Information Bulletin 73

May 2005

{slide=Introduction} Dear brothers in ministry
How many times in recent weeks have you caught yourself saying “John Paul our Pope”, instead of “Benedict”? It’s hard to break a habit that has lasted over 26 years. For many of you, it’s the only name you have ever used in the Eucharistic Prayer. Only the senior clergy go back to “Paul”, “Johanne” and “Pio”.
Not only in Rome, but in many places around our country, large crowds gathered to remember and pray for Pope John Paul II. A priest in an Aboriginal community told me that the people had mourned as they would for one of their tribal elders.
Similarly, people gathered together, and prayed privately, in the days leading up to and during the conclave. John Paul II made the papacy more visible than ever in its history, so perhaps the prayer for his successor was more universal and intense than ever before. Catholics throughout the world were praying “Come, Holy Spirit”.
Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Pastores Dabo Vobis is the Magna Carta of our National Commission.
We look forward to the encouragement, support and inspiration to be received from Pope Benedict XVI.
Peter Brock, Executive Officer
As bishops, priests and deacons, we have recently remembered Jesus’ last supper, his suffering, death and resurrection. Around the country and beyond, we have worshipped in our various parishes and communities. Once again some of our number have agreed to tell us about their celebrations of Holy Week and Easter.
{/slide} {slide=Chrism Mass in Canberra} The Chrism Mass, Canberra, ACT
I have always looked forward to the Chrism Mass as a liturgical highlight of the year and perhaps the most significant celebration of the local Church.
As usual in Canberra and Goulburn, the clergy rallied in great numbers. We shared an hour’s prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and a dinner prior to the Mass. St Christopher’s Cathedral was full of actively participating lay-people from many parishes.
Several factors gave added meaning to this year’s celebration. The Mass was introduced by a liturgical reception for our newly arrived Apostolic Nuncio. He had earlier joined us for the prayer and the dinner. For me personally the realisation struck home that this could well be the last time I would lead the celebration of the Chrism Mass as Chief Pastor, after enjoying that privilege on thirty eight occasions in Wagga Wagga and Canberra and Goulburn.
Archbishop Francis Carroll {/slide} {slide=Palm Sunday at Mayfield, NSW}
Palm Sunday is a wonderful time where the parish in suburban Newcastle celebrates something out of the ordinary. Hymns are chosen, decorations are changed for the day, volunteers are asked for, and it is the beginning of Holy Week.
People enter the church and wait. Father Bill Burston PP then invites the people to move outside to begin the liturgy.
There is a bit of “and when he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil.” Imagine organisation of anything 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. This sense we capture at Mayfield!
Palms are being waved, people are still talking, children running around, others are still distributing the palms in baskets, with Father Bill beginning the liturgy. Holy water is scattered around the ‘mob’. Then there is a coming together of it all as we follow our priest in procession into the church and back into the order and serenity of the Mass. A wonderful experience.
Deacon Lawrence Caelli {/slide} {slide=Holy Thursday at Humpty Doo, NT}
Darwin’s ‘rural area’ parish, the quaintly named Humpty Doo, welcomed three visiting clergy and four friends from the nearby Uniting Church, to celebrate with them the Mass of the Lord’s Supper. Our host Fr Eugene Zurias arrived back just in time from an earlier celebration at Batchelor. We made the short procession from church door to altar –Bishop Emeritus of Alotau-Sideia in PNG, Des Moore MSC; Fr Paul Webb from Darwin: Eugene and I. The community, all but filling the church, seemed more than pleased to have a retired missionary bishop celebrating this Eucharist with them.
A feast of words, images, gestures – Passover, memorial, service, faith confirmed, feet washed – and then the Eucharist, at once solemn and intimate. There are few churches in which the altar is at the physical centre of the church, but such is the case at Humpty Doo, so that all assembled were truly gathered at the Lord’s Table. His presence, real and abiding, certainly in his Eucharistic body, but also in this community and their gracious parish priest.
Fr Stephen Hackett MSC {/slide} {slide=Good Friday in Jerusalem} "Come for coffee - stay for dinner - stay overnight?" Palestinian hospitality - love.
Bethlehem Christians - 30%, down from 80% (emigration). Tank tracks in streets - bullet holes in walls, children psychologically wounded. David under Goliath's heel - hometown occupied by Israeli military, families separated by 10m grey, tombstone wall (the so-called "Security Fence").
Their life, their future? See Israeli-issued ID card and permits! Their nation - Palestine! Their congregation? St Joseph's Syrian Catholic Bethlehem, with St Thomas's in Jerusalem.
"Holy Friday" - 86 permits to enter Jerusalem granted till 10pm, 124 refused! 9am - A quiet Via Dolorosa. 5pm - St Thomas's decked in black - reciprocal chanting, bishop and people. Passion
proclaimed - Muezzin's nearby call: "God is Great".
Shabbat starting - Corpus taken from Cross to coffin - procession - Corpus in tomb under altar - all kiss the tomb, take a flower from tomb. Back to Bethlehem, through checkpoint - behind tombstones - but with Faith, Hope.
Fr Denis Scanlan, Brisbane priest studying in Jerusalem. {/slide} {slide=Easter Vigil in Lockridge, WA} Lockridge Parish is a multicultural parish. We come from diverse ethnic backgrounds. (A large majority are of Indian background but the chief happens to be Vietnamese!) The clergy too are of various nationalities.
Celebrating the Easter Vigil Mass with me was a retired Aussie priest, a newly ordained Italian priest and a Nigerian deacon on pastoral placement. This
prompted a cheeky young man to ask: “Nowadays, do you have to be a foreigner to be a priest?” I was puzzled by this question and asked myself: what did he mean? Was it a compliment? If it was not a compliment then how could we (foreigners) go about proclaiming the Easter message to the “foreigners” of this vast land, that Christ has died, Christ is risen and Christ will come again with our broken and, at times, “smashed English”?
Suddenly, I remembered words of Be Not Afraid that we just sang in church: “You shall cross the barren desert – you shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand”. God’s Word is about love and so as long as we preach and practise God’s love that’s all that matters.
Fr Vinh Dong P.P.
{/slide} {slide=On Pope John Paul II}


