spanish acronym, CELAM; and Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, O.F.M., president of REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network: “In these difficult and exceptional times for humanity, when the coronavirus pandemic is strongly impacting the Pan-Amazon region and the realities of violence, exclusion and death affecting the biome and its inhabitants clamor for an urgent and imminent integral conversion, the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon seeks to be good news and a timely response to the cries of the poor and of our sister Mother Earth.” According to the assembly’s statement, the E.C.A. aims to be “an effective channel for taking up, from within the territory, many of the proposals that emerged” at the Pan-Amazonian synod and to serve “as a nexus for encouraging other church and socio-environmental networks and initiatives at the continental and international levels.”.....(more) Photo:Kukama boys Amazon's Maranon River Peru's Loreto region CNS photo Barbara Fraser America Jes Rev 20200630
Thanks for your generosity
Friday, 26 June 2020
Parishioners and families from our two schools have responded with great generosity to last week’s plea for groceries so that Vinnies could continue their care for those in our community most in need. Di Dixon and Michael Rocco are pictured surrounded by what they could fit on the tables - there’s more stacked around the St. Bernadette’s Community Centre. As well as groceries cash and supermarket vouchers have been donated. For those wishing to help we still need tea, coffee, sugar, dishwashing detergent and hand liquid soap – donations can be left in the boxes at the MOG Presbytery, the Parish Office, or brought to church if you are coming to Mass.
Friday 26 June 2020
After 16 years of service our Parish Secretary, Ruth Villani, retires on Friday. There will be a tribute to Ruth after she completes her long service leave in November. Our new Parish Secretary, Teana McIntosh, joins us on 1st July. Please make her welcome and keep Ruth and Teana in your prayers as they both make this transition.
The new dates mean that the celebration of the Plenary Council has effectively moved 12 months from the original plan of a first assembly in October 2020 and a second assembly in June/July 2021.
Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said the confirmation of the specific dates will help in the formulation of a revised program of preparation for Council delegates, who were announced in March, and for the whole Catholic community. Archbishop Costelloe said the bishops’ preference to hold the second assembly in April 2022, announced last month, had to be revisited. “The confluence of a number of events in April 2022, including the New South Wales school holidays, Easter in the Latin Rite and Easter in the Eastern Rite, meant that the plan to hold the second assembly then was unworkable,” he said. “The one-year change to our initial timeline affords each of us the opportunity for a more extended period of individual and collective discernment leading into the first assembly than we would otherwise have had.” Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said that this time will be utilised for all people to re-engage with the journey of discernment toward the Council assemblies after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “A renewed engagement will take place in a societal context that’s been altered by the pandemic,” she said. “The recently-published discernment papers were finalised in the midst of the pandemic. They are a key step in the process of discernment and preparation for all of us. The time and space between now and the first assembly, now in October 2021, enables deeper reflection, dialogue and consideration of how we’ve all been affected by recent global events.” Archbishop Costelloe said prayer, dialogue and discernment have been foundational pillars of the Plenary Council journey and will continue to be so. “I encourage everyone to read the discernment papers and to take some time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to continue to guide our path toward the assemblies and beyond,” he said...Source
Fred Tosolini RIP
Fr Bill, pm 12 June 2020
On Friday we celebrated the Funeral Mass of our beloved brother in Christ, Fred Tosolini, who died suddenly on Friday 5th June after suffering a sudden heart attack.
Fred was the first person to book in for the first Mass at Mary Immaculate after the shutdown and he read the scriptures for us at Mass. He was in great spirits and so thankful to be back at Mass. The last words of scripture Fred read for us at what was to be his last Mass and Communion were from the Gospel Acclamation: “I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me will not die for ever.” We can but respond alleluia to that promise and an alleluia to a Christian life well lived. May Fred share in that promise - the destiny of all who believe.
Please remember Fred in your prayers and pray too for his family during this time of great sadness and grief.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord: And let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Parish Redevelopment: Project Milestone
Fr. Bill, 12 June 2020
I am pleased to report that at their June 2020 meeting, the Archdiocesan Building and Property Committee approved the Mary Mother of the Church Parish Redevelopment Project. The approval formally moves the project into the final design, tendering and contract stages. The managing architects have been instructed to proceed with the works and provide an overall project schedule. Bridging finance during construction is being progressed with the Catholic Development Fund. Separately, Yarra Valley Water have advised that the planned relocation of the sewer is not required and the sewer branch can be abandoned, saving us some costs. The approval is a significant milestone for the Parish leading to renewal of our assets and consolidation of our community.
Report on Parish Redevelopment Project
Pat Kelly, Friday 29 May 2020
The Parish Redevelopment Project has achieved a significant milestone in May 2020. The formal application for project approval has been completed and submitted to the Archdiocesan Building and Property Committee. The submission will be considered at the June meeting with the outcome expected by the 12th of the month. The submission includes the design drawings, the estimated project cost, the planning notice and the agreement between the Archdiocese and the architects. The Archdiocese’s representative is aware of the details of our project and supportive of our application. Approval by the Archdiocesan Building and Property Committee moves the project into the tendering and contract phase. The estimated cost of the project will remain confidential until a contract is awarded. The plans will be on display when our churches reopen for Mass on the 2nd of June. The first proposed construction on the site is the relocation of a sewer in the area of our redevelopment. The contractor should be on site within the next few weeks. However, the time for the works will be determined by Yarra Valley Water. In the overall plan the works are minor but significant as the first construction supporting our redevelopment.
