Pope Francis offers advice about how to face the daily challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic:
"We need to rediscover the concreteness of small things, the small acts of kindness shown to those who are close to us, family, friends. We need to realize that our treasure lies in small things. There are tiny gestures that sometimes get lost in the routine of everyday life, gestures of tenderness, affection, compassion, that are nevertheless decisive, important”, he says.
The Pope gives the examples of sharing “a hot plate of food, a caress, a hug, a phone call... These are familiar, attentive gestures regarding everyday details that make life meaningful, and create communion and communication amongst us".
You may wish to begin your prayer by lighting a candle and/or preparing a prayer focus with a cross or crucifix, bible, flowers etc. While people may choose to watch Mass online or on TV, why not consider praying together.
Reading the Scripture passage aloud with your family or friends and then spending time in discussion and prayer will assist in us feeling connected in faith.
The Lectionary readings for each day are reminders that although we may be physically isolated and unable to celebrate Mass together, we can still be joined in prayer as members of one Body who are always united in Christ.
Prayer for Bishop-elect Bennet
On the Feast Day of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the patroness of our Diocese) Pope Francis appointed Monsignor Greg Bennet (Melbourne) as the 10th Bishop of Sale.
We warmly welcome Bishop-elect Bennet to our Diocese and pray for him as we prepare for his episcopal ordination a date for which has now been set as 20th October 2020.
Here is a Prayer for our Bishop –elect. (PDF).
Rediscovering the other treasures of the Church’s liturgical tradition
For Catholics, much of our liturgical worship is experienced through our participation in the Mass. But did you know that there are other rich gifts the Church has, that are there for strengthening our faith and equipping us as disciples of Christ?
This time of pandemic offers us a timely opportunity to explore these treasures of liturgical prayer and encourage us to pray at home, building up the domestic Church for the sake of Christ’s mission in transforming the world. There are some ways in which we can do this:
Short daily Gospel reflections with access to readings and prayers of the faithful can be found at https://www.pray.com.au
Fostering Liturgy in the Home
The care that we give to encouraging prayer at home in all its forms, will strengthen our communal worship when we can be all together once more. Simple things like lighting a candle, and other symbols or symbolic gestures can accompany and enrich our prayer and thus, by extension, assist us in fuller appreciation of and participation in the liturgy.
Click on the link above to access some great ideas for your family prayer at home and see how your everyday actions of care and love for others is part of your prayer.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop
This Saturday on 8th August, we remember St Mary of the Cross Mackillop, co-founder, together with Fr Julian Tenison Woods, of the Sisters of St Joseph. Mary travelled extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand, establishing communities of sisters and setting up schools, especially for the rural poor.
The Sisters of Saint Joseph believe that Saint Mary MacKillop would offer encouragement during these difficult times. In 1907 she wrote to the Sisters:
We must let no obstacles deter us from proceeding with courage in the path marked out for us. It may sometimes be dark and full of windings,
but a beautiful bright light shines at the end of this path and a few more windings will bring us to it.
Mary MacKillop 1907
To read more about Mary and the work of the Sisters of St Joseph, o visit their website.
Want to Pray and Sing?
Come to the Water (Fr Frank Andersen) https://tinyurl.com/ComeWater is a common hymn in our parishes. It is drawn from this Sunday’s first reading from Isaiah (Is 55:1-3) and speaks to how all our needs and our longing is answered by God….very appropriate for this time of pandemic.
How Can I Keep from Singing? -In these times of anxiety, especially for Victoria, I have been enjoying listening to and singing with this calming and hopeful hymn which expresses our hope and trust in God’s mercy and grace. https://tinyurl.com/Hymn-of-Hope
Marist Music has beautiful audio clips of the responsorial psalms and Gospel acclamation. It’s easy to access! Just visit www.maristmusic.org.au and select the psalm or chant of the particular Sunday Ordinary Time.
Be Not Afraid – this Sunday, Jesus tells us not to be afraid. This beloved hymn from our Catholic repertoire has been recently recorded by prominent USA Catholic artists. Listen and sing at home with this heartfelt rendition Via https://tinyurl.com/Dufford-Hymn
Seeking Stillness Gospel reflections by Gen Bryant on YouTube -Playlist
Shelter Me - New Hymn in response to COVID-19 by Fr Michael Joncas. Free download and use until 31 March 2021. You can download the sheet music from bit.ly/2V9gxFG and access the music video on YouTube.
Goodness of God -Spend some time in prayer with this beautiful song praising God’s goodness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f4MUUMWMV4
The Blessing Australia - During this time of uncertainty and physical isolation, over 300 local churches united together in Australia to sing a blessing over our nation. This is the first time this has happened. Our desire is to shine the light of Jesus in a time of darkness. We hope that this song will fill you with peace and encouragement. Enjoy and pray with this beautiful song: https://tinyurl.com/Blessing-Australia
The Human Community in the Age of Pandemic
The Pontifical Academy for Life has issued a document on the lessons that the human family can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic (22 July 2020).
Entitled "Humana communitas in the age of pandemic", it urges everyone to protect the most vulnerable of society.
"COVID-19 has brought desolation to the world," it says, that is why the human community should take a step back in order to turn it into "a passageway to life's rebirth".
The document says that the pandemic has "deprived us of the exuberance of embraces, the kindness of hand shakings, the affection of kisses, and turned relations into fearful interactions among strangers, the neutral exchange of faceless individualities shrouded in the anonymity of protective gear."
This reality has taught us the lesson of fragility "radically marked by the experience of finitude at the core of our existence." As a result, we are called to recognize that life is a gift. "A pandemic urges all of us to address and reshape structural dimensions of our global community that are oppressive and unjust, those that a faith understanding refers to as 'structures of sin'."
Go to https://tinyurl.com/HumanCommunity to read the full article or see attached.
MelbournePrays is an online community that brings young people together for daily prayer opportunities via YouTube and Facebook. Each day, people are invited to join in prayer with others for their own needs and the needs of the world at this time. https://www.facebook.com/MelbournePrays
Almighty and eternal God, our refuge in every danger,
to whom we turn in our distress; in faith we pray
look with compassion on the afflicted,
grant eternal rest to the dead, comfort to mourners, healing to the sick, peace to the dying,
strength to healthcare workers, wisdom to our leaders and the courage to reach out to all in love,
so that together we may give glory to your holy name. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
The Collect from Mass in Time of Pandemic, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, 30 March 2020.