During the 1970s I was associated with Musica Viva, a national body that arranged concerts of chamber music. Our Newcastle committee members would collect musicians from the airport, drive them to their motels or concert venues, provide them with supper after the concert, then take them back to their motel. The following morning we would deliver them to the airport, from where they would fly on to their next ‘gig’.
We often had touring groups from behind the Iron Curtain. The national office would brief us (discreetly) about who was the party member in the ensemble. Naturally, we were to avoid any political or controversial discussion with that person, and be aware that he or she was keeping an eye on the whole group.
On Monday night 16 October 1978 the Warsaw Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra gave a concert in Newcastle.
Early the following morning I heard the news on the radio that “Roman Catholic Cardinals have broken with a 350-year tradition, and have elected a non-Italian Pope”.
After Mass I went to the motel to collect my car-load of players. As they were lolling around, checking out of their rooms and assembling their instruments and their other luggage, it dawned on me that they might not have heard the news.
I said to the young woman nearest me: “Have you heard that they have elected a Polish Pope?” Her eyes bulged, and she said: “Wyszyn'ski”? No, I knew that name, but that wasn’t the name I had heard on the radio. “Wojtyla?” she asked. Yes, that was the name.
She burst into tears, then ran up and down the motel corridor, banging on doors and shouting out the news in Polish. The musicians, men and women, came out of their rooms, hugging, sobbing, dancing – all except the politburo person, who looked very sour.
It has often been said since that Pope John Paul II was responsible for the end of communism (at least in Europe), and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
I believe I saw it happen in a small way in Newcastle, that first morning of his papacy.
Peter Brock {/slide}
  • Created: 01 May 2005
  • Modified: 23 April 2009