From the desk of Father Geoff

A Photographic meditation on Gethsemani Abbey

In 2011 I made a two weeks' retreat at Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, USA.  Gethsemani was the Cistercian abbey where Thomas Merton lived, and this year is the 100th anniversary of his birth.  Clink on the link to view my meditation on Gethsemani, including my visit to Thomas Merton's hermitage in the grounds of the monastery.  The background music comes from the Benedictine monks of Santo Domingo de Silos.  Here's the link:  http://youtu.be/PyWeMwafPwA

WORTH WATCHING!

Fr James Martin SJ has an interesting series on the saints entitled "Who cares about the saints?"  Each episode is a brief (about 10 minutes) overview of the life of a saint, such as St Francis of Assisi, or St Ignatius.  But Fr Martin also profiles the lives of other people who are not yet saints, such as Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day.  So, have a look:

Pope Saint John XXIII:  http://bit.ly/1tuFnsJ
St Francis of Assisi:  http://bit.ly/1lUMFqY
Dorothy Day:  http://bit.ly/1uk4HnR
Thomas Merton:  http://bit.ly/1iTR8Yw
Mother Teresa:  http://bit.ly/1uHZy7n
St Peter:  http://bit.ly/1wfCtdh
St Joan of Arc:  http://bit.ly/1qfZb5w
St Bernadette:  http://bit.ly/1tJjVnI

SPIRITUALITY AND THE DIFFERENT STAGES OF LIFE: ONE SIZE DOESN'T FIT ALL

A talk by Fr ronald Rolheiser OMI.  http://bit.ly/1tJjVUw

A JESUIT AND A FRANCISCAN DISCUSS THE FIRST YEAR OF POPE FRANCIS' PONTIFICATE

Fr James Martin SJ and Fr Richard Rohr OFM discuss the first year of Pope Francis' pontificate.  The discussion lasts for just over 8 minutes.  Click here:  http://bit.ly/ZgoXv2

SISTER HELEN PREJEAN TALKS ABOUT POPE FRANCIS.

Sister Helen is the nun who inspired the movie Dead Man Walking.  In this brief clip she speaks about people who have inspired her, including Pope Francis.  http://bit.ly/1qfZe1e

INTRODUCTION TO THE BIBLE

I’m currently working on a series of introductory talks on the Bible.  They are designed for people who are unfamiliar with the Bible, or for those who would like a refresher course.  

Talk 1 asks the basic question, “Why do we need a sacred text like the Bible?”  To watch Talk 1, click here:  http://bit.ly/1AwZDfM

Talk 2 looks at the importance of story.  Each of us has a story, and our story consists of all the people, places and events that make us the unique individual that we are.  To lose our story is to lose our identity.  To watch Talk 2, click here:  http://bit.ly/1wfCxto

The Christian Bible is made up of the Old and New Testaments.  Talk 3 takes a look at the Old Testament.  What’s in the Old Testament, and what kind of literature are we dealing with?  To watch Talk 3, click here:  http://bit.ly/1xGBiId

Talks 4 and 5 look at the New Testament.  What’s in the New Testament, and who finally decided which books would be included in the New Testament?  To watch Talk 4, click here: http://bit.ly/1wfCyO1      To watch Talk 5, click here:  http://bit.ly/1oqQ0tg

Talk 6 look at the historical background of the biblical story.  There is no text without context, so what is the historical context of the biblical story.  Click here to watch Talk 6:  http://bit.ly/1lUN38X

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

This talk is an introduction to Christian meditation.  Because we’re constantly thinking about one thing or another, our mind is often likened to a tree full of noisy, playful monkeys.  This form of meditation, using a prayer word or mantra, seeks to still the mind and rest in silence in the presence of God.   Click here if you’d like to learn more about Christian meditation:  http://bit.ly/1rEmC3I

AN INTERVIEW WITH POPE FRANCIS

In August of 2013 Pope Francis was interviewed by Fr Antonio Spadaro, editor in chief of La Civiltà Cattolica, the Italian Jesuit journal.   Fr Spadaro met the pope at the Vatican in the pope’s apartments in the Casa Santa Marta, where he has chosen to live since his election.   To download the interview as a PDF file, click here:  http://thinkingfaith.org/articles/20130919_1.pdf

WHO IS THE POPE?

When Pope Benedict resigned I prepared this talk about the election of a pope.  Who is the pope, how is he elected, and by whom?  If you’d like to learn more, click here:  http://bit.ly/1qKv83u

VIDEO HOMILIES
Click on the image below to view my latest homily, or go to my Youtube channel to view all my homilies and talks:  http://bit.ly/1uk581f

 

Latest News

OUR LENTEN JOURNEY 2015

Our Lenten journey for 2015 will be based on the program developed by the Archdiocese of Brisbane and the scripture reflections presented by the Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge.  The program lasts for six weeks and will be held in St Michael’s Parish Hall. 

The theme of this year’s Lenten journey is “Rich in Mercy”.  It will focus upon the second reading of the Sundays of Lent.

