Brian Gleeson CP
We received the sad news this morning that our brother Brian passed away peacefully this morning (September 7th) around 1.00am. He was 87 years old. Brian was professed in 1956 and ordained in 1961. Fr Denis has provide more information which is attached separately. It is not yet confirmed, but it is hoped that Brian’s funeral will be at St Paul Apostle, Endeavour Hills on Friday morning Sept 15th. He will be buried at Rookwood cemetery in Sydney. May he rest in peace.

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Sandy Greenberg found himself sharing a room at Columbia University, New York with Art Garfunkel and they became close friends. Sandy came from a poor family and had won a scholarship. While playing in a baseball game 1960, at age 20, Sandy suddenly lost clear vision. He had developed a cataract that damaged his optic nerves and by mid 1961 he was blind. He suffered depression, dropped out of school and returned home.
Art Garfunkel persuaded Greenberg to come back to Columbia, and offered to be his reader. Garfunkel wrote “the darkness will accompany you and I will be your light”. along with his girlfriend Sue (who became his wife) Art Garfunkel started to help him in every way he could. Two other friends Jerry Speyer, and Michael Mukasey also read textbooks to him, taking time out from their own studies, and Sandy scored straight A’s. However, he was still tentative about going out on his own.

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The Passionist family in Vietnam is growing rapidly. In Saigon last Saturday, Passionist sisters Xuan, Ngan and Mai made their first vows (for three years) as members of the Congregation of the Cross and Passion. You can see Sr Brigid (alongside Sr Rosie) who like Brigid, is from Ireland) in the front row below, and Sr Carmen Gloria CP from Chile next to Vy. They have guided the young Passionist women in Vietnam in recent years, and for Rosie to manage the totally different climate and culture over that time, is nothing short of heroic.

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If you want to get a sense of Pope Francis’ zeal for evangelization, for sharing the Good News that has obviously been the anchor and inspiration of his own life, you should watch him speak at two events (each Sunday at the noontime Angelus address and blessing, and each Wednesday at the 9 am general audience. Merely reading his reflections or catechesis, as good as they may be on paper, does not give the sense of his fervour. Most of the time he strays from the prepared text and speaks passionately from the heart.

The Vatican provides live and easy-to-access online coverage of the Sunday reflection/blessing and Wednesday audience. Many people are not aware of this or how to get access to the pope's speeches and the videos of his events. So here's the "how to":

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Brian is currently in Saigon, Vietnam. Yesterday afternoon they had the final profession of Phi, Peter, Vinh and TJ. We wait in anticipation for more news and see their photos. The photo below taken earlier this week, shows Brian, novices and Larry Fin, their Novice Master. At this point Phi was busy organising the profession with his brothers!

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Joseph Liaia
Joseph arrived on Sunday night and it was great for us to see his smiling face again. Joseph had started a course in spiritual leadership while in Port Moresby, but the internet there is very unreliable and it became impossible to continue. His visa application took much longer than expected , but we hope he can rejoining the programme which is conducted by ‘Heart of Life’.

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Shock – Maree Metcalfe
It was a deep and saddening shock to learn on Wednesday evening, that Maree Metcalfe (wife of Bernard and daughter of Berry Bick) collapsed and died that afternoon. Maree was so vibrant, and she, Bernard and I had been discussing plans to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in early February. (I was fortunate to be preside at their wedding back in 1974).

Maree and Bernard met through the Brothers Rugby team which was coached by Maree’s dad. Maree and Bernard spent many years as Directors of the Passionist Family Group Movement in Victoria and were dedicated to that ministry. When they retired, Maree put her energies into refugee work, among other things, and her care for her younger brother John while he suffered from premature dementia, was astounding. Her loss to Bernard will be huge, as it will be to so many of us. We give thanks for her love and Christian service and extend our condolences to Bernard. Maree’s funeral will be live-streamed from Holy Cross on Saturday July 29th at 10.30am.

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In last week’s newsletter I paid tribute to Tom McDonough who has just completed eleven years as Provincial. Tom completed Joachim Rego’s term as Provincial when Joachim was elected General, and then was elected in his own right, twice more, serving during the years of expansion in Vietnam and throughout COVID-19. This has been a huge and generous commitment.

Following our discussions throughout the week, which were focused on the areas we had identified as critical (Culture and Identity, Mission and Ministry, Community and Formation, Finance, Governance and Legislation) the Chapter turned its attention to the election of a new Provincial and Council.

Denis Travers who is well known to us at Holy Cross, was elected Provincial on the very first ballot. Denis previously served as Provincial from 1999-2007. He was elected to the General Council in October 2006 and served two six year terms before returning to the Province in 2018. He was elected to the Provincial Council in 2019. So Denis brings vast experience and many years of continued involvement in leadership and governance of the Congregation.

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Our ELSPM (English learning students) arrived early on Sunday July 2nd. Erick and JD met them at the airport. Despite the flight arriving on Saturday, there was a delay of almost 3 hours for their luggage to come through, so by the time they got home and had some much needed food, it was 3.30am when they went to bed.

Hai (32), Thang (28) and Cu’ong (27) are mature aged and each of them has each completed a university degree. Hai and Thang are from northern Vietnam and Cu’ong is from Dong Nai, one hundred kilometres from Saigon. They are all musical so we’ll look forward to hearing them sing (see the next item in the newsletter) and dance. They are most welcome at Holy Cross and we hope that they will soon feel at home. Our first meal together at lunch on Sunday showed they have some English and they are very keen to use it, but it will take them some time to get accustomed to our accent – and idiom. There will be amusing moments over the coming weeks!

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