Monday, November 30, 2020

Just Christmas 2020

Religion comes with benefits that include festivals, spiritual connections, art, music, dance, literature, fashion, and so much more!!!

Sunday 29th November 2020 for example is New Years Day for Christians as the First Sunday of Advent sends everyone back to the front of worship books and missals.
For many it also marks the time to get those Christmas decorations out of storage and tizzy up the lounge room and other spaces.
Here at Casa Carina I have installed my somewhat post-modern, minimalist take on the traditional Christmas Tree.
This work is titled: Just Christmas
This is a work in progress that develops over the four weeks of Advent and then remains "in situ" for the 12 days of Christmas.
Week One:
The Bethlehem Star
The first of the four Advent ribbons.
An Icon from
L'Arche Internationale
in recognition of December 3rd as the International Day of People with Disability
Australian gum nuts, Kangaroo and First Nations art
Middle Eastern imagery
A Unicorn, medieval icon of the Christ.
More images will be posted as icons and other pieces are added.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Transphobia and Catholicism


Early today my old high school, St Joseph’s Christian Brothers College Geelong posted a positive message for Trans Awareness Week. 

Here is the response  I sent them:

This is the 50th Anniversary of my Year 12 group at St Joseph’s College  I am a life member of the St Joseph’s College Old Collegians and today I stand proud with a new generation of "Joeys" boys and staff as we acknowledge Trans Awareness Week

It is with great sadness I saw  that the college has made a decision to remove the post. It is even sadder that those who thrive on hate and intolerance have forced this decision. This is not a moral victory. It is a sad and woeful example of the prejudice and anti-Catholic sentiment coming out of the warrior keyboards.

Here is a post from the official Facebook page of "Joeys" today:

We have reluctantly taken down a post we made today due to too many people completely unrelated to the College simply wanting to share negativity, hate, exclusion and intolerance.

This does not benefit anyone and only feeds more negativity.

We promote tolerance, inclusivity and acceptance for all members of our community no matter their gender, gender identity or life choices. We will continue to do so to provide a safe and welcoming environment for our young men.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Michael Bernard Kelly RIP

Grieving the loss and grateful for the life and work of Michael Bernard Kelly, Gay Catholic, witness to the tradition, disciple of the Divine and another “Holy Irritant” to those who exclude the invited and demonize the different .

 Creative imp of a dynamic spirituality which gave us the Rainbow Sash Movement and the language of the Erotic Contemplative.

 Dance into the wedding feast of the lamb with the colours of the rainbow surrounding you and all who have lived the passion of human love in its rich diversity and expression.

 Michael Bernard Kelly RIP

Michael Bernard Kelly

Michael Bernard Kelly, our brother and friend, died on November, 2020. 

Born 27 July 1954. 

Son of Bernie and Marjie (both dec). 

Brother of Johnny (dec), Maureen, Brian and Noelene. 



Lover and creator of beauty. 

Rebel Catholic,

Teacher, priest and spiritual guide. 

Man of prayer, 

Voice of inclusion. 

Life as offering: ‘Here I am’. 

May St Francis and ‘sister death’ escort him deeper into the expanse of Mystery, to the One he has always loved and served.

We have been blessed.

Michael’s farewell ritual and burial will take place on a beautiful part of the coast he loved on Monday 23 November at 11.15am. His sister Noelene will contact friends with details in keeping with Covid restrictions.

In the gentle care of
Greenhaven Funerals
(03) 9569 0534


Kittredge Cherry

Michael was a personal friend and we were working on an interview for this Q Spirit blog in the last months before he died. Much of the content in this tribute comes from material he sent me to go with the interview.

He enjoyed reflecting with me about the role of art in his spiritual journey. “I have become very aware that we have very few images, symbols and icons of the Resurrection — compared with so many, many, many, images, rituals and symbols around the passion and crucifixion. I, too, have no shortage of those — and I love them dearly. However, at this stage of my life it is the Resurrection that draws me, and I want to focus on symbols and icons that express this,” he wrote in a recent email.

Australian Catholic for Equality

Today we hold in our thoughts and our hearts our dear sibling in Christ Dr Michael Bernard Kelly who for a lifetime loved, advocated and served his rainbow Catholic siblings. Eternal Rest be his, and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace, Amen.

I am deeply saddened to say goodbye to my beloved friend, mentor, brother, teacher, priest, bishop and fellow companion on the journey Michael Bernard Kelly. I will treasure your wisdom, guidance and love that you shared with me over all these wonderful years and I will be forever grateful that I was blessed to have you in my life. Trying to make sense of your passing I was reminded of the quote below from Henri Nouwen. Until the day we meet again on the distant shore go in peace and love my friend.
“Dying is a gradual diminishing and final vanishing over the horizon of life. When we watch a sailboat leaving port and moving toward the horizon, it becomes smaller and smaller until we can no longer see it. But we must trust that someone is standing on a faraway shore seeing that same sailboat become larger and larger until it reaches its new harbor. Death is a painful loss. But when we think about the One standing at the other shore eagerly waiting to welcome our beloved friend into a new home, a smile can break through our tears.“ HM Nouwen