Each of the six sessions has these components:

1.  Welcome.
2.  Opening Prayer
3.  Scripture (The reading of the second reading for the next Sunday of Lent.
4.  Personal Reflection (The discussion book will offer some questions to assist you).
5.  Scripture Reflection (a five minute video presentation by Archbishop Coleridge).
6.  Discussion
7.  Living Mercy
8.  Closing Prayer.

To participate in these sessions you will need a copy of the handbook.  These will be available through the parish at a cost of $7.

Meetings will commence at 7 pm in St Michael’s Hall on the following dates:

Week 1.  Thursday, February 19 (Thursday following Ash Wednesday).
Week 2.  Tuesday, February 24  (Note:  Tuesday this week, not Thursday)
Week 3.  Thursday, March 5
Week 4.  Thursday, March 12
Week 5.  Thursday, March 19
Week 6:  Thursday, March 26.

If you would like to participate in the Lenten program, please email Fr Geoffrey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  So that we can order the discussion books in time for the first session, we will need this information by February 15.

SCHOOL REFERENCES

At this time of the year many parents are completing applications forms for our local Catholic high schools.  Most of the local Catholic high schools require a parish reference.  Fr Geoffrey is more than happy to complete your reference and forward it to the school.  Please make sure that you are on the parish data base (you can download a parish census form from the website).  If you do not know Fr Geoffrey personally, please make an appointment to see him.  If you are not on the parish data base and are unknown to Fr Geoffrey, the only option he has is to indicate that he has insufficient knowledge of the family to make a recommendation.   Please include a family photograph with your parish reference.

THINKING ABOUT BECOMING A CATHOLIC?

The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) is the process by which adults who have never been baptised are welcomed into the church.  It also welcomes baptised members of other Christian churches who would like to explore the possibility of becoming a Catholic. 
We meet on Monday evenings, except during school holidays.  Where?  Some meetings are held at the parish house (next door to the church), but on other weeks we meet in parishioners' houses.  For further information, and to find out where we are meeting on a particular Monday, please contact our RCIA Co-ordinator, Ruth Connelly, on 0414 851 471.

ROSTERS FOR SENIOR SERVERS, LECTORS, ALTAR SERVERS AND WARDENS 

The latest rosters are now available for download.  Go to "Rosters" on the homepage.

2015 SYNOD OF BISHOPS ON THE FAMILY

The subject of the 2015 Synod of Bishops is “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and the Contemporary World”. A series of 30 questions on this theme has been made available by the Australian Bishops for the further consideration of the faithful. People are welcome to respond to as many or as few of the questions on this list as they would like. Responses are due by 2 February 2015. Further information and the list of questions are available electronically at www.sydneycatholic.org/survey2015

To respond to the questions you'll need to read the final document from the 2014 Synod of Bishops.  You can access that document here: 
http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2014/10/18/0770/03044.html

SOME INTERESTING STATISTICS ABOUT THE PARISH FROM THE 2011 NATIONAL CENSUS 

The following information about parish demographics is taken from the 2011 national census.  The total number of people living in the parish is 31,512 (36,119 in 2006). 

The Catholic population of the parish is 9,320 (10,036 in 2006) - i.e. 29.6% of the parish is Catholic (up from 27.8% in 2006).  The percentage of Catholics nationwide is 25.29%. 

Other statistics relating to the parish: No religion: 24.79%;  Anglicans: 17.54%;  Orthodox Christians: 2.7%; Other Christians: 9.8%; Non-Christian religion: 8%; Religion not stated: 7.6%.

The median age of Catholics in this parish is 35 years.  There are 3,214 Catholic families in the parish, and 753 Catholics live alone.  Forty-three per cent of Catholics in the parish have a university degree (up from 38% in 2006), and 66% of Catholic students living in the parish attend a Catholic school (down from 70% in 2006). 

WORKING WITH CHILDREN CHECKS 

All parishioners who have a parish ministry that involves working with children must obtain a Working with Children Check number.  At St Michael’s this means: Catechists, those helping with children’s liturgy, and senior servers.  People who do not have  a WWW check number will not be able to work with children.  Because you work on a volunteer basis, there is no charge.  Paid employees must pay an $80 fee.
Step 1:  This is an online process.  The website that you must go to is: www.newcheck.kids.nsw.gov.au 
Step 2:  Once you have accessed the website, click on “Start Here”.  You go to the “For individuals” section (not “For employers”), and click on “Apply”.  That will open up the online application form which will ask you for your personal details.  It takes about 5 to 10 minutes to complete the form.  The information you give on this form must match your “proof of identity” document (e.g. your driver’s licence).  In the section, “purpose for the check”, make sure you click “volunteer”.
Step 3:  You will receive an application receipt number, beginning with APP.
Step 4:  You must then go to a Motor Registry Office with your APP number and proof of identity (e.g. a NSW driver’s licence).
Step 5:  The parish must then verify that you have received a Working With Children Check Number.  Your check will be valid for five years.
If you have any questions, please contact the parish office.

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Weekend Mass Times

St Michael's Church, Lane Cove
Vigil (Saturday) - 6pm
Sunday - 9:30am & 6pm

Mary Help of Christians Chapel, Greenwich
Sunday - 8am

Saint Ignatius' Chapel, Riverview
Sunday - 7:30am

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