Welcome to June! We are halfway through 2023, Christmas is in 6 months! If I’m getting that wrong it has to do with my poor mathematical skills. Brian Traynor will be returning soon but do not hold your breath just yet -we all miss him, it’s not just you! Soon after he arrives, he will have to go away from Holy Cross again for about 10 days, for meetings and other ministries. He has provided a lot of materials for this newsletter for which I am hugely grateful but would not like to take credit. Any thankyous send to Brian as he puts a lot of work into this. I admire such exceptional work.

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This weekend we celebrate Pentecost Sunday which is usually referred to as the birthday of the Church. With this in mind, happy birthday to us all. Another great excuse to celebrate.

I appreciate the response from an anonymous person who kindly wrote back last week after my apology for committing the mortal sin! Although this was obviously done in an attempt to brighten our spirits with a bit of humour, the person’s reply was to say 9 Hail Marys. After I did that, I felt much better, thank you. As you know, there was once a time when confessions were exercised publicly in our Church history, so this disclosure is not new to our mature Church. But today Conon Law would have me excommunicated today if this was done in a serious manner. Enough about that, let us look at some of this week’s happenings.

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Br Jerome Dunn and the birds make it to front page

While Chris Monaghan was away teaching in Ballarat, Jerome got up on a beautiful morning of Friday to feed the birds that Chris normally feeds each morning. They had been waiting for Chris and wondered where he was. As soon as Jerome or anyone came closer, they flew closer wanting to have their daily bread. They were rather pleased that Jerome came with bread and fed them to the brim! As Jesus said “Look at the birds of the air… your Heavenly Father feeds them…(Matt 6:26)”, - it is pleasing to see that Chris and Jerome participate in the Heavenly Father’s role on earth. Jerome noticed that the stingy birds weren’t around which allowed most of the birds to feel more safe while eating. I am not sure what The Heavenly Father thinks of the stingy birds but I know that sometimes we people can be like birds.

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Welcome to Holy Cross Newsletter

This week and for the following weeks until June, we will miss Brian Traynor as he is currently away. This means that we will also miss his regular efforts to find humour content to keep us smiling as well as the regular meaningful communications.

With me, learning on the job, you might be able to go through the newsletter in 2min and 17 seconds, or 5 more seconds if you are distracted.
Fortunately to help us not regret the fact that the newsletter is too short, Brian kindly left some meaningful information to share on PFGM as well as some humour. I might add something to it but will not disclose who is the editor of what – leaving this to your great minds to work it out. Enjoy your reading, remember to time it and let your neighbour know how you went! Complaints to me are welcome, I promise to read them during my Christmas holidays ☺ With all seriousness, I would appreciate constructive feedback as long as it is not only behind my back.

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We had a most enjoyable lunch on Tuesday to acknowledge the 90th birthday of three generous and talented men who have been members of our Friday ‘A Team’ Joining with their spouses, other past and present ‘A Team’ members. Denis Travers founded the team which originally consisted of Gerald Wright (Denis’ uncle) and his friend Vin Molloy. They were joined soon after by Stan Wells. Noel Spinks (who was present on Tuesday) joined as did John Chubb, John Stretch, Graham Newcombe, Ed Porad and Frank Van den Boom.

Gerald is now 95 five. Jack Brolly (March), Vin Molly (April) and Neville Hackett (May 14th) have reached to 90 mark. We extend sincere Congratulations and best wishes!
In acknowledging these three men, we also wanted to thank all our ‘A’ Team members (past and present) for their wonderful assistance to us: Stan, Noel, John Chubb, John Stretch, Graham, Ed and Frank.

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On Sunday May 6th, the PFGM celebrates 50 years since Passionist Family Groups began in St Anthony of the Field’s parish, Terrey Hills. The Movement became one of the most significant ministries in which professed and lay Passionists shared significant leadership roles. The first ‘Family Groups’ were such a convincing model of community that despite being a small parish, 26 groups formed in Terrey Hills parish.

Groups included people of different ages, cultires and very often a spouse of different faith, who all found a very practical way of living the gospel – not through discussion but through practical care and support of one another. Interestingly, many people in the groups became involved in parish Committees or groups and wanted more understanding of the new level of faith they were living.

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Nguyen Bao Toan
Toan lived with us at Holy Cross since September last year until two weeks ago while engaged in English language studies at ELSPM. Through a process of discernment he acknowledged that while he loved Passionist life, this was not his future. He returned home to his family who live just over an hour from Saigon. Sadly on Tuesday, around 9.30pm, his parents last saw him on his laptop computer and then discovered Toan had lay down on his bed where he died.

Toan demonstrated to us great generosity and care for others and a genuine willingness to help at all times. Various visitors commented on his bright nature and generosity. In particular he was magnificent in his care of his brothers when they had COVID. He was particularly attentive to prayer and his spiritual life. He would have been 27 on April 26th, so it is a sad premature end to his life which he so conscientiously wanted to devote to God. The entire community, but especially his Vietnamese brothers at Holy Cross have been deeply affected by his sudden death.
Fr Dien in Vietnam has been supporting Toan’s family. His body was brought home from the hospital to be in his parent’s home. Dien is ensuring that Toan has a proper ‘Passionist’ burial, beginning with a blessing of the body and coffin on Wednesday afternoon. May he rest in peace.

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Pre-Chapter meetings
Every four years, our Province holds a Provincial Chapter to review the previous four years and plan for the coming four years. A new Provincial and Council are elected for the next term. This year our Chapter will be held in Sydney from July 10th-14th. In preparation for the Chapter, Regional Assemblies have been held to allow discussion around areas of interest or concern. This year those Assemblies were held in Sydney, Melbourne and Saigon. From the discussions that took place, a number of questions have been formulated for the next stage of consultation and discussion. That discussion is taking place this week via Zoom.

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Toan, one of our three postulants, returned home to Vietnam on Tuesday. He has been with the Passionists for several years, and lived at Holy Cross for seven months. It is never an easy decision to leave and it will be a big adjustment for him back in Vietnam. Toan featured in the Passion play last Sunday, as a Roman soldier.

You may remember that DJ returned home to visit his Dad who had suffered a stroke. His Dad is recovering well, and DJ is planning to return on April 12th. Our third postulant (Thang) was one of the feared Roman soldiers you can see on Page 3.

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During his general audience in St Peter’s Square on March 14th, Pope Francis explained that apostleship as understood by the Second Vatican Council produces an equality – rooted in service – among laypeople, consecrated religious, priests and bishops. “Who has more dignity in the Church? The bishop? The priest? No, we are all Christians at the service of others,” he said. “We are all the same, and when one part (of the Church) thinks it is more important than the others and turns its nose up (at them), they are mistaken.”
Vatican II, the Pope said, did not focus on the laity’s relationship with the Church’s hierarchy as a “strategic” move to adapt to the times, but as “something more that transcends the events of that time and retains its value for us today”. The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity states that collaboration between the hierarchy and the laity is essential for the Church to fully live out its mission.

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