Last Monday night Fr Tom gave a comprehensive report accounting for what the Province has done in response to the 2019 Provincial Chapter and looking ahead to the Chapter in July 2023. Our Chapter back in 2019 followed the 2018 Congregational General Chapter held in Rome. Chris Monaghan was invited to give the opening address at tat General Chapter and on Monday night Tom quoted a poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, that Chris used in the address.

One ship sails East, and another West, 
By the self-same winds that blow,
'Tis the set of the sails And not the gales,
that tells the way we go.
Like the winds of the sea are the waves of time,
As we journey along through life,
'Tis the set of the soul,
that determines the goal,
and not the calm or the strife.

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Advent
This Sunday we begin a new liturgical year (Year A). The weekly gospel reading will be from Matthew. Advent is a season of joy, during which we are called to prepare our hearts as if for the arrival of Jesus into our lives for the first time.

The advent wreath helps us to focus on ‘staying awake’ through the deepening of four virtues over the four weeks of Advent – hope, peace, joy and love. In the first week we focus on HOPE. What we hope for is not what we wish for. We might wish for the weather to be good or for COVID infections to cease. Hope is different. It is an expectation built on trust. This is why people can still hope when all hope appears to be gone. St Paul wrote from his experience, “suffering creates perseverance, perseverance creates character and character creates hope”. (Romans 5:3-5)

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Chris Mithen – 90
Fr Chris is residing at Nazareth House, Camberwell. He will celebrate his 90th birthday on Saturday November 19th. We are having a morning Tea in the dining room at Holy Cross on Tuesday November 22nd at 10.30am-12.00pm. You are most welcome to call in and have a cuppa and celebrate with Chris.

When I was a novice, Chris was the Novice Director and during a conference and conversation in his office, he challenged me to find out his birthday. I told him I already knew. Next he asked, what about the date of my ordination? It was unlikely I would know the answer, but I told him June 30th, 1956. The tables were turned as I invited him to work out how I knew because I did not know when I entered his office. I had noticed a pen on his desk which had engraved on it italic script: 30-06-1956. In the end, I had to tell him about the pen. It was very rare to get one up on such a canny character.

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I wrote this brief article for the spring newsletter of the PFGM. I was sitting on a train a few days ago and it was interesting to try to distinguish those passengers who were related to one another, from those who were strangers. For most, there were long periods of time when it was impossible to tell the difference. So many had the eyes fixed on their phones and their ears plugged to block out local noise.

For such an advanced species, is this really how we communicate today? Locked in to people or events far away, and blind to those around us!

It seems COVID-19 has assisted this backward step because not only are people gathering less, visiting less and hosting less, they are also connecting less with family and friends. Even a phone call to see how aged or unwell friends are managing, has become too much effort for some. Despite warning that this era might be called ‘the age of loneliness’ and COVID-19 has made this worse, we Christians might need to look at our responsibility to CONNECT.

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Remembrance Mass
During Mass this Sunday Nov 6th we will remember and pray for deceased family members and friends. A Power Point presentation after communion will include photos. For that Mass you are welcome to write names of people to pray for on a piece of paper and place them on the altar before Mass.

Our prayer highlights the communion of humankind, living and deceased as we seek full union with God, just as our ancestors did, and we remain hopeful that others will in time, continue such a hope and pray for us. Ancient peoples have always believed in the connectedness and sacredness of all life forms, and that our family includes ancestors and descendants. This family includes all those we have known and loved – those who loved us into life and those who passed on their faith to us. They include the Holy Cross family.

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Ireland’s priests
‘The Tablet’ has reported on the clerical situation in Ireland, which is mirrored here in Australia and in our own Province. New figures in Ireland show that a quarter of all priests currently serving in the Irish Church are expected to retire over the next 15 years. 547 priests of the 2,100 working priests in the Irish Church are aged between 61 and 75 and nearly 300 (15%) of working priests are aged 75 or over. They serve in 1,355 parishes and 2,652 churches or mass centres.
Across all 26 Irish dioceses, fewer than 2.5 per cent of working priests are younger than 40 and there are only 47 seminarians (representing an average maximum of 8 potential ordinations per year)

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PROVINCE HISTORY: 9. REVIEWED STRATEGIC PLANNING (Part 1)

As outlined in Chapter Eight, the Province embarked on a ten-year Strategic Plan in 1997. Expert assistance was acquired and various surveys were undertaken. Some aspects of the Plan began immediately, while other elements were planned to take up to five years to begin and not reach their full implementation for up to ten years’. An attempt was made to describe the nature and purpose of each community and the number of professed men who might be living there when the plan was realized by 2006. These numbers for each community or ministry were proposed in light of the projected numerical strength of the Province.

The vision of the plan called us to see ourselves first as the one Province Community and not just separate local communities. The appointment of men to a local community was to be in light of each person's willingness to actively support the life and mission of that community, and support the wider mission of the Province. Underpinning the plan was that community life is the foundation of our mission and that our future would be tied to collaborative ministry with laity and other religious.

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The personality of Paul of the Cross
Paul was frequently described as an extremely robust and impressive person, yet for more than 40 years of his life, he was regularly incapacitated by sickness. He suffered from malaria, rheumatism, sciatica, debilitating headaches, frequent heart palpitations and he was forced to use a walking stick for thirty years, from the age of fifty-one. He was often bed-ridden and was a permanent invalid for the last ten years of his life. Several times he had illnesses that were assumed to be fatal, and given the Sacrament of the sick. He did however remain lucid in mind and robust in spirit, to the end.

His letters and writings reflect that in all his sufferings, his deepest desire was to be conformed to Jesus crucified and many people reported that despite his sickness or feebleness he still showed indomitable energy and passion. He spent incredible energy establishing and caring for the new Congregation and wrote numerous letters. He carried out many missions and retreats, founded twelve Passionist retreats and established the Cloistered Passionist Nuns.

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Fr Jim Elmore CP
7th October, 2022
Jim ba4led cancer for more than twenty years and finally succumbed on September 30th. Jim came from Ipswich in Brisbane and entered the Chris/an Brothers and was professed in 1965. AKer discernment of his voca/on, Jim applied for and was accepted to be professed as a Passionist and was ordained in 1991. He lived and ministered in Marrickville, Hobart, Brisbane, Bourke and at Holy Cross. May he rest in peace. Jim’s funeral will be next Monday.

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To celebrate the Centenary of Holy Spirit Province, there will be a weekend Passionist Ins/tute (Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st) in late November. This will take place across all four countries of the Province (Vietnam, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Australia).
The session /mes in Melbourne will be Saturday 9.45am- 1.10pm and on Sunday, 1.30pm-5.30pm. On Saturday there will be two main 35
minute presenta/ons. The first by Jeff Foale who has been living with the Passionists for 76 of the 100 years we have been a Province. Jeff will share some of his insights and learnings from the history of the Province, from his perspec/ve and experience. Erick Niyiragira, from a much younger perspec/ve will share what he sees as the way forward in the light of our history.

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