National PFGM Meeting in Melbourne 4-6 March 2022
From the left: Russell Winterscheidt; (Qld) (Gwen Winterscheidt – Absent due to dying pet); Mary and Dennis Morris (ACT, SA & National Coordinator) Brian Traynor (CP-Advisor); Paul Traynor (NZ) Michael and Frances Sullivan (Vic). On the screen from the left Trish Gurney and Celine Bowman (QLD)
Dear Fellow members of PFG’s and friends,
Another week passes and the reality of Covid is very present as is the suffering of the people in Ukraine and the total injustice being perpetuated currently. Then there are the floods in Queensland, Northern NSW and Sydney – seeing the images of the war in the Ukraine and the floods are just very sobering.
What comes to light in these instances is the genuine community support and assistance. It is so humbling to see people just getting out and helping others New Zealand has had this same generosity on many occasions. These moments show how our empathy, compassion and service can get people through very tough, isolating and painful situations. These are occasions when hope is shared through our care and concern.
This week’s gospel is the Transfiguration. I have always been drawn to it for two reasons. Firstly, Jesus and his disciples withdraw and go up the mountain where one can see things in a new or different perspective. In the clarity, one is drawn to see the expanse both below and around oneself and the opportunity to be wowed by vista. It is here, where Jesus is confirmed and loved, a statement from what has been experienced. It is, an affirmation of love and belief in himself and his mission. Secondly, there is a temptation to hold onto experiences such as these and like aspects of religion we can have a desire to hold on. A sort of let us “build tents” rather than interiorise the experience and allow it to guide us as we re-enter life. Yes, we must descend the Mountain and live in the muck of life.
This is where we need reconnect to the Aims and Goals of our Passionist Family Groups. We are not a social club, nor are we a prayer or study group. These things occur naturally out of our everyday life of trying to live ‘community’ to be a “Family for All”. The meal or visit to someone sick or struggling, the welcome of a new family, member or child, the laughter and care of good friends, the tears at someone’s loss and grief, the phone call, the email, zoom or note all reflect a prayerfulness and service of love and compassion.
So, as we travel through these times let us remember those struggling, those divided, those treated unjustly, those who are lonely, isolated and afraid. Let us be welcoming and open to others and bring light, hope and forgiveness to all we encounter.
God go with you – have a good week.
National PFGM Meeting in Melbourne 4-6 March 2022
We had a very positive and enriching gathering and very grateful for the input from Brian (Traynor) which gave a launch pad for much dialogue and thinking about the current situation with PFG’s and what needs to be done both now and for the future for PFG’s.
Brian has been reading a book by Ted Dunn called Graced Crossroads. Part of the background of this books suggests the PFG Movement reflects the current reality of ageing and diminished parish numbers. In Australia, in pre-covid times mass attendance was around 10% in 1954 it was around 70%. Overall, mass attendance declined by 28% between 1996 and 2016. Mass attenders in a 2016 survey who were born in non-English speaking countries was 37%. In New Zealand 48% of Kiwis do not identify with any ‘main’ religion. One in three identify as Christian, 10% identify as Catholic and one third of these was born overseas.
So, there are some challenges to be reflected upon and questions that our Passionist Family Group Movement needs to discern and ponder. While as we say we are ageing it is important to acknowledge that Passionist Family Group Movement remains vibrant and meaningful for thousands of people. However, there is a need to “Transform” (Dunne’s word) and that would be true for religious orders, the church and even our PFGM. This will call for dreaming, dialogue and discernment so that hearts, minds and skill-sets, can be reset. Helen Keller said, “a bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to take it”.
I won’t go onto this further as it is a deep and long conversation. Suffice to say, that in our coordination and ministry of Passionist Family Groups we need to seek some new ways on understanding what we are and who we are. Thus one area we discussed was the refocus and resetting of the “aims and goals” of our Movement.
These people in Australia are doing wonderful work in living the aims and goals and seeking ways to engage with Bishops, PP’s, Parish and groups coordinators to look at ways of transforming our Movement. Like New Zealand, we have a way to go but this meeting has lit a spark which we will in both countries work together in bringing and sharing its light to all we encounter and engage with.
As Brian said, “our Aims and Goals (with some modification) allow us to be prophetic. PFG’s are remarkably ecumenical. PFG’s can be totally welcoming if we live by our motto (“a Family for All”). These are basic gospel values.”
As the Maori proverb states: “What is the most important thing in the world? The people, the people, the people”
Second Sunday of Lent Year C, 13 March 2022 – The Transfiguration
As we enter into prayer this week, let us remember we are never alone as we pray.
First reading: Genesis 15:5-12, 17-18
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 26(27):1, 7-9, 13-14
Second reading: Philippians 3:17 – 4:1
Gospel: Luke 9:28-36
Link to readings – click here
‘Listen to him …!’ Lent is a season of seeking out and listening to the Lord. Every year on this Second Sunday, we read an account of the Transfiguration: a transforming spiritual encounter linking Jesus to the fulfilment of the Law and the Prophets. Here we see a foretaste of the glory of the Risen Christ: a vision of how our lives are transformed by the presence of Christ within us.
The First Reading tells of a meeting between God and Abram. Through Abram’s faith, God makes an eternal covenant with the people of Israel. The Psalm is a song of longing and hope in the faith of the Lord: a call to prayer that encourages us to seek God’s light, guidance and strength. In the letter to the Philippians (Second Reading), we are entreated to be united in our faith. Christ will transfigure us.
In Luke’s Gospel account of the Transfiguration, Jesus takes his close companions with him to pray. Here Jesus is placed firmly in the context of the fulfilment of God’s Covenant to the people of Israel. There are echoes of the past, and glimpses of Jesus’s coming death in the weariness of the disciples praying with him. This short passage has a very clear message for us today: ‘Listen!’.
Why do standup comedians perform poorly in Hawaii? Because the audience only responds in a low ha.
Why can’t you send a duck to space? Because the bill would be astronomical.
I once got fired from a canned juice factory. Apparently I couldn’t concentrate.
Where do you find a cow with no legs? Wherever you left it.
Thinking of having my ashes stored in a glass urn. Remains to be seen.
What do you call Bill Gates when he’s flying? A Bill-in-air.
Why did Karen press Ctrl+Shift+Delete? Because she wanted to see the task manager.
What language do people speak in the middle of the earth? Core-ean
Love and blessings,