Changes to Restrictions on Churches
Fr Bill, Friday 15 May 2020
As of midnight last Tuesday the government lifted some restrictions on access to our churches. It is still very uncertain how these changes could be implemented in any meaningful way and the best way forward may be to wait until the next stage of lifting restrictions before we contemplate any change.
The main change to the regulations is that we can now celebrate Mass and open our churches for prayer – but no more than 10 people can be present, ushers must guard the doors to ensure that number is not exceeded and there are a set of requirements around recording personal details of everyone present, sanitising the church after every use, etc.
I am not suggesting that these rules are not still necessary and I firmly believe that the protection of life and the wellbeing of the most vulnerable must be our priority. My concern is that the regulations will not work pastorally, liturgically or practically and it is preferable to wait until a further relaxing of restrictions allow us to return to something closer to normality.
Planning to celebrate Masses with only 10 people will inevitably segregate people’s access to the sacraments unfairly and further undermine the liturgical role of the participating assembly.
Among the suggestions offered for implementing this first phase are: limiting access to the Mass via either a first-come, first-served system, a rotational or roster system, or asking people to book online and the first 10 to book get to attend.
How do you tell a parish that only 10 people can come to a Mass? Practically and pastorally, it seems untenable. The church is not like a supermarket, where you can let in 10 people and as they leave let in 10 more. The regulations also require a 60-minute gap before the next 10 can enter so that those coming and going don’t meet at the doorway and so that the church can be cleaned in between Masses - and God help the poor ushers who have to bar entry to the church building after 10 people have entered for Mass!
I have no magic answer to this dilemma. I will discuss it with the Parish Pastoral Council when we meet later this week. If anyone wants to offer comment or suggestions please email me at Ivanhoe@cam.org.au
Archbishop Coleridge re-elected president of Bishops Conference
Extract from Catholic Outlook, 8 May 2020
The Catholic bishops of Australia have today elected Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane to a second two-year term as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Archbishop Coleridge was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2002 and later became Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn. Since 2012, he has served as Archbishop of Brisbane. He was elected president of the Conference at its plenary meeting in May 2018 after previously serving as its vice-president for two years. Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP was re-elected Conference vice-president, a role he also took on in May 2018. “Archbishop Fisher and I have worked very closely over the past two years and I’m grateful that the bishops have backed our ongoing partnership,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “As a Conference, we have faced a number of big challenges over the past two years, including preparing for the Plenary Council and considering how the People of God in Australia can walk together into the future, especially now in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. “The Church’s implementation of policies and protocols that prioritise child safety and offer a just and compassionate response to victims and survivors of abuse has also been a crucial focus. “Much has been done and the bishops will consider further steps during our plenary meeting over the next few days.” Archbishop Fisher also cited the benefit of continuity at a pivotal time in the Church’s history, saying “when we have medium- and long-term initiatives to carry out, it’s good to have settled leaders supported by a group of bishops with shared aspirations”. Four members of the Permanent Committee of the Bishops Conference were also elected today: Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB; Toowoomba Bishop Robert McGuckin; Adelaide Archbishop-Designate Patrick O’Regan; and Maronite Bishop of Australia Antoine-Charbel Tarabay. Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli of Melbourne and Port Pirie Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, elected in May 2019, are continuing members of the Permanent Committee. The almost 40 members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference today opened their biannual plenary meeting using videoconferencing technology....(more). Photo: ABp Mark Coleridge President ACBC Catholic Outlook 20200508 ACBC
We have no idea how long the COVID-19 situation will remain or
for how long our churches will be closed. So that we can both
assess and review what we have provided so far, and what
arrangements we might make for the weeks ahead, you are urged
again to complete the short survey that has been designed to
assist us in reviewing and developing how we pray and gather
together in very different ways. Helpful Survey responses are
starting to come in, and while the COVID-19 circumstances have
been forced upon everyone, there have been some encouraging signs
about adapting, with some perhaps surprising positive personal
experiences. While we routinely seek feedback after annual Easter
Liturgies, this year in particular we urge everyone to share their
experiences, good or otherwise, via the survey - either privately or for sharing - so that the Parish community working together can continue to do our utmost under the circumstances to support
each other, as the Risen Christ calls us all to do - together.
