For the time being Bishop Brian Mascord will stream Mass live every Sunday at 9am on the Diocesan You Tube Channel and Facebook page. Weekday Mass will also be celebrated Tuesday to Friday at 12.10pm.
These online Masses will give parishioners throughout the Illawarra, Macarthur, Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands (and everyone else watching from around the world) the opportunity to join with Bishop Brian and make an act of spiritual Communion together as a diocese. This particularly significant at this time because for the first time in living memory we will be unable to gave as a parish community to celebrate the Triduum and Easter.
It has long been a Catholic understanding that when circumstances prevent one from receiving Holy Communion, it is possible to make an act of spiritual Communion which is a source of grace. Spiritual Communion means uniting one's self in prayer with Christ's sacrifice and worshipping him in his Body and Blood. Acts of spiritual Communion increase our desire to receive sacramental Communion and help us avoid the sins that would make us unable to receive Holy Communion worthily.
As Jesus said, "For where two or three gather in my name, I shall be there with them" (Mt 18:20). Imagine the grace that will abound if all 190,000 Catholics in the diocese gather online for Mass with their bishop. Please extend this invitation to all your family, friends and loved ones.
7pm AEST | Holy Thursday (9 April)—Mass of the Lord’s Supper
10am AEST | Good Friday (10 April)—Stations of the Cross
3pm AEST | Good Friday (10 April)—Commemoration of the Lord’s Passion
7pm AEST | Holy Saturday (11 April)—Mass of the Easter Vigil
Celebrating Holy Week
and Easter at Home
The Brisbane Liturgical Commission has produced some guides to gather as a family and celebrate these special days of Holy Week and Easter at home.
A Christian family does not "go to church"; the Christian family is the Church, what Vatican II called "the domestic church"" And parents have a role which John Paul II, echoing Thomas Aquinas, says is similar to the role of priestly ministry in a parish (FC 38 quoting Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles IV, 58).
Of course the family must participate in the sacramental, social, and apostolic life of the parish. But faith, prayer, catechesis, charity, evangelization, all must take place first and foremost in the context of the home.
The Sisters of St Joseph have generously shared with us the “Novena for a World in Need.” Just click on the image. Please feel free to distribute this as widely as you can. May St Mary of the Cross MacKillop intercede for us as we face the challenges of our time with courage in the midst of fear and anxiety. St Mary of the Cross: pray for us.
We have now progressed to the next stage in our struggle to "flatten the curve".
Previously public masses we cancelled, now all churches have been closed. Our biggest challenge as a community of faith will be to keep connected, to maintain the lines of communication, to keep us all in the loop.
Fortunately, with the technology available to us these days, there are many ways for us to remain connected and in the loop. I am hoping to set up video conferencing facilities in the Parish. We will be switching to NBN next week which will give us the necessary bandwidth to stream smoothly. There is a slight hitch with webcams which seem to be a bit like toilet paper at the moment - the shelves in the stores are empty. I have placed an order so our fingers are crossed.
On a more basic level, the PPC and PLT are developing a project that will assist people who are self-isolated or unable to visit the shops easily to get provisions and/or medication. When we have finished drawing up the terms and conditions for the project and the necessary departments of the Bishop's Office have signed off on them, we will be ready to call for volunteers and start taking names of those who need assistance. There will be certain protocols such as: phone on arrival; leave the groceries/medication at the front door; there will be no face-to-face contact; and a follow up call to check if any more help is needed.
As a parish we want to support those in our community who need help. It may have taken the Coronavirus to launch this project, but there is no reason why it shouldn't continue in post-pandemic days. So stay tuned, and once we have got our webcams and broadband in place we can look forward to discovering other ways in which we can be community.
God bless, stay well
Calling for Volunteers to PPC
This is an invitation to members of our Parish to pray and discern whether God may be calling you to serve our community of faith in an important ministry: Serving on our Parish Pastoral Council.
Our current Parish Pastoral Council is about to conclude its term of office and one of their final tasks is to ensure a smooth transition and handing over to the next PPC.
The Parish Pastoral Council shares, with the Parish Priest and Parish Leadership Team, the task of developing and communicating the overall vision, mission and pastoral plan for the parish community.
The Parish Pastoral Council seeks to:
• Search out and analyse in the light of faith the state of the local and parish community, their hopes, needs and concerns.
• Respond in a strategic way through setting medium and long-term parish pastoral goals in line with the parish vision and mission as we live out the overall mission of the Church.
• Shape and Refine, Communicate and Sustain the desired vision, culture and goals of the parish.
• Ensure the effective operation of the Parish Structures Model
• Evaluate and review the fruitfulness of these responses in light of gospel values, the mission of the Church and Diocesan priorities.
• Measure outcomes against plans and deliverables.
The parish community is invited to nominate people for the Parish Pastoral Council. Each person recommended will be invited to attend an initial discernment evening. This gathering will inform them about the vision, role, purpose and responsibilities of being on the Pastoral Council. At the conclusion of this meeting, participants will be invited to complete a nomination and discernment exercise outlining their desire to be part of this team.
Nominations will then be given to the Parish Priest, Parish Leadership Team and current members of the Pastoral Council for further discernment and finalisation of appointment.