Friday 25 September 2020
Last Thursday Bernie and Elaine Jowett celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Married on grand final day at St. Anthony’s Alphington. As a Parish Family we rejoice with them and give thanks for the gift of the vocation of marriage.
May their witness to the gift of married love inspire all whose lives they touch.
May the God of love bless you both.
Mary Immaculate Church Closes!
Fr Bill, Friday 11 September 2020
I hope that headline got your attention. In preparing for the renovation of the church and the construction of our new Parish Centre, Yarra Valley Water has decommissioned the sewer easement that crosses our property. Consequently the site cannot be occupied until the project is complete. We hope the project will go to tender early October with work commencing late November. Estimated completion is December 2021 but that will depend upon many things - not the least being the Covid-19 restrictions. While the site is closed the Parish Office will operate out of Mother of God Church where a temporary office has been established. Many thanks to Vince Marino who has painted out the office and Eugene Ballao who has assisted in moving office furniture. When we are able to resume Masses there will be a new schedule of Mass times at Mother of God and St. Bernadette’s which will remain in effect until our new Parish Centre at Mary Immaculate reopens. Photo: John Costa
Mental health in Australia: Bishops release 2020-21 social justice statement
Extract from Mellbourne Catholic, Catholic Archdioceseof Melbourne, 27 August 2020
‘Our society tends to push away or draw away from those who confront us with our frailties and limitations. This is not the way of Jesus,’ writes Bishop Terry Brady, the Bishop Delegate for Social Justice on the release of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2020-21, To Live Life to the Full: Mental health in Australia. It was released ahead of Social Justice Sunday, celebrated on 30 August. Given the challenges our country and world are facing due to COVID-19, the issue of mental health is very much front and centre for many people. ‘The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting many members of our parishes, schools and communities,’ Bishop Brady says. ‘Understanding mental health will help us to be aware of those who most need our support.’
Read full Statement HERE
One of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was that the Catholic Church in Australia conduct a review of diocesan and parish governance and management. The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia accepted that recommendation and the Implementation Advisory Group was tasked with conducting and presenting that review.
The Implementation Advisory Group established the Governance Review Project Team to lead the review. The GRPT presented a version of the report to the Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in May 2020. That version, which was not the final version, was leaked and published.
That version was subsequently amended, making a number of corrections and clarifications. The final version of the report, entitled The Light from the Southern Cross: Promoting Co-Responsible Governance in the Catholic Church in Australia, was presented to the Bishops Conference and Catholic Religious Australia in mid-August 2020. The report was published online on August 21, 2020, along with an accompanying Reading Guide.
Exciting Joint Venture With The Good Samaritan Inn
17 July 2020
It’s very easy to think that during the shutdown brought about by the Coronavirus pandemic nothing much is happening - but nothing could be further from the truth. Not only is our Parish Centre Redevelopment Project steaming ahead, with preparations being made for the tendering process and the temporary move from the Mary Immaculate site to Mother of God church while the site is being redeveloped, we have also been busy developing a partnership with the Good Samaritan Inn who currently provide emergency accommodation at their Sacred Heart Preston premises for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. The Good Samaritan Inn, in partnership with our Parish, will repurpose and redevelop the former St. Bernadette’s Convent into an accommodation facility for women and children who have experienced family violence and consequently have been made homeless. This proposal has been endorsed by our Parish Pastoral Council and the Archbishop and is now in the final approval stage. It is hoped that works will begin on the former convent before the end of the year so that this sadly growing need within our community can benefit from this new initiative of outreach and mission on behalf of the Parish and in partnership with the Good Samaritans.
Parish Office Shutdown
Friday 10 July 2020
Who would have thought that last Sunday's strictly limited attendances and physically distanced Masses (shown at MI Church) would be the last before reintroduction of Phase 3 restrictions for 6 weeks from Midnight on Wednesday 8 July. Because of the unexpected return to stage 3 Shutdown Restrictions our Parish Office has closed and our Parish Secretary, Ruth Villani, will immediately transition into retirement and begin her annual leave and long service leave. We thank Ruth for her 16 years of service to the Parish and for delaying her retirement to assist over the past week. Our new Office Administrator, Teana McIntosh, will not be able to commence work in the office until restrictions are lifted but will gradually transition to working from home once I can arrange her connection to our Parish on Line network. In the meantime all phone calls to the office will be automatically forwarded to Fr. Bill’s mobile phone.
