Christmas 2020: Bound by a shared experience and our raw humanity

Christmas 2020Like many people this year, I have done most of my Christmas shopping online. As I have spent time scrolling through the pages of trinkets, clothing, chocolates and other thousands of Christmas marketing gift ideas that appear in my social media feeds, I have considered each person I was buying for. I realised I would give anything, pay any amount, just to spend one more minute of time with them, to feel one more cuddle, to share one last giggle together before I knew I would not be seeing them this Christmas — or for some family members and friends, not seeing them at all during 2020.

Accompaniment: Chaplaincy in Francis’ Field Hospital

Accompaniment: Chaplaincy in Francis’ Field HospitalFor me, the image of a field hospital after battle conjures up childhood memories of watching M*A*S*H, a TV series set in a US Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. The warning sirens would sound, helicopters would land bearing wounded from the front, and the nurses and doctors would be pulled from their petty squabbles into life-and-death situations of triage and surgery.

It’s about the relationships: St Benedict’s Parish, Burwood, Melbourne

It’s about the relationshipsAffectionately known as “St Ben’s”, St Benedict’s Parish Burwood is situated 14km east of Melbourne’s CBD. Despite the challenges, the parish has thrived during the COVID-19 lockdown. And all agree that there is no turning back to the way things were done before.

Sport can open the way to Christ

Sport can open the way to ChristDuring October, while Australia was focused on the finals series of the AFL, netball, rugby league and union, each Thursday night I woke at midnight to join an international webinar exploring the Christian perspective of sport and human development. Presented by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life, the webinars explored the value of sport in personal and community development, opportunities for sports ministry and how the Church can be part of the re-animation of sport beyond COVID-19.

Are parishes ready, willing and able to welcome people into the Catholic Faith?

Are parishes readyIn 2020 Sharon Brewer researched the vitality of the RCIA process in Australian parishes for the period 2017 – 2019 as part of her Master of Theological Studies at the Australian Catholic University.

Listening with God: Spiritual Accompaniment

Listening with God: Spiritual Accompaniment Have you ever had anyone listen to you? I don’t just mean hear you, I mean listen to you? I did once – and I have never forgotten it.

Do not be afraid. Be hopeful instead.

Do not be afraidLast weekend, my 10-year-old son stepped up to the monkey bars for his third attempt in a row. His first couple of tries lasted only two rungs before he let go. This time, however, he knew it was going to hurt his hands and he was ready for it. He knew how much it meant to him to get all the way to the end without falling off – and he focused on his goal. He then reached out to the first bar, gritted his teeth, made the “I’m pushing through the pain noise” and swung for the next bar. This extra sense of inner strength enabled him to keep going until the very end, even though he had previously believed he wasn’t strong enough to make it.

"I'm just an ordinary person!"

I'm just an ordinary person!Tricia O’Keeffe may claim to be “just an ordinary person”, but to the Faith and Light communities she has been a part of, Tricia remains a joy-filled and dedicated advocate for those living with an intellectual disability, their families, carers and friends.

Rockingham Parish: Using their gifts for the mission

Rockingham ParishWhat happens when you bring together an Italian, a Peruvian, an Indian and an Aussie? Well, in this case, you get a beautiful representation of the many faith-filled people in Rockingham Parish, Western Australia.

Darwin Men Hear the Call

parish service primaryWith encouragement from our recent menALIVE weekend and our brothers down south, Dirk Botha was the one to really get the ball rolling and started to get the word out into parish bulletins. I offered to be the contact person and Fr Dave Callaghan MGL offered a venue (Holy Spirit Parish in Casuarina) and a free breakfast! Still, the initial response was eerily quiet. Where were the men? Did they hear the call? Was anyone interested? None of us knew.

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