Week Four: Archbishop’s Pastoral Parish visits
PARISH OF ST CHRISTOPHER’S AND ST PETER CHANEL’S
The communal nature of our parish emerged strongly as COVID-19 came as a total shock to all parishioners.
We were locked out of our churches with no funerals, weddings or baptisms.
Visitors to Canberra, who normally would come to the Cathedral, couldn’t have access. Even worse, Mass was stopped.
Our outreach in administrating the Sacraments to many communities and individuals was prevented. Many elderly people yearned for our visits.
We were told that we could attend Mass from the Cathedral through the internet, but many parishioners (often elderly) didn’t have access to the internet.
However, they could access Mass every day through free-to-air-TV from Melbourne and we assured elderly parishioners that in the circumstances this was the same as attending Mass.
The saddest and our lowest point was when we realised we had no Easter services. However, this is when our Cathedral turned up trumps and organised Mass online, the highlight of our Church in addressing the crisis.
The Holy Week and Easter Services were simple and spiritual. All the Masses celebrated in the Cathedral Crypt by our Archbishop presented relatable and spiritual homilies.
Missing the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, has made us grow in greater desire and gratitude.
Our Parish is an international and welcoming Parish. Our churches are now open and return to the welcome they have always given to parishioners and visitors.
ST BENEDICT’S NARRABUNDAH
Through the energy and generosity of our priests and parish community, St Benedict’s is weathering the COVID-19 pandemic with hard work and optimism.
We are missing many of our older parishioners who are being careful to maintain distance and avoid exposure to infection. These parishioners embraced the earlier livestreamed services with enthusiasm. Many now rely on the streamed 9am Sunday Mass to maintain their participation in the Eucharist and connection with the parish. The Sunday evening Charismatic Mass is well attended and we have ensured that all who wish to attend can do so via livestreaming into another parish building.
The Missionaries of God’s Love (MGL) sisters and brothers have substituted visitation with weekly phone calls.
The Parish is distributing the Bulletin electronically and a hard copy is being hand delivered weekly to about a dozen people.
While the Australian Government has made provision for those who have lost their jobs, many migrant and refugee families are not eligible for Jobseeker or Jobkeeper. The St Vincent de Paul conference has had increased demand from these families. Parishioners have been generous in their giving especially to the MGL priests.
Fr Dan has been as present as possible at the Primary School and is humbled by the dedication of the teachers, especially principal Rachel Smith.
We are also aware of MGL priests working in the Philippines in particular. We are embarking on an appeal to raise funds to provide food hampers so that Filipino parishioners in the MGL Parish and Outreaches will receive hampers for Christmas.
OUR LADY OF THE ANNUNCIATION, WESTON CREEK
About 70 parishioners joined with Archbishop Christopher and Fr Michael Lim as they celebrated Mass at St Jude’s church in Holder.
In his homily, Archbishop Christopher called for parishioners to never forget to focus on the mystery of our faith that the Gospel provides; the Paschal mystery. In the first reading of the day, St Paul challenged the Galatians to look at the crucified Lord which gives the certainty of hope. This hope provides certainty in these challenging times.
Archbishop Christopher said that beside the coronavirus pandemic, there was also a greater pandemic that lurks among us, that is loneliness. He encouraged us to look after our neighbours and to check in on the lonely, especially the elderly or marginalised.
After Mass, Archbishop Christopher talked to parishioners asking them how their lives had been affected throughout the turmoil of 2020 and assured them of his prayers.
Fr Michael and parishioners thank him for taking the time to say Mass with them and look forward to his next visit in 2021.