Svante Talltorp
I am an old friend of M since 1995 when I lived in Melbourne for many years. Du you happen to know when and where the funeral for dear M will be held. I will light a candle in my parish church here in Stocholm Sweden. lived in Melbourne for many years and M and myself spend lots of times together. Deep talk over dinners at my place or at a cheap restaurant, or we went to see a movie together. A very good and close friendship which we kept up despite me moving to Sweden in late 2003. I have returned to Australia nearly every year. I met up with M often during all these visits. Last time I was I Melbourne was exactly one year ago

Friday, November 13, 2020

Year of Maronite Outreach Sunday of the Announcement to Zechariah

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As I wrote to you previously, I was in Lebanon during the month of October to participate in the meetings and work of the Annual Synod of Bishops held in Bkerke. I recently returned to Sydney. I thank God for a safe trip and I thank you for your prayers and well wishes for me personally and for the work of our Synod. The Synod meetings discussed many pressing social and national issues pertaining to Lebanon, as well as liturgical and ecclesiastical matters pertaining to our Maronite Church.

I felt that this visit to Lebanon was sadly different to every other visit before. The impact of the socio-economic crisis, the repercussions of the explosion at the port of Beirut, the stalemate situation of the political life and the health crisis caused by COVID-19 have had catastrophic effects on Lebanon and its people. It is estimated that unemployment has reached 60% and people are quickly falling below the poverty line. The price of food and goods has drastically increased and a number of medications and essentials have started to run out. This has resulted in mass migration from Lebanon by all: young, old, families and single people, hoping to find a better life anywhere else due to a lack of hope that the situation will change soon.

All this and the government is absent or doing very little to alleviate the pain and suffering of the Lebanese people. It has all been left to the NGOs and Church organisations working on the ground. These organisations are doing their best but the need is beyond their capability. At the moment, the best avenues to help the people of Lebanon is by supporting your relatives or friends there directly or by donating to the organisations in the diaspora sending aid or financial support to Lebanon. I thank you for your generosity and help.

In preparation for Christmas, our Eparchy in Australia, in collaboration with our diocesan organisations and in partnership with Caritas Lebanon, will launch a sponsorship program over the coming days, whereby a family in Australia can commit to donating $100USD per month to support one family in Lebanon. Caritas has a list of more than 15,000 families in need and $100USD, or $25 per week, may not be much for a family in Australia, but it can help a family in Lebanon buy its bare necessities. More details will be provided soon.

This Sunday in our Maronite Church is the Sunday of the Announcement to Zechariah and this week begins a new season of our liturgical year, the Season of the Glorious Birth. In this Gospel, we see that nothing is impossible for God. He sent a child to Zechariah and Elizabeth in their old age and fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that someone will come before Christ to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Isaiah 40:3). This prophecy was fulfilled in John the Baptist. Over the coming 7 weeks, we are called to prepare the way for the Lord in our Church and in our lives.

I wish you a good day with your families and a blessed Season of the Glorious Birth of our Lord, praying that you make way and room for the Lord in your homes and hearts

+Antione-Charbel Tarabay

Friday, October 30, 2020

Halloween, A Spiritual Journey

This evening, during Vespers, we will gather in silence in the cloister outside our church. Candles will be lit, holy water poured and sprinkled, sweet incense will curl its way through the air enveloping our senses, the organ will play and we will process slowly and solemnly into the church.

 Thus begins a holy time in our Church's year, a liminal time, a time when we enter into what the Celts call "a thin place", when the veil between heaven and earth is very thin. All Hallows Eve, All Saints Day and All Souls Day are the special days when we remember our dead. These are blessed days, days of celebration but also days of deep memory and connection. May we enter into this time, this "thin place" with stillness, reverence, reflection and gratitude (Source)

One of North America’s most well-known Bible scholars, Marcus Borg of Oregon State University, devotes a chapter to thin places in his best-selling book, The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith.

Playing down parapsychological understandings of thin places, Borg goes for a more naturalistic definition. He says thin places do not need to be strictly understood as times of year or geographical zones.

Instead, he calls on people to understand thin places as a universal metaphor — for any time when the human heart is truly opened to the sacred, to the presence of spirit

Borg believes there is a non-material dimension of reality. Thus, he says, we always live in two worlds — and thin places are places where these worlds meet, where the veil between the two realms is momentarily lifted.

As a liberal Christian, Borg thinks of a thin place as an entryway into “the commonwealth of God,” within which he says “we can move and breathe and have our being.” However, for Borg, thin places are not restricted to Christians.

I appreciate the way Borg says thin places occur almost anytime people open themselves through a “sacrament of the sacred” — which includes music, meditation, religious worship, nature experience, dream work, reading of scripture, silence, poetry, story, art and singing. Even an inspiring conversation can be a thin place.

In other words, Borg helpfully teaches that no one has to restrict the exploration of thin places to festive times of year, such as Halloween or Ghost Festivals, or to exceptional places, like famous “holy” spots.

Instead, religious or not, we can consider ourselves in a thin place almost any time we suddenly find ourselves alive to wonder, reverence and compassion. (Source)




Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Just Christmas 2020

  Religion comes with benefits that include festivals, spiritual connections, art, music, dance, literature, fashion, and so much more!!! Su...