To complete the quick survey please click HERE
Extracts from Pope Francis Urbi et Orbi ('to the city [of Rome] and to
the world' - a papal address and apostolic blessing given by the
pope on certain solemn occasions), 15 April 2020
Dear Brothers and sisters, Happy Easter...............In these weeks, the lives of millions of people have suddenly changed. For many, remaining at home has been an opportunity to reflect, to withdraw from the frenetic pace of life, stay with loved ones and enjoy their company. For many, though, this is also a time of worry about an uncertain future, about jobs that are at risk and about other consequences of the current crisis. I encourage political leaders to work actively for the common good, to provide the means and resources needed to enable everyone to lead a dignified life and, when circumstances allow, to assist them in resuming their normal daily activities. This is not a time for indifference, because the whole world is suffering and needs to be united in facing the pandemic. May the risen Jesus grant hope to all the poor, to those living on the peripheries, to refugees and the homeless. May these, the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters living in the cities and peripheries of every part of the world, not be abandoned. Let us ensure that they do not lack basic necessities (all the more difficult to find now that many businesses are closed) such as medicine and especially the possibility of adequate health care. In light of the present circumstances, may international sanctions be relaxed, since these make it difficult for countries on which they have been imposed to provide adequate support to their citizens, and may all nations be put in a position to meet the greatest needs of the moment through the reduction, if not the forgiveness, of the debt burdening the balance sheets of the poorest nations. This is not a time for self-centredness, because the challenge we are facing is shared by all, without distinguishing between persons. Among the many areas of the world affected by the coronavirus, I think in a special way of Europe. After the Second World War, this continent was able to rise again, thanks to a concrete spirit of solidarity that enabled it to overcome the rivalries of the past. It is more urgent than ever, especially in the present circumstances, that these rivalries do not regain force, but that all recognize themselves as part of a single family and support one another. The European Union is presently facing an epochal challenge, on which will depend not only its future but that of the whole world. Let us not lose the opportunity to give further proof of solidarity, also by turning to innovative solutions. The only alternative is the selfishness of particular interests and the temptation of a return to the past, at the risk of severely damaging the peaceful coexistence and development of future generations. This is not a time for division................(full version here)
A Letter from the Catholic Bishops of Victoria
Wednesday 18 March 2020
Prayerful greetings to the people of God across Victoria,
This morning, the Prime Minister announced that non-essential indoor gatherings will be limited to 100 people, and outdoor events of more than 500 people will be disallowed, effective today. Given the seriousness of COVID-19, we support this measure as being responsible and sensible, and we encourage everyone to follow public safety guidelines respectfully.
The Bishops of the Province of Victoria have given this prayerful and considered reflection, and have determined the following actions:
• Immediate suspension of public liturgies, celebrations of the Mass, until further notice.
• All other gatherings are suspended. For clarification of any concerns, please contact your local diocesan authority.
We are very aware that this restriction will be particularly difficult for families who are planning liturgies such as funerals, weddings and baptisms. At this time, so long as appropriate precautions are able to be put in place (such as distancing between participants), it may be possible for these liturgies to proceed with a carefully limited congregation. Deferring these liturgies may also be an option that is offered to families.
In light of this, all Catholics in Victoria are dispensed from their Sunday obligation until further notice (canon 1248). We encourage you to continue active participation in the life of the Church, through activities such as time in personal and family prayer, reflecting on the Scriptures, making a spiritual communion, or participating in a Mass online ........Full letter HER Ready access to Mass online is available on the Mass Details page.
Retirement on the Horizon
Fr Bill, Friday 14th February 2020
Our Parish Secretary, Ruth Villani, has given notice that after more than 15 years as Parish Secretary she will retire on 3rd July 2020. Appointed by Fr. John Cunningham in 2004, Ruth has served the Parish faithfully and has seen off three Parish Priests and is working on her fourth. This is not the time to eulogize Ruth for the way she has lived out her special vocation within the Parish - there will be time for that come July. But as Ruth prepares for a handover within the Parish Office, and also prepares more personally for her transition to retirement, I would ask you to remember her in your prayers in the months ahead. Change comes with all sorts of challenges for all of us as individuals but as St. John Henry Newman reminds us change helps us move towards perfection.
Watercolour of the Last Supper
Friday 31 January 2019
Damien and Pia Cramer have donated to the Parish an original watercolour based on the famous Da Vinci “The Last Supper“. The watercolour, from the Sri Lankan home of the Cramer family, is now hanging in the Lady Chapel of St. Bernadette’s Church.
We thank the Cramer’s for their gift and also thank Vito Iapozzuto for his picture hanging skills.
A prayer during the Australian bushfires
Extract from Peter Bierer, America. The Jesuit Review, 7 January 2020
A native Minnesotan, I have spent the last three years living and working in the Archdiocese of Adelaide, Australia, with my wife and children. Lauren, my wife, was born and raised in Adelaide, so when it came time to consider moving to her home country, we knew the benefits and risks involved. Bushfires are an ever-present risk in much of the country, but something about this year’s fires is very different. The year 2019 was the hottest, driest on record for the country, and many bushfires have been raging for months. We have been visiting family back in Minnesota during the worst of the fires in December and January, praying for our fellow Aussies and crying out for rain. While our home has been spared from danger thus far, I cannot help but anguish over the destruction facing Aussies in every corner of the continent. The following prayer is a lament, a petition for help and a search for hope. If it works for you, consider this prayer your own......(more)Photo: Bushfire Bairnsdale Aus. America The Jesuit Review Glen Morey via AP 20201007