Bakhita, her name means ‘the fortunate’. That is not the name her parents gave her. She was snatched as child from her parents by Arab slave traders. The trauma she suffered as a slave made her forget her own name. Bakhita, the name the slave masters gave her, even as they tortured her terribly, was proved true and fitting for her life by God. You wouldn’t call Bakhita lucky who was sold and bought five times before completing her teenage years, in the latter half of nineteenth century.
I have a crafted Christmas nativity scene on the wall of my presbytery, a gift on the 25th anniversary of my ordination. The artwork of Jilumol Mariet Thomas. But this creation is not the work of her hands, she does not have hands. The amazing piece of art was created with her legs alone. When I met Jilumol she was a school girl in an institution run by the Sisters of the Destitute, where my cousin Sr Christine was in charge. Now she has a university degree in graphics and animation and works as an animation artist.
On this Father’s Day, I pray God’s blessings on all fathers. Some of the men in the parental role may be faced with uneasy situations when the world around them is celebrating the gift of fatherhood. It could be due to hurting family relationships where there have been break ups, infidelity and incompatibility.
To some people being Christian is an easy option. Having children baptised into the church, one can easily get into Catholic Schools for a better education. Going to church whenever it pleases them, feeling good and making others feel good are the kind of commitments some people consider as Christian identity. But for Mary it was different.
In an open letter to Perth Catholics on July 2, Archbishop Costelloe said one of the main purposes of the amendments to the Children and Community Services Act 2004 was to introduce mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse for ministers of religion, which includes “religious confession”.
The nomination of Kamala Harris, daughter of a black man from Jamaica, to the Vice Presidential Candidacy of the Democrats in the United States made headlines lately all over the world including Australia. In the wake of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, there are issues to be solved in America.
Thursday morning dawned with the terrible news of catastrophic blast in Beirut, the port city and capital of Lebanon. For many parishioners and other people around with Lebanese heritage it was a heart breaking news. The economic hardship and notorious corruption in Lebanon was already breaking the back of ordinary people. Many of them have already been trying to help their dear ones back home, from out of the black hole. Now this blast has not only flattened many buildings and destroyed the food reserve, it also devastated many lives.
When someone dear to them dies, a Catholic would soon gather friends and family to celebrate a Mass. If the deceased person was dearly loved, the greater would be the gathering. At such gatherings people would be speaking about virtues like compassion, love given and received, experiences of healing or uplifting when life itself was challenged. It helps them make a better sense of the life of the departed. When someone dear passes on, you could be feeling a kind of emptiness; your experience could perhaps be described as if you are in a wilderness, needing support. You need consolation. Such needs are fulfilled in the coming together and celebrating Mass with the kith and kin.
These days with the COVID-19 restrictions, we have to be innovative in a lot of things. Recently, the sacramental team of the parish has been discussing how to re-organise the Sacramental Preparation Programs without calling for the parents to gather and risk the spread of corona virus.
There are a number of people employed in the Catholic Schools who are counter witnesses to the Catholic Church. Some of them openly oppose some of the fundamental teachings of the Church. They do not care about the mission of the Church. These less than desirable elements in the school system is affecting the integrity of not just the Catholic Education system, but the Church at large.