March 9, 2019

We are inviting new children from year 4 and up who have made their First Communion to join as altar servers. This is a wonderful learning experience for our young members to learn about their faith and take on responsibility. Training will take place in the church on ...

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November 9, 2019

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Do Not Reduce God

We celebrate the Solemnity of the Holy Trinity once a year on the following Sunday after the ‘Pentecost’. Even though I have been preaching about the “Trinity” so many times, I still find myself struggling to ‘understand’ and ‘explain’ this ‘mystery”. I find myself not good enough to comprehensively understand and explain God in three persons: Father, Son and The Holy Spirit. This time of writing this reflection, I still find myself in the same situation. It’s awkward. While thinking and reflecting what I am going to write, I came across a story that would relate to my situation and probably some others as well. This is the story: “There was a young boy who goes and climbs up a mountain in India and he meets a guru. And he wakes the guru up because the guru is half asleep. And the guru says, “What can I do for you, young man?” And he says, “I want you to explain God for me.” And the guru smiles and he says, “A God that can be explained is not a God that you should worship.” And he smiled and went back to sleep. Trying to understand and explain the essence of the Trinity is an impossible effort. It is not just because of the limitation of human knowledge, but also it is an attempt to ‘reduce’ God into human understanding. I used to admire people who claimed to know everything about God. However later I came to doubt their claim. I think they just want to make themselves feel better with the claim. In one of my reflections published on our parish Facebook titled “The Unknown”, I said that the disciples who were sent by Jesus to do their mission, were actually sent to the unknown. When a couple gets married, they are jumping to the unknown because they realize that they do not know and will never know each other completely. When I was ordained as missionary priest, I was also sent to the unknown. Till the end of our lives, we are living in the unknown. It doesn’t mean that we know nothing. We know something but our knowledge is not and will never be complete. I know the people in the parish, but my knowledge is limited. You know your partner (husband and wife) but your knowledge is still limited. However, one thing you may know is that you are loved by your partner or by your children or by your parents. Openness and revelation from both sides are required for better understanding. God, the Holy Trinity is continuously revealing himself to us in various ways. It is our turn also to be open to the revelation of God. We may not understand everything, but one thing we may be sure of is that his revelation gives us peace and hope because he loves us. Have a blessed Sunday. To read full bulletin, click here

Fruits of the Spirit

Staying home during this pandemic can be very stressful. And the government and the church have been paying close attention to the effects of this. It can lead towards decreasing of mental health and even mental disorder which could damage an individuals and relationships. Domestic violence can be one of the damages. In Australia we are fortunate to have some professional institutions that have been offering help for those who are experiencing some kind of depression caused by loneliness from staying at home too long. Is there any positive effects of staying home so long? I suppose there will be a good number of people who would say “yes” from their own experience. It is indeed challenging but there are some positive outcomes for an individual as well as for society. As a religious priest, I speak from my personal experience of living not “alone” but in “solitude”. After being triggered by some people in the parish to write something which could be published on the Parish Facebook page, I found myself sitting down and allowing the “Spirit” to work in me. It is not easy to sit down “dull” with no inspiration at all for sometime. And I came to reflect on the working of the Spirit. I questioned myself: “How do I know that the Spirit is working in me? Or How do I know that I have done God’s will?” These questions actually have been thrown to me hundreds of times by so many people. While asking myself these questions, I came to read a book titled ‘Yielding to Love’ written by Fr Michael Fallon MSC. He said that if what we do is truly God’s will, then we can see it by its fruits. And the fruits are to be seen in the virtues mentioned by Paul in his Letter to the Galatians, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23). As we celebrate the Solemnity of Pentecost this weekend, let us be aware of those fruits of the spirit within us. Fr Michael said: “If it is truly God’s will that we are doing, we find ourselves growing in those virtues. If, by contrast, we find ourselves becoming less loving, we should have another look…… I am not saying that doing God’s will is always easy. That is not the case. However, if we are doing God’s will, even when this involves the cross, sustains us below the pain and difficulties”. Have a blessed Sunday. Check out the Parish Bulletin

