Advent means ‘the arrival’ and we understand this to refer to the arrival of Jesus at Christmas. Advent marks the beginning of the new liturgical church year. This is Year C which features Luke’s gospel.

Originally Advent was a time of preparation for January 6th (the feast of Epiphany, and this was related to the visit of the wise men from the East. Often they are called kings and usually people refer to them as the ‘three’ wise men, but Matthew does not tell us anything other than ‘wise men (or astrologers) from the East followed a star and came to Bethlehem. These wise men only appear in Matthew, so we won’t hear about them in Year C.

Epiphany was an important feast because it celebrated Jesus as the universal Lord. The men from the East signified that people from ‘east and west’ had come to pay homage to Jesus, the ultimate revealer of God’s love and fellowship. The period of advent started on December 17th and it was a festival period of prayers & activities celebrating Jesus’ arrival, rather than it being a preparation period during which we wait for Jesus to arrive.

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Sunday 28th…..Remembering our deceased relatives and friends
This Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. During Mass we will especially remember the deceased members of the Holy Cross family as we have done annually for several years. We will have the names of all those we remember, on the altar, and we will display a Power Point presentation after communion with names, and as many faces as is practical to show. If you wish to add a name to be specially prayed for, please bring the name on a piece of paper and place it on the altar before Mass.

We will remove the photos from the chapel wall after this Sunday. We hope to create a folder to keep and display the photos, and in time add others. Please feel welcome to share a photo with us.

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The theme of the Jubilee Year is “Renewing Our Mission.” The Passionist Family is asked to: Remember the past with thanksgiving to the God who has blessed us (gratitude); faithfully read the signs of the times and find new ways to evangelize through the lens of Jesus’ Passion (prophecy); and discern God’s plans and promises for a meaningful future (hope)

The relocated symbol of the Jubilee will be unveiled and blessed immediately after 10.30am next Sunday. As explained last week, Toàn created the hand and sign a year ago for the beginning of the 300th Jubilee reflections. It is a reflection of Paul of the Cross seeking to found a Congregation that would meditate on and proclaim the Passion of Jesus. It was placed in the Peace garden, but he has created a new water feature and it will be installed near the entrance to the chapel.

Anyone wishing to attend either days at Holy Cross is asked to register please with Kay Lewis: 0412815528

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Passionist 300th Jubilee:
22 November 2020 - 1 January 2022

The Passionist Congregation was born during the 40-day retreat of St. Paul of the Cross, in the church of San Carlo in Castellazzo, Italy. The retreat was preceded by Paul's leaving his family and being clothed as a hermit in a black habit. The vestition ceremony was to have taken place in Alessandria on November 21, 1720, the feast of the Presentation of Mary, but the rite was postponed to Friday, November 22, 1720.
Returning to Castellazzo, where he lived, Paul began his forty-day retreat in the cell of the church of San Carlo on 23 November, in a storeroom off the sacristy. In this period, between December 2nd - 7th 1720, Paul wrote the Rule for the "Poor of Jesus", the first name he thought he would give to the Congregation he intended to found and which later became the Congregation of the Passionists. In his Diary he wrote: "I was writing as if there was someone dictating to me." Paul ended his retreat on January 1, 1721. This is why the dates of the Jubilee Year are: November 22, 2020 - January 1, 2022.

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Passionist spirituality: Paul of the Cross – His personality

Paul was frequently described as an extremely robust and impressive person. His biographer, Passionist (and now Saint) Vincent Strambi described Paul as being of imposing stature, considered, charming and eloquent. “His gaze was keen and clear, his forehead high and open, his voice clear, serious and penetrating, his manner affable and respectful, devoid of affectation. He was of sanguine temperament and truly sensible.”

Twice there have been graphological analyses of Paul’s handwriting with very similar results. These descriptions suggest, “The writer thinks with his emotions, more than reason. He was anxious, distressed or under physical or emotional strain at the time of writing. Determined; expressive and responsive personality; marked social concerns, compassionate, intelligent, inventive and imaginative. Difficult to understand at times because logic is disregarded and the heart of the matter taken out of sequence. Very introspective, abrupt and decisive in action, intolerant of some things. Analytical, psychic, sensitive, reserves facts and keeps confidences. A man you could depend upon.”

