Week One: Archbishop’s Pastoral Parish visits
Cootamundra and Harden-Murrumburrah parishes
By Fr Lolesio Gisa PP
Over the past six months COVID-19 has impacted our parish communities positively and negatively. Initially, feelings of fear, concern and social isolation tried to dominate our hearts and minds. As we journeyed from lockdown to physical distancing, the great gifts of our Faith became strong and tangible.
I had to find ways of keeping our parishioners united in faith and belief, trustful of God’s mercy, and the challenge of progressing in our spiritual and sacramental life. I sent weekly emails to our parishioners assuring them and challenging them to continue their lives in a faith-filled and hopeful way, with joy and peace in their hearts.
I reminded them that my daily Mass was uniting us all and encouraged them to take up the practice of keeping in touch spiritually by saying our Parish Prayer and, later in May, our Archdiocesan Prayer to Our Lady Help of Christians, each day at noon. Where needed we delivered these messages to letterboxes.
As we returned to limited gatherings to celebrate the Eucharist, my intention was to get back to the essence of our sacramental life by re-educating ourselves in the theology and ritual of the sacraments.
I have been overwhelmed by the faith and generosity of our rural people, and the practical and substantial ways in which they have kept faithful and been true witnesses of God’s love to all those around them.
- Fr Lolesio is the parish priest at Sacred Heart Parish Cootamundra and Our Lady of Mercy Parish Harden-Murrumburrah
Together with a team of cleaners and carers, we are well protected from COVID-19 and we can attend Mass with peace of mind.
Some parishioners who need to feel safe and protected in times of uncertainty have not returned as yet.
The parish has been fortunate to welcome a large number of Catholic families and friends. They attend Mass each weekend, and some have formed new choirs and take part in various sections of the Mass. We hope we are making them all feel welcome.
“The parish continues to reach out to Jesus in time of need, knowing He is there for us, as He is for all His people.”
“The school is grateful for the support of Fr George who works well with our REC to keep a program of Mass, Reconciliation and activities going so students are encouraged in their faith.”
“Amidst the trials and uncertainty of the year we have had cause to celebrate… the sacraments of Reconciliation and Confirmation have been offered. We gathered as a Parish to celebrate Fr George’s 10th anniversary of ordination to the priesthood.”