Sunday 3 May 2020 - Reflection

Jesus and Joseph (Good Shepherds) Today’s Gospel speaks about Jesus as a Good Shepherd. And we know the qualities of a good shepherd. There are different ways to look at the qualities of a good shepherd. I can recall some of them as I look closely at the scripture, like he is good, he protects, guides, nurtures and lays down his life for his. We are called to become good shepherds like Jesus with the qualities above. The question is ‘how can we become good shepherds like Jesus with our own limitations, weaknesses and even sins?’ I am writing this reflection on Friday the first day of May when we celebrate the optional memorial of St Joseph the Worker. We may contemplate on Jesus the ideal and perfect good shepherd. However, we probably can take a look for moment at St Joseph who was with his limitations, weakness and even sin, tried his best to become a ‘good shepherd’ for his own family of Jesus and Mary. Pope Francis mentioned about two good qualities of Joseph a ‘shepherd’ for the holy family.
The first is Silent, Obedient. The Pope said: “He is the man who doesn’t speak but obeys, the man of tenderness, the man capable of carrying forward the promises so that they might become solid, certain; the man who guarantees the stability of the Kingdom of God, the paternity of God, our sonship as chil-dren of God. I like to think of Joseph as the guardian of weaknesses, of our weaknesses too: he is able to give birth to so many beautiful things from our weaknesses, even from our sins.”
The second is ‘his ability to dream’. The Pope said: “Today I want to ask, grant to all of us the ability to dream, that when we dream great things, beautiful things, we might draw near to the dream of God, the things God dreams about us. [I ask] that he might give to young people – because he was young – the capacity to dream, to risk, to undertake the difficult tasks they have seen in dreams”. We are all in a very difficult time. If the coronavirus is caused by human failures/sins, then we need to reflect on how we treat other beings including the environment. If our action in the past has caused this human tragedy, then this is the time to commit ourselves to care for nature. Jesus is a Good Shepherd who comes to save the world. St Joseph is called to be a good shepherd for the holy family. We are all also called to be good shepherds to care, recreate and nurture our world that it will become a better place to live. This is certainly a big dream. Keep dreaming for it like Joseph, while doing simple things to show that we care for our world.
Have a blessed Sunday. Father Alo Lamere MSC See this week bulletin

Father Alo writes ...

Bread of Life
John 6:44-51 When Jesus said that he is the “bread of life”, some of his hearers were confused. Even some thought that he was dreaming or possessed by the evil spirit. We are now having better understanding of this phrase “bread of life” which is Jesus’ own life, the totality of his being given to the world and symbolized in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. So, it is good news for us because he is a special gift from God for us, but at the same time he is asking us to be the ‘bread of life’ for others. He said: “As the Father sent me, now I am sending you” (John 20:21); or at the last supper he said: “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19). When I was in Fiji, I used to walk to the nearby villages and chatted with the people who cultivated the land to plant cassava, taro and some other crops. There was a man in his fifties who kept singing while clearing his cassava plantation. I would know which part of plantation he was in because of his habit of singing while working. The words I recalled were: “dou cakava oqo mo dou vakananumi Au kina”. When I asked the meaning of that words, he said: “Do this as a remembrance of me”. I was laughing and saying: “This is not mass”. He said: “I keep saying this for years while I am working, not for remembrance of God, but for remembrance of my family and my dream”. I was speechless. Every single drop of his sweat is reminding him of his family at home and his dream. You have family, passion and dreams. You have probably been working hard for your family, passion and dreams. Every single energy, time, effort, sweat and even tears, that you put in your work is a remembrance of your family, passion and dream (and hopefully God). Keep saying it in your heart while you do your work and it will energise, brighten, illuminate and motivate you. In this way you have taken part of Jesus’ mission to be a “little bread of life”. Have a blessed day.
Alo Lamere MSC

Father Alo writes...

Happiness in Life A friend of mine Lolita is a beautiful woman who is also quite wealthy. She is a surgeon. Her husband is one of the directors of a huge company. In January during my holiday, I had a chance to meet with her. She took me to see few properties that belong to the family. They worth more than ten million US dollars. She took me also to an expensive restaurant for lunch. After dropping me back to the presbytery where I stayed, she asked me to have a private talk. She began by saying: “I am not happy”. Then she continued: “I couldn’t sleep, I suffer anxiety and everything is meaningless for me”. I tried to help her by listening to her and gave some simple advices. Then She went home. Lolita’s life is totally different to Kartila’s life. Kartila is the cook for the priests in the presbytery where I stayed. I met her the next day. She came up with her story: “You know Father, my husband died of heart attack. Few months later, my only son was killed in a road accident. I had nobody, I had nothing left. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat, I never smiled at anyone. I even thought of taking my own life. However, one day, when I came to the presbytery, I saw the priest’s dog here was hungry and very skinny. This dog used to be looked after by Bamabng, the house cleaner. But I don’t think he still looks after her. Without asking Bamabng about the dog, I decided to look after the dog since that day. I could see the dog was happy and came back to life. It makes me happy. I was thinking, if I could do this that makes me happy, I can do things for others that will make me happy too. Then I decided to bake some cakes for an old lady next door who has been sick for a long time. I brought the cakes to her home and she was happiest person I have ever seen. These two experiences of ‘giving’, made me a happy person ever since. I could sleep well and smile again to everyone I meet”.
These two different stories remind me of one paragraph of an article I read before:
“The beauty of life doesn’t depend on how happy you are,
but on how happy others can be because of you.
Happiness is not a destination; it is a journey.
Happiness is not tomorrow; it is now.
Happiness is not a dependency; it is a decision.
Happiness is who you are; and not what you have”
Have a blessed day.
Alo Lamere MSC

Father Alo writes ...

