Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Churches call for Humane Treatment

February 18, 2019

The Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce and the National Council of Churches in Australia call for an end to the demonising of refugees and asylum seekers and a humane approach to their care and support.

As people of faith we welcome recent moves to bring all children in detention off Nauru.  We welcome the passing of the Medical Transfer Bill by our Australian Parliament of elected representatives. Both these measures are humane and in no way jeopardise our national security. But they do not go far enough.

As people of faith we reject any rhetoric that suggests Australia is facing a border protection crisis and that Australia needs to reopen Christmas Island as a detention facility.

As people of faith we call on people from all sides of politics, the media and society to avoid using language that seeks to demonise groups of people currently held in detention and other people wanting to come to Australia to seek a safe life.

As people of faith we call on politicians from all political parties to outline reasoned and humane policies that will end offshore detention.  We want to ensure the dignity and well-being of all in our care, including those people seeking safe refuge who are in Australia and being left destitute in our communities and neighbourhoods by current policy.

We urge the kind of welcome that lifted everyone’s spirits this week, with the return of Hakeem from detention in Thailand, who we all are embracing as one of our own.

Let us be clear. We are helping sick people because they need our help. That is enough to do well, now.

“Our Churches and agencies around the nation, as ever, stand ready to help, in partnership with our Government.”

FOR MEDIA COMMENT:                
Bishop Philip Huggins  0418 799 515

Bishop Philip Huggins of the Anglican Church of Australia is the current President of National Council of Churches in Australia and a founding member of the Australian Churches’ Refugee Taskforce.          

Jesuit Superior General Announces Four New Universal Apostolic Preferences

As the Plenary Council in Australia asks us to  share our story and help shape this historic journey for the Church in Australia there is a good suggestion  from the Jesuits announcement of their apostolic preferences.


Monday, February 18, 2019

The Web of the Cross

Jesus of the People Janet McKenzie
This online meditation was launched in 2000, the Year of Great Jubilee. I have published it  each year since  with updates to the links and reflections  as some material goes offline and new resources become available.

The Stations in this collection  are those used in the Melbourne Way of the Cross, an ecumenical devotion which began on Good Friday  2000 and  has continued each year as pilgrims process to Churches around the city.

The image, Jesus of the People by Janet McKenzie is kindly allowed for use by the artist. Janet's Stations of the Cross set has been published in a work featuring writings by Joan Chittister. 

How to Pray Online

Set aside a regular time for this prayer, perhaps when you ‘boot up” each day or as a way of closing your day’s work.Take your time to let the image music or text find a home in your heart.

I suggest you spread the” Stations” over several days or the whole season of Lent.The box indicating the number of each station is linked to the Scripture reference. The title of each station takes you to a  web site with a pastoral response.for your prayer and consideration.The music on this site reflects some of my own journey across various traditions that I hope you find inspiring and challenging.

Station 1 The Last Supper      
Richard Rohr Reflection              

Music: Eve of the Last Supper - Coptic Orthodox song

Anna Meszaros way of the cross

Station  2 The Garden 
To know the Cross by Thomas Merton   
Music: Lead Kindly Light

Station  3 Jesus Before the Sanhedrin 
Mark D Roberts Reflection  
Music: Be Not Afraid

Station  4  Jesus Before Pilate  
Reflection on Civil Disobedience  
Music : Taize: Stay With Me

Station  5 Jesus is Whipped and crowned with Thorns 
Amnesty International Australia Report 
Music: On Eagles Wings

Station  6 Jesus Carries His Cross
Richard Rohr Reflection 
Music: If You Want Your Dream To Be

Station  7 Jesus is Helped by Simon
The Servant Song 
Music: Amazing Grace

Station 8 Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
The Justice System and Aboriginal Women 
Music: We Are

Station  9 Jesus is Crucified 
A Movie Review of "The Passion" 
Anna Meszaros way of the cross

Music: PETROS GAITANOS – Idou O Nymfios

Station 10 Jesus and the Good Thief
Sojourners, Set the Captives Free 
Music: Christ be Our Light

Station  11 Jesus Speaks to Mary and John
 The Feminist Rosary 
Music: Stabat Mater 

Station 12 Jesus Dies 
Reflection: John Dominic Crossan 
Music: Behold Behold the Wood of the Cross

Station  13 Jesus is Buried 
Transition Rituals  
Music: On The Turning Away

Station  14 Jesus Rises From the Dead
Reflection: Joan Chittister  
Music: A Russian Resurrection

Thursday, February 14, 2019

World Day of Prayer invites all to 'Come - Everything is Ready'

World Day of Prayer 2019 artwork by Rezka Arnus of Slovenia.
World Day of Prayer 2019 artwork by Rezka Arnus of Slovenia.
The World Day of Prayer, to be held on Friday, March 1 is being hosted by Slovenia this year, with the theme, ‘Come –
Everything is ready’, from Luke 14:15-24. 

The World Day of Prayer is a global ecumenical movement led by Christian women who welcome all to join in prayer and action for peace and justice.  
It is run under the motto “Informed Prayer and Prayerful Action,” and is celebrated annually in over 170 countries on the first Friday in March. The movement aims to bring together women of various races, cultures and traditions in a yearly common Day of Prayer, as well as in closer fellowship, understanding and action throughout the year. 

At the core of this year’s theme for World Day of Prayer is an invitation – Come. And to enable the response – Everything is ready.  Come to praise, thank, and proclaim the kingdom of love. 
The invitation is grounded in the parable that Jesus told about a great dinner which was attended by the ones called off the streets, as the ones invited excused themselves. The community formed around the table is not enough to fill the house – there is still room. Who are missing from the table in your community? 

