April 22-23, 2017
Dear parishioners, friends & visitors,
I invite us to share Tan Le’s journey to the Catho-lic Faith. Read with the delight.
My name is Tan Le. I was recently baptized, confirmed and received my First Holy Communion with Raina, Rakai and Nicholas at the Easter Vigil celebrated here in this wonderful Parish of St Mary’s.
I am 42yrs old and the story of my journey in becoming a Catholic began when I was a young boy. By way of background, my family made an escape by boat from the turmoil of post-war Vietnam when I was 4yrs old. I am one of five children; the youngest of my siblings at the time was a newborn in the arms of our courageous mother when we made our exodus alongside many others.
After many days on the South China Sea and the inevitable spate of pirate boardings and robberies, our boat made it to Thai shores in the darkness of night with rough seas tipping our rickety fishing vessel violently onto the beach. Miraculously all my siblings survived. However, other families that we journeyed alongside were not so lucky losing loved ones, including young children in such a tragic landing.
On those same shores, many families became refugees camping along the beach but, for-tunately, our plea for help was heard by many communities around the world including the Sancta Maria Catholic Parish of Christchurch, NZ. This parish sponsored our family’s resettlement to New Zealand and after spending months going through the usual detention processes, we were finally introduced to our sponsors who provided our family with all that we needed to commence rebuilding our family life together.
This was my first experience of the extraordinary compassion, generosity and warmth of the Catholic community. I recall that throughout all of my primary schooling years, although we were a family that belonged to the Buddhist faith, we would attend Mass every Sunday and we spent much time with a number of families of that parish.
In 1989, we emigrated to Australia to be closer to family and friends from whom we had separated during our journey. At this time, we stopped attending church. However, in accordance with God’s plan, as a young adult my career in Law led me to Mel-bourne, Victoria, where I eventually married my wife, Tam, who comes from a Roman Catholic family and serendipitously I found myself regularly attending church again – still as a Buddhist! We have 2 children now, the youngest of whom at 5 months old, was also baptized alongside myself at the recent Easter Vigil.
that I am excited about in beginning the next chapter of living a life to honour Christ and the sacrifices that he made for us on the cross.
I have nothing but praise for Anne, the RCIA team, and all those who contributed to and
are responsible for the RCIA program. My journey of faith in Our Lord is one that I am
still learning much about and developing. I am grateful that I can lean on the faith of such
fine examples of Christian families and individuals that I see in this amazing Parish as I
continue to learn more and develop my own unwavering faith. I feel blessed to have found
such fine role models at St Mary’s especially Father John for his commitment to God and
the community that he continues to serve. There is so much that I am excited about in beginning
the next chapter of living a life to honour Christ and the sacrifices that Christ has
made for us on the cross.
God bless you all
God bless you all.
Fr. John Ikechukwu Echewodo
CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS 2016
All events and holy mass will be held at the St. Mary’s Worship Center, Upper Coomera
Saturday, 24th December (CHRISTMAS EVE)
4.30pm – Carol Singing | 5:00 – Holy Mass
9.30pm – Carol Singing | 10:00 pm – Holy Mass
Sunday 25th December 2016 (CHRISTMAS DAY)
7.30am Holy Mass
9.30am Holy Mass
Saturday, 31st December (NEW YEAR’S EVE)
6pm – Holy Mass
Sunday 1st January 2017 (NEW YEAR’S DAY)
7.30am Mass | 9am Mass | 5pm Mass
SAINT MARY’S CATHOLIC CHURCH
Ash Wednesday – Mass at 7pm
Stations of the Cross – Every Friday at 7pm
Mass Times :
(NO 5 PM EVENING MASS ON EASTER SUDAY)