BE A GOOD HOST (Luke 24:13-35) We are all familiar with the story of the two disciples of Jesus on their way to Emmaus, who are frustrated with the fact that their master Jesus was crucified. My past reflections and homilies on this story, were always focused on how Jesus was trying to make them aware of his presence, and yet they were so slow to understand those signs and his words. In my reflection this weekend, the focus is still on Jesus, but I would like to explore some good attitudes of the disciples. I would like to begin by imagining the feelings they carried along with them on their journey. Probably they were sad, disappointed, hopeless, helpless, no future, wasting time to be with Jesus for few years, etc. In the midst of their frustration they still showed good things. First, they would like to go in pairs, so that they can help one another in that very difficult situation. Secondly, they were able to express their desire and disappointment with a “stranger Jesus” and thirdly, they showed their hospitality and generosity by inviting Jesus to stay with them. In short, we could say that even though they were so distressed, they still could show their very best to others. We are also in a difficult situation caused by the corona virus pandemic. We can be very frustrated, but we should keep convincing ourselves that we are good people. In the middle of distress, maybe we need to find someone to talk to and be open up to as much as we can. That will help us to understand our own frustration; and BE A GOOD HOST for Jesus. In times when you are at home, invite him to listen to you, and even during meal time, invite him to have meal with you. He will certainly bring you joy, enthusiasm and hope for a better future. Have a blessed Sunday. See this week Bulletin (Sunday, 26 April 2020)

Fr Alo writes ...

Updates on Our Parish Community Dear Parishioners, We are living through extraordinary times. Most of us have never experienced the suspension of public Masses or parish gatherings. I know that many of us might feel sad, lonely, hopeless, helpless, and even (hopefully not) a bit depressed.
We need to be strong and not lose heart to face this for many weeks and months to come, not just individually but also as a family and the whole parish community, even larger society. Probably this is a great opportunity to strengthen our union with God in prayer and with one another by caring for others in our own ways.
At the parish level, I would like to update you with few things that we have done, are doing and will continue to do. • Maria Caetano, the secretary still comes to work at the office as usual, since we need to keep the parish alive. I never imagined that the amount of work that Maria is doing is never decreased.
• The Liturgy committee headed by Lena Hermawan has been very committed in helping me to prepare and celebrate Masses and even live-streaming those Masses to the community.
• Some of our volunteers also still offer their time to help the community in some ways. Sarina Capo and Jan Nicholas take the hard copy of the bulletin and deliver them to some elderly parishioners. John Allen and some others also keep the church and its surroundings clean and tidy from time to time. I also have some people delivering food for myself and Fr Quy.
• The Building and Maintenance Committee in collaboration with Patrick Myles are trying their best to give information to the Insurance Company in relation to the repair of the church roof. • A donor (parishioner) that wishes to remain anonymous has donated funds to buy and install a new sound system in the church. We are grateful to this person’s generosity. Installation has been completed and ready to be used.
• We keep in touch with our parish community through the Parish webpage, Facebook, email and phone calls.
• This is a very challenging time for each one of us, physically, socially, financially, mentally and spiritually. Many of us probably struggle financially which would affect our parish as well. The office of “Parish Support” of the Archdiocese of Sydney will do some assessment of our parish to find out whether we are eligible to receive some financial assistance from the Federal Government. It depends on changes to our regular income.
• I really appreciate whatever financial support parishioners have donated and can continue to provide to help keep the parish going. I found that we are a very generous community. Every day when I celebrate the Eucharist I gratefully pray for you and your families. I also remember those who are isolated and alone and all those affected by the Covid19 virus throughout the world. God bless you all. Read the full bulettin here

Father Alo writes ...

