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
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
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
Click on the image below to view my latest homily, or go to my Youtube channel to view all my homilies and talks: https://www.youtube.com/user/GeoffreyPlant2066
This coming Wednesday, February 18, is Ash Wednesday. The times for Masses at St Michael’s are as follows: 6.30 am; 9.15 am (school in attendance); 7 pm. Mass at Greenwich chapel: 8.30 am.
Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of fast and abstinence from meat. All who have completed their 18th year and have not yet begun their 14th year are bound to abstain from meat. The law of fasting binds those who have completed their 18th year, until the beginning of their 60th year.
THE SACRAMENTAL PROGRAM FOR 2015
We are still waiting for the Archbishop to confirm the dates for the Sacrament of Confirmation at St Michael’s this year. However, we can confirm the dates for the programs for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.
First Reconciliation will be celebrated at St Michael’s over five evenings: August 17-21. The information evening for parents of children celebrating their First Reconciliation will be held at St Michael’s Church on Tuesday, 21 July, commencing at 7 pm. The children celebrating First Reconciliation will be presented to the parish at one of the Masses at St Michael’s on the weekend of August 1 and 2.
First Holy Communion will be celebrated at St Michael’s over two Sundays: November 8 and 15. There will be two additional parish Masses on November 8: 11.30 am and 2 pm. There will be one additional parish Mass on Sunday, November 15: 11.30 am. The information evening for parents of children celebrating their first Holy Communion will be held in St Michael’s Church on Tuesday, 13 October at 7 pm. Children must have celebrated their first Reconciliation prior to celebrating their first Holy Communion. Children celebrating their first Holy Communion will be presented to the parish at one of the Masses at St Michael’s on the weekend of October 24/25.
Please check the parish website for final details. Copies of enrolment forms for these Sacraments will soon be available from the website.
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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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
© St Michael’s Parish Lane Cove