Friday 10 July 2020
Congratulations to Vince Marino and Eugene Ballao who have been honoured by Bundoora Rotary Club with the Paul Harris Fellowship Award for their extraordinary community work over the past four years.
Do You Need Assistance During The Shutdown?
Friday 10 July 2020
If you need support during the shutdown, for example, shopping, transport to doctors, a regular phone call, a meal, pastoral care etc., please contact Fr. Bill 0427 879 733. Don’t be bashful - we have people ready to help and support you.
Parish Redevelopment Project – Mary Immaculate Site Early Works
Pat Kelly. 1 July 2020
Advice has been received from the managing architects that the sewer through Mary Immaculate site is to be decommissioned as soon as is practical. Yarra Valley Water has agreed to the removal and the design has commenced. YVW conditions state that the site cannot be occupied once the works commence. We have requested that works be delayed until the redevelopment contract is in place. However, YVW sets its own timings. As soon as the date for the sewer removal is known we will advise all parishioners. The Mary Immaculate site will be closed from that date until completion of the Redevelopment Project. While Sunday and weekday Masses will be at Mother of God Church, Mass times may have to be rescheduled to comply with Covid-19
Amazon churches create transnational body to implement synod proposals
Extracts from Gerard O’Connell, Anerica, The Jesuit Review, 30 June 2020
The first significant implementation of last October’s Synod on the Amazon took place on June 29, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, with the founding of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon, a new transnational church structure that is intended to implement many of the synod’s proposals. The decision to create the conference was made in a virtual assembly held on June 26 and June 29 by the Assembly for the Project of Constitution of the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon. Cardinal Michael Czerny, S.J., who participated in the virtual assembly, described the decision as “historic” in a telephone interview with America. He recalled that Pope Francis, in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, “Beloved Amazonia” (“Querida Amazonia”), had called on the synod’s participants to start implementing its proposals. He said they have begun to do so less than eight months later by creating this new transnational church structure covering the nine countries of the region: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam, Venezuela and the territory of French Guiana. Cardinal Czerny highlighted the fact that “the energy and the effort for this came from the region itself.” The Ecclesial Conference of the Amazo n aims to be “an effective channel for taking up, from within the territory, many of the proposals that emerged” at the Pan-Amazonian synod............The assembly announced the creation of the new conference in a statement issued on June 29 and signed by Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos, O.F.M., president of the Latin American Episcopal Council, known by its Spanish acronym, CELAM; and Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, O.F.M., president of REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network: “In these difficult and exceptional times for humanity, when the coronavirus pandemic is strongly impacting the Pan-Amazon region and the realities of violence, exclusion and death affecting the biome and its inhabitants clamor for an urgent and imminent integral conversion, the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon seeks to be good news and a timely response to the cries of the poor and of our sister Mother Earth.” According to the assembly’s statement, the E.C.A. aims to be “an effective channel for taking up, from within the territory, many of the proposals that emerged” at the Pan-Amazonian synod and to serve “as a nexus for encouraging other church and socio-environmental networks and initiatives at the continental and international levels.”.....(more) Photo:Kukama boys Amazon's Maranon River Peru's Loreto region CNS photo Barbara Fraser America Jes Rev 20200630
Thanks for your generosity
Friday, 26 June 2020
Parishioners and families from our two schools have responded with great generosity to last week’s plea for groceries so that Vinnies could continue their care for those in our community most in need. Di Dixon and Michael Rocco are pictured surrounded by what they could fit on the tables - there’s more stacked around the St. Bernadette’s Community Centre. As well as groceries cash and supermarket vouchers have been donated. For those wishing to help we still need tea, coffee, sugar, dishwashing detergent and hand liquid soap – donations can be left in the boxes at the MOG Presbytery, the Parish Office, or brought to church if you are coming to Mass.