“Easter in the Midst of Corona Pandemic” Corona pandemic has changed the world. Personally, I can say that it has changed the way I feel, think and relate on a personal level as well as my ministry. I and probably some of you have experienced that we are “trapped” staying at home. Our movement is limited. Are we really trapped? Physically maybe yes, and it could cause our mental and spiritual wellbeing. I personally don’t feel too much of being “trapped”. The following are some points that I have learnt from this “abnormal situation”. 1. I’ve come to be aware that I am not the boss of my own life. I am not in control of my own life. I’ve come to realize that I have some limitations. I need others and OTHERS to journey with me. 2. The limitation brought me to admire people’s presence, abilities, expertise and talents. When I say “live-streaming” Mass, I need people to help me to set it up and broadcast it. My homilies online were not just appreciated by people but people are not reluctant to correct and give me feedback, that helps me to improve my understanding of the things I say. I have received many phones calls of parishioners asking “how I am” as well as offering their support. I’ve come to be more appreciative of others’ presence. 3. I feel closer and more united to the parishioners with regular communication such phone calls, Facebook, emails and WhatsApp groups. 4. I spend more time in prayer and reading. I visit the Blessed Sacrament for thirty minutes to an hour a day in the afternoon or evening, just to sit there and enjoy God’s presence while thinking about you all. 5. Finally, there is a desire to meet all of you personally. Let us celebrate the resurrection of Christ and our own resurrection in a new way and understanding. Personally I would like to summarise what I said above by saying that the RESURRECTION is not only about celebrating the Lord’s passion and resurrection, but also it is a celebration of my own limitations, trusting that others (you all) and God are blessings for me. In a way I feel I am being united with you, and in prayer I can feel God’s presence and your presence. This pandemic has helped me to come to a new understanding of the resurrection. I hope you also have a meaningful Eater Celebration at home. Happy Easter. I love you all. See bulletin for Easter Sunday, 12 April 2020

Connected by faith - Join together to celebrate Easter Sunday

Father Alo writes ...

'BEING AT HOME' Instruction to “Stay Home” by the government has great impact on people’s lives; socially, economically, physically, psychologically and spiritually. For those who for various circumstances are always out of their homes, this is a very challenging time. For some probably this a great opportunity to slow down and spend time with the loved ones. Some of the parishioners wonder what I am doing during this time to occupy my time at home. Apart from saying daily masses, I work at my office as usual to attend to different things such as reading guidelines from the Archdiocese for Liturgy of the Holy Week, completing enrolment forms for our children, supervising people who are installing the new sound system in the church, phoning some parishioners (I have a list in front of me. However, I haven’t had any chance to call everyone), shopping, cooking, doing my laundry and reading.  
At the moment I am in the middle of reading a novel titled: “Not Without My Daughter”. I suppose some of you might have read this novel as well as watched its movie version. It is based on a true story. I would like to give you the short summary of this book:
“Betty Mahmoody (an American woman) and her husband Dr Sayyed Bozorg Mahmoody (and Iranian who did his medicine studies in USA). After living sometimes in USA, the couple and their four year old daughter Mahtob, went for two weeks holiday in Iran to spend sometime to know Moody’s family. He swore that they would be safe. They would be happy. They would be free to leave. He lied. Betty soon becomes disparate to return to the States. But Moody and his often vicious family, had other plans. He didn’t allow them to go back to USA. Mother and daughter became prisoners of an alien culture, hostages of an increasingly tyrannical and violent man. After long and several attempts, they finally escaped…..”  
The living conditions of Betty and her daughter Mahtob were miserable even worse than a prison. Staying too long at home we can feel board sometimes and that can cause anxieties.  However, our homes are indeed not a prison. It is a place “to be”. It is a place where we live, love and being loved, nurture and being nurtured, challenge and being challenged, etc. Your home may feel like it’s not the best place to live, however wherever you go, you probably miss being home soon. In the middle of uncertainties and maybe anxieties, some people miss going to Mass at the parish. They miss the community and communion. I can feel that people miss “their other home”, the Eucharist. Live streaming Mass can be a solution for us in this very difficult time, but some people shared with me that attending online Mass is not the same as us physically coming to attend Mass. Desiring of the Eucharist and each others presence indicates that we are all “at home” with each other, especially Jesus, whose suffering and death we are celebrating this week.
Even though this week we will not be able to attend the celebration of the “Passion of Christ” on Palm Sunday he assures us that he is “at home with us”. As he entered into the city of Jerusalem and was welcomed by the people of Jerusalem, he would like us also to welcome him to our homes and our hearts and journey together with him along the way of his suffering and our suffering world. Lift up your “palms of enthusiasm, hope, faith and love” to welcome him into your home. Enjoy his presence at your home. He said: “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). Let us “be at home and be happy”.

Prayer Resources during Corona virus pandemic

The following prayers and resources are offered to assist the faithful during the threat of the coronavirus: LECTIO DIVINA - Thursday 4th Week of Lent 26 March 2020 What is Lectio divina ? It is the meditative reading of a text of God’s Word, the Scriptures, alone or with others, which leads to prayer, the transformation of life, and, through that transformed life, the sharing with others of the mystery of God entrusted to us. How to make an Act of Spiritual Communion How can I spend an hour with Jesus in adoration ?

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