The WDP Committee for Slovenia say that the artist for the World Day of Prayer image, Rezka Arnu┼í, wanted to present two topics with her artwork.  

“(They are) the country of Slovenia and the main biblical story of the worship service. At the top there are women dressed in national traditional costumes. The semicircular ornament with Slovenian folk embroidery represents a plate or a table with their best known national dish – potica – and grapes from various wine producing vineyards,” the committee writes.

“Partly under the table, one can see the children from the margins of the society. They heard the invitation to the feast. The red and white colours used reflect Slovenian folk embroidery. The green background colour emphasises the green Slovenia, fields and forests. The warm colours of children express the joy of heartfelt invitation.” 

If you or your community are interested in taking part in the World Day of Prayer in Australia there is a list of worship services available on the WDP Australian website here, as well as resources for celebrating the day here.

Blessing of the Rivers Ritual

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Know Your Place at WYD Panama

Source: Diocese of Townsville FB Page

Source: Archdiocese of Sydney FB Page

Source: Archdiocese of Sydney FB Page

Looking at the images of enthusiastic young Aussies attending World Youth Day in Panama I wonder how many of them could give the traditional name of their place of origin as they introduce themselves?
There are pics of young pilgrims with large Commonwealth of Australia flags. However I have yet to see that anyone has also carried our other National Flags of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples to this international gathering.
Learning the Aboriginal meaning of place names will deepen our connection to the land we all live on, say Indigenous historians, at the launch of the ABC's This Place project.
Bunurong, Punniler panner and Yuin author and historian Bruce Pascoe lives on the junction of three rivers near Mallacoota, on the southern end of Yuin country.
All three rivers have Aboriginal names which point to the richness and cultural significance of the area.
"Something like 60-70 per cent of place names in Australia are Aboriginal names," Mr Pascoe said.
"They show how deeply and intimately our old people knew the land, how much they loved and respected the country. It's something we should all be proud of."
Mr Pascoe is a committee member of First Languages Australia, which has launched This Place in partnership with the ABC.

This UN Year of Indigenous Languages offers a great opportunity for leadership from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and those responsible for Youth Ministry in my Church.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Brisbane Shrine to St Mary MacKillop and Victims of Abuse

This chapel began life  following the 1989 renovations at the Cathedral of St Stephen in Brisbane as a tribute to the spirit of faith in the First Nations Peoples with wonderful works by Fiona Foley. A concerted campaign of vilification by Catholic racists pressured Archbishop John Bathersby to remove he images. 

The chapel space was then reconfigured as an Ecumenical space with framed copies of inter church covenants on display. 

Now in its third "reno" the ecumenical spirit has also been removed to make way for a duplicate shrine to St Mary of the Cross.

 Mass and Dedication of the new Shrine 21 October 2018


Thursday, January 10, 2019

International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking

Together Against Human Trafficking: Are you ready to celebrate the International Day of Prayer and Awareness Against Human Trafficking on February 8th? It is not too early to start preparing.

The theme for the 2019 celebration is Together Against Human Trafficking. Resources for schools, parishes, organisations and individuals are available on the ACRATH website .

Pope Francis established this day in 2015. He continues to speak out about the evils of human trafficking, urging us all to do what we can to raise awareness of this "scourge on humanity", work towards its elimination and support those who have been affected by this crime. ---

“Every human being, man, woman, boy and girl, is made in God’s image. God is the love and freedom that is given in interpersonal relationships, and every human being is a free person destined to live for the good of others in equality and fraternity. Every person, and all people, are equal and must be accorded the same freedom and the same dignity. Any discriminatory relationship that does not respect the fundamental conviction that others are equal is a crime, and frequently an aberrant crime.

Therefore, we declare on each and every one of our creeds that modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labor and prostitution, and organ trafficking, is a crime against humanity. Its victims are from all walks of life, but are most frequently among the poorest and most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. On behalf of all of them, our communities of faith are called to reject, without exception, any systematic deprivation of individual freedom for the purposes of personal or commercial exploitation; in their name, we make this declaration.”
— Declaration on International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Dec. 2, 2014

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Twelfth Day of Christmas: Swap Clothes for the Misrule is Here!!

Today is a great day for a party and the rules call for frivolity, cross-dressing and wonderful recipes for food and drink. It is the day to rediscover "Wassailing and Mumming".

At the start of Twelfth Night the Twelfth Night cake was eaten. This was a rich cake made with eggs and butter, fruit, nuts and spices. The modern Italian Panettone is the cake we currently have that's most like the old Twelfth Night cake.
A dried pea or bean was cooked in the cake. Whoever found it was the Lord (or Lady) of Misrule for night. The Lord of Misrule led the celebrations and was dressed like a King (or Queen). This tradition goes back to the Roman celebrations of Saturnalia. In later times, from about the Georgian period onwards, to make the Twelfth Night 'gentile', two tokens were put in the cake (one for a man and one for a women) and whoever found them became the the 'King' and 'Queen' of the Twelfth Night party.
In English Cathedrals, during the middle ages, there was the custom of the 'Boy Bishop' where a boy from the Cathedral or monastery school was elected as a Bishop on 6th December (St Nicholas's Day) and had the authority of a Bishop (except to perform Mass) until 28th December. King Henry VIII banned the practice in 1542 although it came back briefly under Mary I in 1552 but Elizabeth I finally stopped it during her reign.We keep this a remnant of tradition alive in Australia with the current Catholic Archbishop of Sydney affectionately known as "Boy George".

It's a busy day as it's time to take down your Christmas decorations and install those missing three kings to the Nativity set at least for the day. When you have completed your Christmas duties and feasted with great gusto you will probably be ready to sit back and watch the midnight  hour approach with a good dose of Shakespearean comedy: