Morena – Passionist Family Group members and friends,
Greetings from Melbourne – it is good to have this opportunity to be back in the land of Oz. Good to hear the common sounds of the Australian bush. Being here at the Holy Cross Passionist Community in Melbourne is just wonderful place for reflection and a common life. The community is open, hospitable and welcoming – common elements that are called upon to live in our Passionist Family Groups.
Last weekend, I spent with the Australian National Passionist Family Group Team which was great to share and consider the issues and direction of the PFG Movement. We were led through a session on ‘Belonging’ and then a session, on ‘Decline’ by Brian (my brother). We then had ample opportunity to reflect, share and grapple with the work of the Passionist Pamily Group Movement. We were one in the need for support and belonging that is as important as ever and is the essense of being community.
We recognised that the place where we capture people (our parishes) are in a state of decline and there are many people feel left out or are exiting due to changes that have been occuring. That the effect of Covid has created fear for many and that the safety of home and enjoying online mass has been safe and comforting. We recognise that people in PFG’s are getting older and roles that require some leadership are not finding volunteers. People are living busy lives and have competing demands. So, I guess one is left to question – what are we to do? Is gathering important? Is being busy the ultimate? Is being connected to others good for our spirit and mental health.
So, we need to face some important facts about the state of our church, our family groups. We need to question our relevance of these things and how we respond to the challenges. The state of decline does not mean something ends – like ageing it changes us and our response to it needs to adapt and change. It may mean some things die and we take up new things or we adapt and live in a different way. However, our core values are enshined in the endeavour of living a faith that is real and seeking to be like Jesus – forgiving, serving being compassionate and doing justice.
We have started on entering this phase of our journey with a belief that we have good people who want to live out the aims and goals of our Passionist Family Group Movement. We have people who are courageous enough to ask and reflect on the difficult questions. We have good people who will be open to where God and the spirit leads us. We have good people who are honest and realistic of that fact that we live in God’s time. We have great leaders of this National Team who want to support, encourage and serve. It was indeed a great opportunity to share and support each other in this journey of honesty and with such openness and down to earth faith.
On Sunday May 7, 2023 the Passionist Family Group Movement will celebrate its 50th Anniversary at Terrey Hills – where it all started. There will be a celebration there but what we are inviting and encouraging of Family Groups is to hold a celebration in your parish or indiviual Family Group that marks this occasion as close to May 7th as possible. We will then request you send photos, comments, reflections which we will share via our websire. A flyer is attached.
God go with you – prayer and blessings,
Scripture reflection:. Third Sunday of Advent – ‘Gaudete’ Sunday Year A, 11 December 2022.
We belong to a loving community that longs for, and trusts in, the light of Christ.
First reading: Isaiah 35:1-6, 10
Second reading: James 5:7-10
Gospel: Matthew 11:2-11
Link to readings – click here
On this ‘Gaudete’ Sunday, the liturgy begins with an invitation to ‘rejoice!’ In the darkness of a world suffering the consequences of war and human greed, we long for the transforming light of Christ. But all around us are prophetic signs of God’s love at work, bringing us hope in darkness, and reminding us of the joyful life we are called to live. Today the Scriptures encourage us to listen, and to see the prophetic voices and signs of our times.
In the First Reading, Isaiah acclaims a joyful vision of Christ’s coming. Dimmed eyes will be opened; the lame will leap for joy; and we can have courage because the Lord is near.The Psalmist shares a vision of the Lord overcoming our human hardship, bringing justice and healing to the world.
The Second Reading is a letter of encouragement, counselling us to be watchful and patient. The Lord is close at hand. The Gospel describes a meeting between Jesus and the followers of the imprisoned John. Jesus answers their questions by referencing both the prophecies of Isaiah and today’s Psalm. John is a prophet of their time, and Jesus encourages John’s disciples not to lose faith. Jesus himself is the one of whom the ancient prophets spoke.
Currently, working on a couple of presentations that we will video here at Hoy Cross in Melbourne that can be used for Formation with individual family groups or parishes here in Australian and also in Aotearoa – New Zealand. Next weekend I will be with our Passionist Family Group in Richmond for a promotion/gathering.
Also, have been spending time with friends whom I have not seen for some years. Also my sister Anne-Marie and my brother Peter have come to Melbourne and we have had some family time. Good to see them face to face rather than zoom.
It has been refreshing to spend time with the Passionist Community here at Holy Cross – great guys and the place is a reflective paradise of friendship, community, humour, down to earthness and faith filled people.
Pease remember in your thoughts and prayer:
- Aidan son of Josie and Phil McIntyre – he is very sick and his parents are his caregivers.
- Fr Anthony from Hastings – remember him and his family in NZ and Mynmar
- John Arthurs – brother of Bob. We remember John’s wife Valerie and Bob & Pamela’s family
- Ursula Corcoran’s family
- Jenny Wullings – has an Op in January – in a lot of pain. John is supporting her.
- Paul Darbyshire (Linda and family) Paul is not at home slowly recuperayting.
- Gerard and Linda Daly – tragic loss of their son, Brett. Keep the family in your prayer.
- Boyd Dunlop (Judith and family) Bods is recovering very well.
- Paeroa PFG lost their dear friend and long time member Liz Taylor
- Wilma Schimanski and family
- Julie Neve her two children, family and friends. – Julie is mending
- Please remember Carmel Cole’s family– she and her late husband Don a long time benefactors of “The Fort” (Passionist Retreat in Brisbane)
- Remember Fr Ray Sanchez CP – for his health concerns
- Fr Gerard Aynsley
- Your own intentions
- “Did you hear about the kidnapping at school? It’s okay, he woke up.”
- “A cheeseburger walks into a bar. The bartender says, ‘Sorry, we don’t serve food here.'”
- “I once got fired from a canned juice company. Apparently I couldn’t concentrate.”
- “I used to play piano by ear. Now I use my hands.”
- “Have you ever tried to catch a fog? I tried yesterday but I mist.”
- “I’m on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it.”
- “Why did the scarecrow win an award? Because he was outstanding in his field.”
- “I made a pencil with two erasers. It was pointless.”
- “How do you make a Kleenex dance? Put a little boogie in it!”
- “I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down!”
- “Did you hear about the guy who invented the knock-knock joke? He won the ‘no-bell’ prize.”
Reminder: 5 Aims and Goals
- share & celebrate life & faith
- support one another (especially in need)
- reaching out to & include others
- build community/extended family
- show example to children
“A Family for All”