From the Desk of the Parish Priest
A NEW BEGINNING
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Parish of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary,
Thank you for welcoming me to this Parish with warmth and affection. I look forward to working with all of you to build a loving, caring community that reflects the goodness of Christ at all times.
The last four months have been truly hectic on various fronts. We have celebrated a number of events including a great Parents’ Day which was wonderfully organised and executed, a prayerful Novena in preparation for the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, that focused on our call to be children of God, with Mother Mary showing us the way and now the Novena - the ongoing preparation - for the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary. We are already halfway through the month of October, 2019 and soon, we will find ourselves close to the end of the year! So, before we step into a brand new year, I invite you to focus on two things: The first is the invitation to holiness, because we are all saints in the making. The second is about the pastoral initiatives being undertaken and proposed. We welcome your cooperation and feedback.
Let’s start with the invitation to holiness that each of us is called to live every day.
A young couple moved into a new neighbourhood. The next morning, while eating breakfast, a neighbour watched the young wife hang the washed laundry outside. "That laundry is not very clean", she said, "she doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."
Her husband looked on but remained silent. Every time the young woman hung her washed clothes to dry, the neighbour would pass the same comments.
One month later, the neighbour was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband: "Look! She has learnt how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this."
The husband said: "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows!"
And so it is with life: what we see when we are watching others, depends on the purity of the window through which we look.
This is the challenge in our call to holiness. It is so easy for us to focus on the other than on ourselves and, as a community rooted in Christ, we are called to constantly work towards improving ourselves. The call to holiness is an ongoing process! It is rightly said that every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future. This is what Pope Francis reminds us of in his Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), which offers guidance to the many paths to sanctity in today’s world.
The Pope says that his Exhortation is “not meant to be a treatise on holiness” but “to repurpose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities.” Holiness, he says, is not based on prayer alone but on also serving those in need. The Lord asks everything of us, and in return, He offers us true life - the everlasting happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence.
And it is this call to holiness - the deeply scriptural understanding that our prayer and deeds walk hand in hand - that leads us to the second part, our Pastoral Initiatives.
a. Responding to those in need: During our Parish visitation we were I was struck by the number of elderly and sick who have little or no means to provide for themselves. Their food and medical needs are dependent on their financial condition. As a community, it is a matter of shame if one person in our parish goes without food because of the lack of means. Keeping this in mind, we invited community leaders to provide the names of persons who could benefit from a cooked meal daily. We then followed up with visits to the family to understand their needs and verify the authenticity of their situation. Once done, a catering service was contacted and on the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary, 13 households will be provided meals. Some might say that advantage will be taken of the generosity of the church, and we understand that concern. In answer, we have responded to the need only after due diligence and verifying each case. The rest we leave in God's capable hands.
b. Medical assistance: The Parish has many senior citizens who do not have medical insurance and their regular medical requirement is sometimes well above their means. Thus they make choices not to take the medicines when they exhaust their finances, much to the detriment of their health. We understand their situation, and the second project we have in mind is to reach out to these individuals and offer medical assistance and support, both financial and moral. This is a project in the pipeline and we hope that we would be able to put this into practice by Christmas.
Yes, these projects do cost the church Parish and no, this is not an appeal for funds. I strongly believe that when we do work that reflects God’s compassion and mercy, God provides.
As we march forward, building the community and celebrating the bonds we have developed, I once again quote of Pope Francis from his Apostolic Exhortation "Let us listen once more to Jesus, with all the love and respect that the Master deserves. Let us allow His words to unsettle us, to challenge us and to demand a real change in the way we live. Otherwise, holiness will remain no more than an empty word."
May each one of us commit ourselves to this process of renewal, and may we constantly work at and walk together on our path to sainthood.
Fr Nigel Barrett Parish Priest