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Lucy Burlini….and Passionist community friends
Holy Cross community has benefited from the long-standing love and generosity of many people. We are tremendously grateful, and we feel humbled that we can give so little in return. This generosity comes in every possible form and our other communities experience the same loyal commitment and kindness from many wonderful people. We now have formal Companions who identify with our spirituality and try to live and express the same charism in their daily life. Others are informal companions who share the Passionist spirit or are drawn to it. This makes us feel both blessed and grateful.

Sometimes the association of benefactors begins with a meeting of one individual Passionist with another individual; a couple or a family, and it develops into a friendship with the community This has been the case since the times of Paul of the Cross. In the middle of an intensive time of growth in the early days of the Congregation, Paul was struck down with sciatica. He attempted to return to Monte Argentario, but the steep climb was impossible for him and he was forced to stay with the Grazzi family in Orbetello for five months. The family became regular hosts for Passionists travelling to or from Monte Argentario for mission.

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Paul and Sickness

Given the age and state of health of many Holy Cross Companions and others of professed and lay members throughout the Province, it may be of value to reflect on the place of sickness in Paul’s life and spirituality. Paul ‘saw’ sickness and death first-hand in his family. Nine of his siblings died in infancy. He cared for the sick, dying and deceased as a young adult with the Confraternity of St. Anthony in Castellazzo. He stayed by the bedside of many who were sick or dying, and assisted them with prayers. He prepared many who died for burial and often led the funeral prayers because there was no priest to do it.

He never fully recovered from an attack of rheumatic fever in 1719, when he was twenty-five years of age, nor from a severe attack of malaria in 1727. Paul’s constant travels in frosty weather and cold winds weakened him and for more than forty years, he was regularly incapacitated by sickness. He suffered from malaria, rheumatism, sciatica, debilitating headaches, deafness and frequent heart palpitations. From 1745, at the age of fifty-one, he was forced to use a walking stick to get about. In later life, he was often bed-ridden sometimes for many months, and he was a permanent invalid for most of the last ten years of his life. His letters and writings reflect that in all his sufferings, his deepest desire was to be conformed to Jesus crucified.

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Creation 7: RESONANCE….Part 3

As a species, horses have learned to be corralled by barb-wire without injuring themselves, though injuries did occur to most horses when this practice was first introduced. There have been successful experiments carried out with fake (painted) cattle grids. Some wondered what would happen if one animal overcame this ‘trick’. Would others also learn to do the same?

In 1985, some sheep in Wales overcame the fake cattle grid by rolling over them. This rolling over technique occurred in the same year in Sweden. Twelve years later, sheep in Hampshire began to use this technique and in 2004, some sheep in Yorkshire also adopted this technique.

When the European Cuckoo is hatched, it never sees it parents. It is reared by birds of other species. The adult birds migrate to their other home in Southern Africa.
One month later, the young cuckoos get together and without the aids humans would use, migrate across the Sahara Desert to Southern Africa, 5,350 kilometres away, where they join their elders!

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Creation 6: RESONANCE….Part 2
Nearly twenty years ago, I spent a few hours with a friend at the national museum in Canberra Among the many things at the museum that impressed me was a satellite pictorial image of some parts of Australia that were captured by aboriginal painters almost a century earlier. There is an aboriginal belief that a painter may only capture a part of the landscape that he/she has experienced, because it has become a part of them. This display revealed that some of the images of the scenery taken from satellites that were painted a hundred years ago, are almost identical. This was long before helicopters or drones. It is as if (as one expert said) “the artist had a birds-eye view of the landscape before that was possible”.

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A strange comment
I do not express my opinions on any public social media platforms, but I wanted at least to express my surprise at two comments made by an Australian Cardinal that were reported by National Catholic reporter, Christopher White. The first is that the Cardinal “has never approved of Pope Benedict’s resignation”. The choice of the word ‘approved’ is interesting. It is different from ‘not agreeing’. It seems strange also to not respect an individual’s brave decision, when the person (Pope Benedict) came to the recognition that he could no longer exercise the role adequately. Would that more people could be as responsible and ‘let go’ after coming to this recognition!

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