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".
Fourth Sunday of Advent -Sunday Readings (ACBC pdf)
The Year of St Joseph
On the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (December 8), Pope Francis released his Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”). Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021. Pope Francis describes Saint Joseph as a beloved father, a tender and loving father, an obedient father, an accepting father; a father who is creatively courageous, a working father, a father in the shadows.
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 on Tuesday 8 December 2020. You can read more about Bishop-elect Bennet here.
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:
Praying at Home with the Gospel
1. Read the Gospel slowly and as many times as you need.
2. Note key phrases or words and reflect on it for a while.
What does God want to tell us?
3. Spend some time in quiet conversation with God and let our hearts speak to him.
4. Allow God to speak to you in the silence and rest with God.
Taken from Torquay-Anglesea-Grovedale parish bulletin
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.
Australian Catholics – use the Scriptures and the reflection questions provided for your personal prayer or for your Sunday Liturgy of the Word celebration at home or via livestream. https://tinyurl.com/Scripture-and-Reflections Prayers of the Faithful can be accessed via the Parish Life tab on the menu bar www.australiancatholics.com.au
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
Pope Francis’ message
In his first public audience in six months, Pope Francis told his global audience that the Covid-19 pandemic “has highlighted our interdependence, [that] we are all linked to each other, for better or for worse.
“Solidarity today is the road to take towards a post-pandemic world,” the pope said, “toward the healing of our interpersonal and social sicknesses…. A solidarity guided by faith enables us to translate the love of God in our globalized culture, not by building towers or walls that divide and then crumble but by interweaving communities and sustaining processes of growth that are truly human and solid.”
Francis concluded: “We do not come out from a crisis the same as before. We either come out better or worse. We must choose. Solidarity is the way to come out better. Not with superficial changes or a coat of paint. No! Better!
“To come out of this crisis better than before,” he said, “we have to do so together, all of us, in solidarity.”
Read more in this article in America Magazine - https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2020/09/02/pope-francis-general-audience-better-world-pandemic-lebanon
A Prayer of Hope
This lovely prayer comes from the writings of the late Macrina Wiederkehr OSB (1939-2020).
The renaissance being celebrated
...Open my eyes to the moments of resurrection that surround me every day. There is always something rising, opening to new life, budding and blossoming, forgiving and transforming. Teach me to live awake that I may recognize the renaissance being celebrated in my midst at every moment. Make me a disciple of joy. Amen.
~ Macrina Wiederkehr OSB in THE FLOWING GRACE OF NOW.
Celebrating the Power of the Anointing of the Sick
During the week I (Sophy) read a beautiful article from an Anglican Vicar in England recounting her personal reflection of the experience and power of the Sacrament of Anointing during these pandemic times. https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2020/11-september/faith/faith-features/a-case-of-reverse-contagion
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
New Digital Faith platform The Well
A new online place for prayer, spiritual nourishment, stories and resources for young people, families and adults. A place to be inspired, enriched and connected with a community on mission with Jesus Christ. Explore fresh offerings every week on topical issues that inform, entertain and challenge. Experience the variety for families and friends of all ages, and all those seeking to serve in our church and beyond. Visit: https://thewell.org.au/about
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.