This is where you will find updates weekly while online during the COVID-19 outbreak and as we celebrate our Holy Eucharist. We have returned to our regular Mass times physically in our Churches, however, we will continue to stream our Sunday Mass weekly.
Mass will be streamed live from our homepage and on our youtube channel 11am Sundays. Or you may watch it on-demand after that.
Homily from Fr John
Sunday 6 December 2020
Second Week of Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 40:1-5, 9-11
Second Reading: 2 Peter 3:8-14
Gospel: A reading from the Gospel according to Mark(1:1-8)
The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
He will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord,
Make his paths straight,
and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’
Homily by Fr John
We have been enjoying the easing of restrictions and some of the barriers of communication have lifted a bit; we can gather in some of the homes a bit more and go out for a meal, take off our masks in various places and be connected a bit more and get back to a sense of some of our heart-felt desire to be with one another. Today we hear in our readings a God who comes to help us as we face the barriers of life. We have very beautiful images from our first reading as God’s people return after exile, wanting to come home and be regathered as we want to be regathered in life at this time in our world. The prophet Isaiah says the God who comes will lay the mountains flat to form a road, fill in the deepest valleys so people can travel along and see the power of God coming to make a path through what was a barrier and coming with power but not dominating power, not military power but nurturing power. Those beautiful images of the type of power that God comes to break down the barriers. He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them close in his breast and leading them to their rest. Very personal, nurturing, loving images of how God comes to break down the barriers and we all know that when our hearts have been wound up to have that presence inviting, nurturing, helping us feel safe, it breaks down barriers doesn’t it? Rather than people trying to control us, dominate the conversations of things, telling us how to run our lives. We have the invitation from a God who walks with us, who shepherds us not one who is trying to take us over. The call of our hearts to receive the coming of God ever more fully comes to flatten those mountains that we face. As we say, we feel like we are walking up hill or in a deep valley, it captures the feeling of our hearts at times, we need that shepherding heart to come and break through the barriers.
Our present Pope Francis has written a beautiful reflection about his own journey of the barriers being broken down. The experience of the journey through the Covid has reminded him of memories of when he was very ill and vulnerable, overwhelmed in Buenos Aries and hospitalised. As he says, “A crisis reveals of what is in our hearts”. The virus for the Pope has brought him back to memories of when he was cared for and had that shepherding love breaking through the barriers of his fear. Let me share some of the words that he speaks about this, he says, “There are moments in life that can be ripe for change or conversion. Each of us has had our own ‘stoppage’, or if we haven’t yet, we will someday: illness, the failure of a relationship or a business, some great disappointment or betrayal. As in the Covid-19 lockdown, those moments generate a tension, a crisis that reveals what is in our hearts… When I got really sick at the age of twenty-one, I had my first experience of limit, of pain and loneliness. It changed the way I saw life. For months I didn’t know who I was or whether I would live or die.” What a wonderful image for a pope to share: “I didn’t even know who I was at that stage”, feeling his humanity rather than being the perfect human being walking around altogether. “The doctors had no idea of whether I’d make it either. I remember hugging my mother saying, ‘Just tell me if I am going to die’. It was in the second year of training for the priesthood in the diocesan seminary of Buenos Aries…” The Pope refers to two nurses in particular who he remembers standing by him, reassuring him, paying attention to his needs, giving him the medication he needed but importantly, giving him their shepherding heart which he needed to face that barrier of his heart. For the Pope, he was overwhelmed in fear and anxiety and he needed the shepherding heart to overcome it.
In our Gospel today, we also hear of, not only the external barriers but the inner barriers, we hear that the people have lost a bit of hope: What is going to happen in this world, oppressed by the Romans and the religious institutions don’t seem to be live-giving.. They see in John the Baptist a heart who is like a shepherd for them, breaking through their fear of hopelessness. They’re coming to him in droves, they are not going into the Temple. They are not going into the obvious religious place, they go to the desert, to the river Jordan where John is baptising, he’s got back to basics, got back to the history of God’s shepherding heart who had led the people through the desert and who was going to lead them through the Promised Land. The Jordan river was the last crossing before you entered the Promised Land, so to be baptising people there is saying, God is coming to renew you, he’s shepherding, he hasn’t forgotten you, come back to his heart. Confess to your hopelessness, confess your fear, confess your sense of trying to control it too much and he will come to you. The mountain will dissolve and God will come.
For us, he was saying the very Spirit of God is going to come in a human being. He will baptise you with the very Spirit of God coming to meet you. Esri today is really a sign as we baptise him of how our God came into the world as a fragile little one breaking down the most extraordinary barrier: our human heart – becoming a human heart, God will become a human heart, bringing down the mountains, levelling the cliffs and filling in those valleys. There’s nothing like the wonder of a little one to remind you very directly that God is coming!
Notices news and prayers
New Child Safe Standards for Victoria
The Victorian Government has announced new Child Safe Standards (Standards) that will come into effect on 1 July 2022. The eleven new Standards will replace Victoria’s current seven standards and principles.
Stella Maris Centre
10 / 11 July 2021
The Stella Maris Seafarer’s Centre in Melbourne is a not-for-profit organisation and one of over 300 centres worldwide providing pastoral care, services, and support for seafaring people.
This weekend we will have a special collection for Stella Maris in support of our seafarers.
Take the Way of the Gospel
22 May 2021
Presentation given by Archbishop Peter A Comensoli to Lay Leadership gathering.
A reflection on Maria George
15th October 2020 - Fr John has written of one memory he holds of Maria, a memory that embodies her spirit.
Migrant Refugee Sunday - Stories
Migration stories from parishioners 27th September
Migrant Refugee Sunday 2020 - Kit
Migrant Refugee Kit
Open letter to the premier
From the Catholic Bishops of Victoria 25th September 2020
Season of Creation 2020 week 2
A Global Faith Perspective
Season of Creation 2020
Jubilee for the Earth: new rhythms, new hope is the theme of this year’s Season of Creation
Parish Report August
Our August Parish Report 2020
Praying with Mary Mackillop
Praying to Mary Mackillop for Maria George
How to wear a Mask
Some instructions to wearing a mask
The Mask Prayer
A prayer for the mask
Emergency Food Guide
The Emergency Food Guide released by the City of Port Phillip this morning. This will be valuable for people who are struggling and it’s got a good range of available meal/food assistance and details of access and eligibility.
A letter from our Archbishop 7th May 2020
Laudato Si Week
Attached is some information on Laudato Si Week 16-24 May
The Candle in Isolation
A series of short prayers written by Michael McGirr because of this Easter and Easter Season, “... we could not come to the candle, (so) the candle might come out and meet us where we are.” There are 17 images and prayers, each showing that Jesus is alive among us, wherever we are
The Emmaus Prayer
The Emmaus Prayer by Fr Michael Van Sloun. A lovely prayer to accompany Mass 26th April
Letter From Fr John
A letter to the parish from Fr John Petrulis March 27th 2020
Prayer at this time
A prayer from the English Cathedral of Prayer, during the UK lockdown.
Let this be us
An Inspirational Poem from one of our Parishioners and Member of the PLDT: Fiona Lynch
An Act of Spiritual Communion by St. Alphonsus Liguori
Prayer in a Time of Anxiety
A lovely prayer for our anxiety at this time
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Giving at this time
How to still participate in our in service and support program during Covid-19
Please continue to give to the various collections either via Tithe.ly (here is how) or you can use direct deposit to our bank account
BSB: 083 347
Australian Psychology Society
Handy Resources for coping during COVID-19
Isolation during COVID-19
Maintaining your mental health during social isolation
Anxiety & mental health
Coronavirus (COVID-19) anxiety and staying mentally healthy - for older adults
Tips for coping
Tips for coping with coronavirus anxiety
Some handy resources
Both government and Catholic resources that will help during COVID-19