Catholic in Yanchep

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The Sixth Sunday of Easter, Year C | Faithfulness is beautiful!

JanStyka-Saint Peter preaching in Catacombs

St Peter preaching the Gospel in the Catacombs, Jan Styka, 1902, original destroyed by fire, accessed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Styka#/media/File:JanStyka-SaintPeter.jpg

Hilaire Belloc, the famous satirist and historian, once said, “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine — but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”[1]

Our readings today show how God has made provision for the Church to continue and flourish over 2,000 years, despite the ‘knavish imbecility’ of some of its members.  If your first reaction is to feel insulted by this quote, stay with me for a minute while I explain.  The relationship between Christ and the Church is one of bridegroom and bride (Rev. 19:7-9).  Jesus wants us, above all, to be faithful to him, and he gives us the help of the Holy Spirit to do just that.  Jesus tells the Apostles in today’s gospel,

I have said these things to you while still with you, but the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you. (John 14:26) 

How do we stay close to the Holy Spirit?  A few verses earlier, Jesus says, “If anyone loves me he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we shall come to him and make our home with him.”

In my own experience of parish life, there have been many occasions when staying close to the Holy Spirit has been a challenge.  At times, I have thought it would just be easier to move to a different parish, or even a different church or even no church.  To give you an example, I once had a priest come to bless my house.  After the blessing, he stayed for another hour and a half berating the ‘knavish imbecility’ of his fellow priests.  But is this what the Holy Spirit wants?  Of course not: it’s always Satan that wants division and disharmony.  The Holy Spirit wants faithfulness.  The Holy Spirit wants us to build community.  The Holy Spirit wants us to keep persevering in spite of the individual characters of the members of the Church.  The Holy Spirit wants us to find the good points in others and build those up, rather than trying to destroy the other.  The Holy Spirit wants us to work diligently for the benefit of all.  Good parishioners and priests build up rather than break down.  That is how a parish receives blessing from the Lord.

The first reading today show an example of the Holy Spirit in action.  Here the Apostles meeting at the Council of Jerusalem (our first ecumenical council) come up with a solution to the problem of deciding exactly how much of the Jewish Law needs to be adhered to by the Gentile converts  (Acts 15:6 ff).  The difficulty is how to welcome Gentiles without alienating the Jewish followers of the Messiah.  After a long discussion, Peter speaks and the entire assembly falls silent.  The apostles and elders or priests (toi apostolois kai presbyterois / τοῖς ἀποστόλοις καὶ τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις) then write a letter to confirm the decision of the council, saying, “It has been decided by the Holy Spirit and by ourselves not to saddle you with any burden beyond these essentials …” They are very aware of the Holy Spirit guiding the Council which has assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So Hilaire Belloc was right:  as individuals we may be a bit stupid, but as a Catholic Church, listening to the Holy Spirit, we have been guided and kept faithful for 2,000 years, despite pressure from the outside world to ‘change our teaching’!  The Church and Christ are like a married couple, of whom everyone says, “This marriage cannot possibly last!” yet, there they are, celebrating their anniversary year after year!  I say hurrah for faithfulness!  Thank you to the Holy Spirit for holding us together.

[1] Hilaire Belloc, remark to William Temple, quoted in Robert Speaight, The Life of Hilaire Belloc (1957). London: Hollis and Carter, p. 383

Today’s readings:

Word format: Year C Easter 6th Sunday 2016

Pdf format: Year C Easter 6th Sunday 2016


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Our Church at Lancelin Makes Progress!

Church and Priest's House Lancelin

Demountable Catholic Church (right) and Priest’s House (Left), Lancelin.  These were delivered on about 1 October 2015.

Thank you to Margaret McCabe from our Lancelin Church for this update:

We were expecting Padraig Foley (our building supervisor) to return to Perth mid October. Unfortunately he has experienced serious health challenges as soon as he arrived in Ireland. Five bypasses later and he is begging for information of what is happening back here. He tells me that the doctors and his wife agree that receiving information may assist him with his recovery. He asked me to send him photos of work completed on the block at Lancelin. On Thursday I was in town and took some photos but wasn’t entirely happy with them so decided to go untidy and take some more. To my surprise there are now two buildings on the block. I took more photos. 

I have made do with the photos from Thursday of the completed earthworks and sent them along with a couple photos of the buildings to Padraig. Thought I would share the photos with you. 

Please would you all pray for Padraig’s continued and complete recovery – he has worked very hard on this project and on the repairs to Fr Augustine’s house in Blaxland Ave, Two Rocks.

Meanwhile, our Yanchep-Two Rocks members are praying novenas for us to acquire land for a church/school in the area.  Please join with us in this prayer:

Heavenly Father, we the people of Yanchep and Two Rocks know that where two or three are gathered in your name, there you are in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).  We know that we are the living stones of your church and that you, Jesus Christ, are our foundation stone (1 Peter 2:5).  We know that “the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not need to live in temples built by human hands” (Acts 17:24).

Yet we still desire to have a visible, permanent, outward presence in the Yanchep-Two Rocks community.

We desire to have a public place where we can reserve your Precious Body and Blood and give you honour.

Lord, we ask that you help us to acquire the land and church building that will be a sign of your presence amongst us.

Lord, we ask that you break down any spiritual barriers that are preventing us from building a church.

Lord please bless and strengthen all those members of our Pastoral Area who have faithfully helped us in the time that they have lived here.  But Lord, we ask also that you send into our area people who will evangelise our community and boldly proclaim your wonderful plan for humanity.  Revitalise our pastoral area through the power of your Holy Spirit. 

We pray this in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Siteworks

Siteworks of the Lancelin Church block prior to 1 October 2015


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Christmas Mass Times

Nativity of Christ, Domenico Ghirlandaio, c. 1492, tempera on panel, Pinacoteca, Volterra, Italy.

Nativity of Christ, Domenico Ghirlandaio, c. 1492, tempera on panel, Pinacoteca, Volterra, Italy.

If you are new to our Pastoral Area, Christmas Mass times are as follows:

6 p.m. Christmas Eve, 24 December: Vigil, St James Church, 2 Lagoon Drive, Yanchep.

8 a.m. Christmas Day, 25 December: Guilderton Community Hall,  Wedge Street, Guilderton

10 a.m. Christmas Day, 25 December:  33 Gingin Road, Lancelin.

Confessions: before Mass on request