Live Streaming of Holy Week Liturgies
Holy Week Liturgies are celebrated without congregation in the Church. But you can spiritually participate in them. To enable you do it, Holy Week Liturgies are live streamed. Open the Parish Website and click on the link to watch Masses on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEdFcfdv_ILEHVNmQrpWeVA/videos. Thanks to Greg Facer for helping with the technology and equipment. You are also welcome to email the parish office your prayer intensions and Mass Intentions. The Schedule of Masses and other Liturgies as follows:
April 6-8 (Monday to Wednesday) 8 AM
April 9 Holy Thursday 7.30 PM
April 10 Good Friday 3 PM – Passion Service
April 11 Saturday Easter Vigil 7 PM
April 12 Easter Sunday 10 AM
Fr Thomas’ Reflection for Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord
PALM SUNDAY 2020
It is a strange feeling to think of starting Holy Week in the current COVID19 situation. But we can also thank God that he has provided us with the ability to make sense out of the unusual situation.
Isolation is the rule we are forced to live by. This Holy Week start with meditations on how our Saviour, Jesus, was isolated and tortured. Yet Jesus showed a path different to that of the world and validated it with his life. It is the human tendency to seek human glory through personal achievements, money status and power. But Jesus is different. When his disciple cut off the ear of a policeman who came to arrest Jesus in Gethsemane, he ordered the disciple to put the sword back into its scabbard and healed the ear. Jesus is here to manifest the love of the Father in Heaven, not violence for personal glory.
The trial of Jesus in front of Pilate the Governor is not just a story of a crowd pleasing human ruler. Pilate wants the people to make a choice between Barabbas and Jesus. Barabbas literally means ‘son of the father’ – presumably Father in Heaven. Even though he bears such a beautiful name, by his choice his life shows anything but the love of the Father in Heaven. The Gospel describes him as a criminal. He is the figure of those who are initiated to be children of God through baptism, but have abandoned the Christian ways to an irreligious, self-gratifying way of living. Whereas Jesus means ‘God saves.’ And, Jesus is the figure of trust in God’s love. Jesus never looks for his personal glory. He is here to show the Glory of the Father in Heaven. When you read the narrative of Pilate’s call to choose between Barabbas and Jesus, personally you should be reflecting on whether you are a figure of God’s love or only a Christian by name and not by the way you live. Though this year you cannot come together in your parish church during this time for the penitential acts of Stations of the Cross, Sacrament of Confession, and other sacraments, make a good examination of conscience to see whether you have chosen Barabbas or Jesus in your life. Make an act of contrition like Peter, who wept over his denial of Jesus as his master. Peter remembered the words of Jesus, who commented on his life by predicting that Peter will deny him three times. You too read the Bible and let the Word of God interpret your life. Then you ask for God’s forgiveness. Then you too will be restored to the company of the Disciples of Christ, just as Peter was restored to the fold of the Apostles. Having prepared like this, Peter was able to experience the Resurrected Christ. With proper preparation, you too will be able to meet the Resurrected Christ at Easter, in spite of the doors of the church being shut.
I will be celebrating liturgies, without the participation of a congregation, during this Holy Week. But all the liturgies will be live streamed. You are invited to join them through electronic media. You can pray for spiritual Communion at those liturgies. I will be praying for my parish and for all those who are in need of prayer.
Fr Thomas’ Reflection for the 5th Sunday of Lent
CORONA AND RAISING OF LAZARUS (Jn 11:1-45)
COVID19 Pandemic seems to kill, not just people, but the economy, the religious practices, education systems, in short the world as we know it. In a microcosmic way, the death of Lazarus made his sisters think of their world collapsing. They were all the more saddened by the fact that Jesus who, they thought, was their good friend who could work miracles, did not bother to turn up, in spite of the sisters sending a message that their brother was mortally sick.(Ref. John 11:1-45).
The church doors are closed now. That made us an un-gathered Church. It is the disciples of Christ that make up the Church, not the buildings, opened or closed. In this time of crisis, with the shut downs, Christians are to re-position themselves to be the true Church. It becomes all the more important for those who are culturally Christian and habitually religious. Those Christians and their companions are to realise the meaning of the words of Jesus, “This sickness will end not in death but in God’s glory, and through it the Son of God will be glorified” (John11:4). Here I borrow words from Charles Newington. “The Christian faith is not a fair-weather faith. It still functions in fair weather, but when the economy and the welfare system are humming along, God and the communion of faith seem less relevant. A crisis squeezes us more tightly than usual and what’s in us will come out eventually. Some people are very self-assured. They are confident that they will rise to the occasion and triumph over adversity. Most of us are not so sure of what will come out of us if we are squeezed hard by financial instability, the demands of social isolation, or God-forbid that we or a loved one succumbed to the virus.”
Just as Jesus restored the life of Lazarus and a new beginning for his sisters, the COVID19 crisis is paving a path for new world. In a crisis like the one we have now, everyone realises the limitations of individualism and learns how interdependent we human beings are. The virus, not discriminating between the rich, the privileged, the celebrities, the powerful and the rest, makes everyone appreciate the interdependency as God’s design for human beings. It is also helping us sort the perishable from the life-giving.
A crisis also makes humanity more creative. Businesses and the economy have already initiated some new thinking. The Education field is finding creative ways of schooling. Yes, the Crisis is not a waste. It becomes the birth pang of a new creation.
Jesus always stressed the importance of being there for others in a spiritual life. Prayer is not an exercise in itself, for making individuals better people, even though it will do that. It is coming close to God through Christ. It requires listening before speaking out our anxious thoughts. It requires surrendering to Jesus and taking up his calls. It requires an attitude like that of Thomas. When Jesus called his disciples to go with him to Bethany, they were afraid, thinking that Jews are waiting there to kill them. But Thomas showed what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus and said, “Let us also go” (John 11:16). A similar call of Christ has become real and has come closer to home. CatholicCare of Sydney is calling for volunteers to take food, medicine and such other provisions to the frail and lonely in the event of corona virus spreading and making many sick. Sister Cecilia Joseph, OP, from the parish convent, has agreed to coordinate the parish team who will be part of the Archdiocesan team. Anyone volunteering is invited to leave contact details with the parish office.
When this deadly crisis period is over we will look at our families, friends and neighbours with a deeper appreciation of God’s goodness to us all. Our fellowship will be strengthened to subdue self-interests. We will be more respectful to those who do not share the same status as ours. We will be resuscitated like Lazarus in John Chapter 11. I invite you this weekend to read John 11:1-45 and understand Christ’s message for you in this time of gloom.
COVID19 HELP TEAM
In this time of pandemic, caring for the frail and the elderly, especially those who are isolated, is challenging. CatholicCare is working to roll out a volunteer program to help the needy access groceries, cooked meals, medicine and other necessities at this difficult time. Sister Cecilia Joseph OP, from the parish convent has volunteered to coordinate the team from the parish end. She will liaise with CatholicCare and the parish volunteers. Some parishioners already have expressed their willingness to join the team. If you are willing to volunteer, please email the parish office with your name and contact detail. CatholicCare also has a dedicated phone service, CCareline – Phone 13 18 19 for the needy to contact.
Message from Fr Thomas – 24 March 2020
Dear brothers and sister in Christ
Telling the congregation on Monday morning that “This will be the last mass with congregation for a while.” was not easy. But it is very important to cooperate with public health authorities to ensure the safety of all. Though we cannot gather together we shall not disregard the importance of prayer life. We shall continue to demonstrate that our God is with us; we shall continue to be the Sacrament of God especially to anyone who experiences darkness in life.
Following the new Commonwealth and State regulations on public places, all Masses and communal devotions are suspended. The regulation also requires the church doors be closed even for private prayers. The only exceptions are for funerals and weddings; in both cases with immediate family (small numbers) only. But I will be celebrating private Masses each day of this COVID19 pandemic period and praying for my parish. Anyone with special intentions for Mass, like death anniversary of dear ones or other special occasions, can contact the parish for Mass to be celebrated for their intentions. Though I cannot allow your participation, I still can offer the Mass for your intention.
Our Archbishop has dispensed the faithful from the Sunday Mass obligations during this period of regulations. All the same you are encouraged to watch “Mass for You at Home” broadcast on Channel 10 each Sunday from 6am. There are also several live-streaming and on-demand services for daily Mass both locally and from around the English-speaking world. Some of the links are available on the Archdiocesan website. You can keep Sunday holy by setting aside some time for prayer at home, reading the Scripture of the day, watching Mass on television or on line and asking God for the grace of Holy Communion.
Should you require a priest to pray for the sick or the dying, let me know and I shall try to attend to the request. Any individual seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) also can contact me at the parish office.
In this time of pandemic, caring for the frail and the elderly, especially those who are isolated, is challenging. CatholicCare is working to roll out a volunteer program to help the needy access groceries, cooked meals, medicine and other necessities at this difficult time. I would like to make a list of volunteers from the parish with a coordinator. The volunteer coordinator will liaise with CatholicCare and the parish volunteers. If you are willing to volunteer, please email the parish office with your name and contact detail. CatholicCare also has a dedicated phone service, CCareline – Phone 13 18 19 for the needy to contact.
For the latest update from the Archdiocese, prayers and spiritual resources, and to watch Mass online visit https://www.sydneycatholic.org/coronavirus.updates/.
I pray that God, who through His Word reconciles the human race to Himself in a wonderful way, may grant the Christian people comfort and healing. May our prompt devotion and eager faith prepare us for it. In this time of distress, may God, the healer of all our ills be with us.
Yours in Christ
Fr Thomas Kurunthanam
During this time preferred communication is by emailing the Parish Office email@example.com.
During this time of COVID19, Church building is closed. But real CHURCH is made up of disciples of Christ. In spirit we pray continue to pray together. Each day I offer Mass for my parish. Any intentions you would like me to pray for, let me know by Email or telephone or write a note and leave in the letter box. I shall pray for your intentions.
There is no schedule for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But let me know if anyone requires the Sacrament of Penance. If getting to a priest is not an option for you, make a good examination of your life, confess your sins to God, say a prayer of contrition (sorrow). As penance read a passage from Bible and pray with it. God forgives you.
Bible Study Program is suspended for the time being. I am thinking of on line version of Bible Study.
The weekly Bulletins will continue to be published through Email to those who are on the parish list.