Friday 26 June 2020
After 16 years of service our Parish Secretary, Ruth Villani, retires on Friday. There will be a tribute to Ruth after she completes her long service leave in November. Our new Parish Secretary, Teana McIntosh, joins us on 1st July. Please make her welcome and keep Ruth and Teana in your prayers as they both make this transition.
The new dates mean that the celebration of the Plenary Council has effectively moved 12 months from the original plan of a first assembly in October 2020 and a second assembly in June/July 2021.
Plenary Council president Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said the confirmation of the specific dates will help in the formulation of a revised program of preparation for Council delegates, who were announced in March, and for the whole Catholic community. Archbishop Costelloe said the bishops’ preference to hold the second assembly in April 2022, announced last month, had to be revisited. “The confluence of a number of events in April 2022, including the New South Wales school holidays, Easter in the Latin Rite and Easter in the Eastern Rite, meant that the plan to hold the second assembly then was unworkable,” he said. “The one-year change to our initial timeline affords each of us the opportunity for a more extended period of individual and collective discernment leading into the first assembly than we would otherwise have had.” Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins said that this time will be utilised for all people to re-engage with the journey of discernment toward the Council assemblies after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. “A renewed engagement will take place in a societal context that’s been altered by the pandemic,” she said. “The recently-published discernment papers were finalised in the midst of the pandemic. They are a key step in the process of discernment and preparation for all of us. The time and space between now and the first assembly, now in October 2021, enables deeper reflection, dialogue and consideration of how we’ve all been affected by recent global events.” Archbishop Costelloe said prayer, dialogue and discernment have been foundational pillars of the Plenary Council journey and will continue to be so. “I encourage everyone to read the discernment papers and to take some time in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to continue to guide our path toward the assemblies and beyond,” he said...Source
Fred Tosolini RIP
Fr Bill, pm 12 June 2020
On Friday we celebrated the Funeral Mass of our beloved brother in Christ, Fred Tosolini, who died suddenly on Friday 5th June after suffering a sudden heart attack.
Fred was the first person to book in for the first Mass at Mary Immaculate after the shutdown and he read the scriptures for us at Mass. He was in great spirits and so thankful to be back at Mass. The last words of scripture Fred read for us at what was to be his last Mass and Communion were from the Gospel Acclamation: “I am the resurrection and the life, says the Lord; whoever believes in me will not die for ever.” We can but respond alleluia to that promise and an alleluia to a Christian life well lived. May Fred share in that promise - the destiny of all who believe.
Please remember Fred in your prayers and pray too for his family during this time of great sadness and grief.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord: And let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Parish Redevelopment: Project Milestone
Fr. Bill, 12 June 2020
I am pleased to report that at their June 2020 meeting, the Archdiocesan Building and Property Committee approved the Mary Mother of the Church Parish Redevelopment Project. The approval formally moves the project into the final design, tendering and contract stages. The managing architects have been instructed to proceed with the works and provide an overall project schedule. Bridging finance during construction is being progressed with the Catholic Development Fund. Separately, Yarra Valley Water have advised that the planned relocation of the sewer is not required and the sewer branch can be abandoned, saving us some costs. The approval is a significant milestone for the Parish leading to renewal of our assets and consolidation of our community.
Report on Parish Redevelopment Project
Pat Kelly, Friday 29 May 2020
The Parish Redevelopment Project has achieved a significant milestone in May 2020. The formal application for project approval has been completed and submitted to the Archdiocesan Building and Property Committee. The submission will be considered at the June meeting with the outcome expected by the 12th of the month. The submission includes the design drawings, the estimated project cost, the planning notice and the agreement between the Archdiocese and the architects. The Archdiocese’s representative is aware of the details of our project and supportive of our application. Approval by the Archdiocesan Building and Property Committee moves the project into the tendering and contract phase. The estimated cost of the project will remain confidential until a contract is awarded. The plans will be on display when our churches reopen for Mass on the 2nd of June. The first proposed construction on the site is the relocation of a sewer in the area of our redevelopment. The contractor should be on site within the next few weeks. However, the time for the works will be determined by Yarra Valley Water. In the overall plan the works are minor but significant as the first construction supporting our redevelopment.
