Dear parishioners, visitors & friends,
This weekend precisely Sunday 8 August we celebrate the Feast of Saint Mary MacKillop. All over Australia and New Zealand, we will see a departure from the rest of the Church’s liturgical calendar. This is a great feast for the Church of Christ especially in Australia as Saint Mary Mackillop remains, at this stage, the only Australian canonised saint in the church’s liturgical calendar. Every Christian is called to be saint. In fact, it needs to be our ultimate desire and longing. We all long to see God face to face, when all is done and dusted with this life. And the one and only thing, which can guarantee us a place with God is holiness. “Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord,” (Hebrews 12:14). Without holiness no one will see God. The holy God can only be seen by holy people. This might sound scary and it is scary. But it’s important for us to realise that no one is born a saint. Sinners become saints. Every saint is a redeemed sinner. Saints were ordinary people and typical human beings whose lives were characterised by utter obedience and trust in God. Saint Mary of the Cross was not born a saint. She became a saint. It was Saint Pope John Paul II who beatified Saint MacKillop in 1995, before canonizing her in October 2010, thereby making her the first Australian person to be raised to the order of sainthood. Saint Mary MacKillop is the patron saint of Australia and the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Brisbane as well as the patron saint of the Knights of the Southern Cross. In our ever-increasing secular world, the idea of becoming saints might sometimes sound strange and utopic. But this is the vocation of every human person. We are called to be saints and we can be saints if we trust God in everything about our lives. The path to sainthood involves not just doing what is good, but also in doing exactly the good things God chooses for us. This is the daily path of sanctity which we need to walk, step by step, day by day, choice by choice. During the prayers of the faithful at all our weekend Masses, we pray for vocations. When we pray for vocations, it is not only vocations to the priesthood and religious life. As Christians, the first call we have is not so much to do something, but to be something. Each one of us is called to be holy. And holiness is not only to be identified with any particular state in life. Either as a priest, a married couple or single, a student, an engineer, a truck driver, a gardener, business owner, a medical practitioner, a retiree or as someone still in active service, our daily activities furnish us with plenty of opportunities to be saints. As we live our life every day and do what we have to do, we grow in the perfection of the virtues of faith, hope and love, that make for true sanctity, when we surrender ourselves, our wills and our lives to God and allow God to use our daily activities to shape us. Pope Francis once said that: ‘holiness is letting God write the story of our lives.’ We put ourselves on the path to sainthood every day when we ‘accept what is, let go of what was and have faith in what will be.’ When we are baptized, we receive the call to holiness. From that moment, our lives are no longer our own. “It is no longer I who live,” says Saint Paul, “but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave his life for me (Gal 2:19-20).” Saint Mary of the Cross was a woman who had an incredible sense of trust in God’s providence. We can learn from her life how we can trust in God’s unfailing providence as we continue to go through these periods of lockdown. In our country where some people feel out of control, and panic whenever there is a lockdown, panic buying and stockpiling of non-essential goods like toilet paper have become the new normal. If stockpiling of toilet paper is all that we can worry about in the face of lockdown, then we have nothing to worry about. I am not here to provide an alternative to toilet paper but it’s not the first thing most people in Africa and some Asian countries would stock up in the face of a lockdown.
Saint Mary of the Cross’s stories are extraordinarily amazing and yet familiar enough to motivate and inspire us in our daily struggles with life. I claim these words of Jesus Christ as mine as I conclude this reflection: “therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his or her life span? “(Matthew 5:25-27). I don’t see why, in the next 100 years, there will not be more Australian canonised saints, if we live today and every day in utter trust and obedience to God, who may sometimes surprise us but who never abandons nor forsakes those who put their hope and trust in Him.
God bless you all.
Fr. John Ikechukwu Echewodo Parish Priest
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)