CHRISTMAS MESSAGE 2023 (YR B)
Friday 22nd December 2023
My dear people,
The time we have been waiting for since the start of Advent is here; the Celebration of the Nativity of our Lord is almost upon us. The birth of Jesus is the decisive event in the history of salvation and of humanity. The birth of the Son of God brings us joy because it represents the light which removes all darkness, especially the darkness of sin.
Sunday 24 December | 6pm, 8:30pm & 12 midnight (with carols sung half-an-hour before)
Monday 25 December | 9am & 10:30am only (No 12pm Mass or evening services)
This year has certainly had its own set of challenges throughout the world. We remember the situation in the Middle East with the war which is raging there. We keep in mind that the situation in Ukraine is still not resolved. We know also that many parts of the world are ravaged by war. On our own shores we remember the tragedies of floods experienced by people living in Cairns. These events are terrible tragedies for they totally upset the livelihoods of people. That upset is certainly accentuated when these events lead to the loss of lives. We remember the need to pray for the repose of the souls of all who have died this year and to pray for strength and courage for those who remain. We remember also particularly all those families which for the first time will have an empty seat at the table. In my own family, we lost three great aunts and one great uncle since January, and we will feel the pain and loss of our loved ones.
Furthermore, we, disciples of Jesus, believe firmly that tragedies and evil are not the final word. The celebration of the birth of Jesus is an apt reminder that one day this child will suffer and die for us so that every tear will be wiped away. Once the tears are wiped and time starts diminishing the pain, we know that God will provide the strength and courage required to continue with our own pilgrimage. This certainty accompanies us in all parts of our lives, be it at our work or in our family and indeed in everything that makes up our lives.
While in no way diminishing the seriousness of the pain of loss, I thought that it would be good to think about our achievements as a parish community this year. This year, we have completed our tenth Alpha. Through Alpha, many people have gone deeper in their faith and have joined ministries as a way to serve God. Through our two catholic primary schools and the Society of Chistian Doctrine, more than 300 of our younger parishioners have either celebrated the Sacraments of Reconciliation or Confirmation or received Holy Communion for the first time. At the Easter Vigil, we have helped three parishioners complete their christian initiation. We were privileged to host John Pridmore for a three-day mission. We have run three Leadership Summits with ministry coordinators and, together with members of their ministries, they were privileged to hear from Ron Huntley himself. The last event of the year has been a resounding success, and I am referring here to our Carols by Candlelight. These are the main events and you and I know that there are many more smaller events which also need to be celebrated.
As we come to the end of the year I would like to sincerely thank, from the bottom of my heart, all the people who contribute to making our parish the wonderful community it is. I thank the office staff, the coordinators of ministries, and everyone involved in all the ministries. I would also like to thank the members of the Leadership Team. Most importantly, all of you, the disciples of Jesus Christ here at St Catherine of Siena Caroline Springs. Thank you for your support and your love, which I treasure immensely.
Please be advised that the parish office will be closed from noon today and will re-open on 2nd January. For the month of January, the office will operate at a slower pace and will close at 1:30pm. As such, this is the last of my weekly messages to you for 2023. They will resume the weekend following Australia Day.
My dear people, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year for 2024.
We continue turning to our patron saint and we ask for her intercession.
St Catherine of Siena, Pray for us.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr Richard Rosse PP