Changes to Restrictions on Churches
Fr Bill, Friday 15 May 2020
As of midnight last Tuesday the government lifted some restrictions on access to our churches. It is still very uncertain how these changes could be implemented in any meaningful way and the best way forward may be to wait until the next stage of lifting restrictions before we contemplate any change.
The main change to the regulations is that we can now celebrate Mass and open our churches for prayer – but no more than 10 people can be present, ushers must guard the doors to ensure that number is not exceeded and there are a set of requirements around recording personal details of everyone present, sanitising the church after every use, etc.
I am not suggesting that these rules are not still necessary and I firmly believe that the protection of life and the wellbeing of the most vulnerable must be our priority. My concern is that the regulations will not work pastorally, liturgically or practically and it is preferable to wait until a further relaxing of restrictions allow us to return to something closer to normality.
Planning to celebrate Masses with only 10 people will inevitably segregate people’s access to the sacraments unfairly and further undermine the liturgical role of the participating assembly.
Among the suggestions offered for implementing this first phase are: limiting access to the Mass via either a first-come, first-served system, a rotational or roster system, or asking people to book online and the first 10 to book get to attend.
How do you tell a parish that only 10 people can come to a Mass? Practically and pastorally, it seems untenable. The church is not like a supermarket, where you can let in 10 people and as they leave let in 10 more. The regulations also require a 60-minute gap before the next 10 can enter so that those coming and going don’t meet at the doorway and so that the church can be cleaned in between Masses - and God help the poor ushers who have to bar entry to the church building after 10 people have entered for Mass!
I have no magic answer to this dilemma. I will discuss it with the Parish Pastoral Council when we meet later this week. If anyone wants to offer comment or suggestions please email me at [email protected]
Archbishop Coleridge re-elected president of Bishops Conference
Extract from Catholic Outlook, 8 May 2020
The Catholic bishops of Australia have today elected Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane to a second two-year term as president of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. Archbishop Coleridge was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne in 2002 and later became Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn. Since 2012, he has served as Archbishop of Brisbane. He was elected president of the Conference at its plenary meeting in May 2018 after previously serving as its vice-president for two years. Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP was re-elected Conference vice-president, a role he also took on in May 2018. “Archbishop Fisher and I have worked very closely over the past two years and I’m grateful that the bishops have backed our ongoing partnership,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “As a Conference, we have faced a number of big challenges over the past two years, including preparing for the Plenary Council and considering how the People of God in Australia can walk together into the future, especially now in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. “The Church’s implementation of policies and protocols that prioritise child safety and offer a just and compassionate response to victims and survivors of abuse has also been a crucial focus. “Much has been done and the bishops will consider further steps during our plenary meeting over the next few days.” Archbishop Fisher also cited the benefit of continuity at a pivotal time in the Church’s history, saying “when we have medium- and long-term initiatives to carry out, it’s good to have settled leaders supported by a group of bishops with shared aspirations”. Four members of the Permanent Committee of the Bishops Conference were also elected today: Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB; Toowoomba Bishop Robert McGuckin; Adelaide Archbishop-Designate Patrick O’Regan; and Maronite Bishop of Australia Antoine-Charbel Tarabay. Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli of Melbourne and Port Pirie Bishop Greg O’Kelly SJ, elected in May 2019, are continuing members of the Permanent Committee. The almost 40 members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference today opened their biannual plenary meeting using videoconferencing technology....(more). Photo: ABp Mark Coleridge President ACBC Catholic Outlook 20200508 ACBC
We have no idea how long the COVID-19 situation will remain or
for how long our churches will be closed. So that we can both
assess and review what we have provided so far, and what
arrangements we might make for the weeks ahead, you are urged
again to complete the short survey that has been designed to
assist us in reviewing and developing how we pray and gather
together in very different ways. Helpful Survey responses are
starting to come in, and while the COVID-19 circumstances have
been forced upon everyone, there have been some encouraging signs
about adapting, with some perhaps surprising positive personal
experiences. While we routinely seek feedback after annual Easter
Liturgies, this year in particular we urge everyone to share their
experiences, good or otherwise, via the survey - either privately or for sharing - so that the Parish community working together can continue to do our utmost under the circumstances to support
each other, as the Risen Christ calls us all to do - together.
To complete the quick survey please click HERE