Christmas is a time to say Thank You! During 2019, our Parish celebrated many important, graced moments, thanks to the many ministries, activities and programs that support the community, families and individuals in their Faith journey – our Sacramental Program that touches the lives of so many adults, children and families; various faith formation activities, including Alpha, RCIA, Children’s Liturgy, the Catechist Ministry; outreach to those in need through Vinnies and the GIFT program; our Parish Schools of St Kieran and St Cecilia, ably led by Michael Gallagher and Fran Taylor, our dedicated school staff, and families; our local Catholic secondary schools; a range of other community-building initiatives in North Harbour; our Parish Pastoral Council (Co-chairs: Tim Wunder and Anne Halloway), the Parish Finance Committee (Chair: Paul Winter); and our Augustinian groups – Augustinian Formation Association, Friends of St Augustine, and Augustinian Volunteers Australia.
None of these ‘good works’ has much depth without a strong liturgical and prayer life in our Parish and our ‘full, conscious and active participation’ in the liturgy. Together, we form the Praying Assembly, the first sign of the Presence of Christ. The Eucharist and other Sacramental Celebrations and prayer experiences enhance our inner life and help us to grow as the Body of Christ. Many parishioners enhance our celebrations through preparation, coordination and participation in a range of liturgical ministries, serving the community week in and week out, helping enrich our liturgy which is at the heart of who we are in our faith and spirituality.
We are blessed to be part of a community for whom giving is a way of life, in generous, financial support of the Parish, as willing volunteers who are ready to help our community grow through sharing their talents in hospitality, setup and cleanup, home and nursing home visiting and Communion ministry, pastoral outreach to fellow parishioners and the needy, many working quietly behind the scenes. Thank you for your witness to Jesus’ practical love.
On your behalf, I thank our Parish Staff and Team - Parish Manager Jacky Worthington, Parish Secretaries Jane Filacuridi and Anne Ross, Sacramental Program Coordinator Janette Davidson, Catechist Coordinator Ursula Halloway, and Music Ministry Coordinator Marianne Deveza. We thank the Augustinians for their liturgical leadership and pastoral concern – Associate Pastors Frs Paul Maloney and John Sullivan, members of the Augustinian Community who are always ready to assist in pastoral ministry, Frs Senan Ward, Abel van der Veer and Peter Jones.
And so we wait, wait for the Child! During these final days before Christmas, we may need a break from Christmas cards, the noise and frenetic activity of busy shopping malls, and the ‘cultural scream’ of ‘Christmas!’ that batters us from all sides. Why not take a little time for meditation, quietening our body and praying over and over the mantra, Come Lord Jesus! Maranatha! - so we can taste the freedom of Jesus!
A Christmas Greeting from our Australian St Mary Mackillop (December 1899):
‘With all my heart,
I wish you a very happy Christmas
And a bright and happy New Year!’