THE PARISH OF BAULKHAM HILLS

Click here to go to St Michael's church site.

Email St Michael's at admin@parishofbaulkhamhills.org.au

Phone: +61 2 9639 0598

 

Click here to go to Our Lady Of Lourdes church site.

Email Our Lady of Lourdes at olol@parishofbaulkhamhills.org.au

                                 Phone: +61 2 9639 8385

 

 

       

 

COVID UPDATE – FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 17

A COVID SAFE PARISH

 

 

Dear Parishioners,

 

We are in a sort of limbo as we await an easing of restrictions sometime next month. Along with many other easing of restrictions is the opening of places of worship and thus Churches to the 4 sq metre rule. We are grateful for this.

 

However under proposed government rules, it would appear that only those who are fully vaccinated, and can show this, will be able to attend the place of worship, and we are still waiting for clarification on this point. As it won’t take place for probably another month, we will advise accordingly.

 

In the meantime, it would be best to ensure you have had the two jabs and are fully vaccinated, so that we can all worship and come to Mass again.

 

As always, you are invited to attend Mass via our YOUTUBE link as noted below.

 

PARISH GATHERINGS –

 

I’ve noticed a drop in the coffee gatherings, while there is a consistent number of parishioners attending the prayer evenings on Tuesday and Thursday.

 

The Coffee and Tea gatherings provide an opportunity to meet, say hi over a cup of tea or coffee and see how we’re all going; and the Evening sessions give us an opportunity to pray together the Rosary, the Litany of Our Lady and Night Prayer.

 

Please join us when you can all you have to do now is click or (Ctrl+click) on the links “Coffee and Tea Gatherings” or “Rosary and Night Prayer” given in the next paragraph.

 

·     Monday 10.30am - ZOOM Morning tea

·     Tuesday 7.30pm – ZOOM Rosary and Night Prayer Session

·     Wednesday 2.30pm – ZOOM Afternoon tea

·     Thursday 7.30pm – ZOOM Rosary and Night Prayer

·     Friday 10.30am – ZOOM Morning tea

 

These are the links for the Coffee and Tea gatherings and the Rosary and Night Prayer, so all you have to do is (hold down Ctrl +) click on them 5 minutes or so before they are due to start, and you will go into the waiting room. You will be admitted. Please ensure ZOOM is loaded onto your device. The links remain the same for these two events.

 

If these times do not suit, or you’d like other opportunities to connect, please let us know.

 

LIVESTREAMING

Mass will be live streamed on Saturday evening at 6pm from Our Lady of Lourdes, and available for viewing afterwards via the link. We are also using FACEBOOK links via the Parish of Baulkham Hills FACEBOOK page. Thank you to Jim and Brian for your help with this every week.

 

The link for Saturday evening’s 6pm Mass for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time is https://youtu.be/MjYmZ3rFl0A.  As always it is livestreamed at 6pm Sydney time, and then available on YouTube. Also now available via Parish of Baulkham Hills Facebook page.

 

SACRAMENTAL PROGRAMS

With the news announced by the Government, there is hope that we may be able to celebrate the sacraments of Confirmation and Communion throughout November. This will be of course dependent on vaccination status. We await further clarification of this matter.

 

ALPHA

Please pray for those who are involved in the Thursday ALPHA program of formation and reflection.

 

FAN THE FLAME: TOWARDS THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY ONE OCTOBER 2021

‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me.’ (Mark 9:30-37)

 

Our parishes in particular are challenged to renew the formation of children, young  people and families who may not be strongly  connected to the Church but who still have an  ‘instinct for the faith’ which prompts them to  seek the sacraments or engage in part with of  the Church’s life. (Instrumentum Laboris n.133)

 

 

A fuller reflection on aspects of the Plenary Assembly for your consideration and prayer follows these notices.                    www.plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au

 

ST PAUL, HIS LIFE AND TEACHING

This week we continue Pope Benedict’s’ catechesis on the life of St Paul and his teaching, which was given in 2008. This week’s focus is on Paul’s conversion.

 

BISHOP’S FATHER’S DAY APPEAL – thank you

Thank you for caring for our retired clergy

 

Thanks to your kind and compassionate support, the Clergy Support Foundation can continue to ensure our priests’ physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing is nurtured. And, where needed, support our ageing priests’ daily living, health care and medical expenses; along with home comforts and essentials for living well.

 

The Clergy Foundation Committee is very grateful for your generous donations over the last few weeks, both via online portal or by mail, now close to half our target.  Hopefully we will soon be able to hold the appeal in our parishes.

 

Thanks again and if you haven’t yet made a donation and would like to, please visit parracatholic.org/fathersdayappeal or call (02) 8838 3482.

 

PRAYERS PLEASE

In your mercy please pray for those who have died recently – including Richard Cassin, Iris Stephen, Richard Rivas, Mick Ryan, Patricia Seymour and our COVID casualties in NSW and throughout the world, and those whose anniversaries occur around this time – Joyce Brunstein, Kathleen Lemon, Hilda Norbury, Robert Gleeson, Mary Berghouse, Alan Rutherford, Bernardina Figueira, Eleuterio Figueira and Antoun El-Alam.

 

MAILING LIST

A reminder that if you would like to be part of a parish email list for updates plus copies of the bulletin, and are not currently receiving any emails from the parish, please send an email to wimh@parishofbaulkhamhills.org.au – please also indicate if you are regularly a worshipper at Our Lady of Lourdes or St Michael’s.

 

In these difficult times, if you need pastoral support or hear of anyone in need of assistance from a priest, the Parish Office or Vinnies, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Fr Wim

 

SUPPORT DONATIONS

Even though our Churches are closed, I would like to thank those who have made contributions to our parish and priests at this time. To assist proper recording for the second collection, please include your envelope number if you have one.

 

For EFT to the First Collection - supporting the priests

               BSB                                  067 950

               Account No                    000004265

               Account Name              Diocesan Clergy

               Reference                       6001 your name

 

For EFT to the second (envelope and loose) Collection – for support of the Parish,

               BSB                                  067 950

               Account No                    000000214

               Account Name              St Michael’s Baulkham Hills

               Reference                       Envelope Number or Your Name

 

If you wish to pay by credit card, please use this link https://www.bpoint.com.au/pay/stmichaelsparishbaulkhamhills

 

 

 

PLENARY ASSEMBLY REFLECTION FOR 25th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

GOSPEL 

‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me.’ Mark 9:30-37

 

REFLECTION

41. Catholic schools make a significant impact as they educate more than 750,000 students. As “places of evangelisation, formation and enculturation”,75 they allow  students and teachers to explore and  experience the Catholic faith tradition.  Catholic education offices have developed new curricula and pedagogies in religious education that relate to the contemporary student population of our schools.  For many children, the first time they hear about God in a substantial way—or experience prayer and liturgy—is through attendance at a Catholic school.

 

43. Catholic schools and other pastoral care services are an integral part of most parishes and for many children and their families, the school is their primary point of contact with the Catholic community.

 

59. The Church recognises that parents are the first and foremost educators of their children and share responsibility with the Church in ensuring their children’s participation in the life of Christ. The number of children receiving baptism is declining and many families who seek this sacrament are not closely connected with a parish community.

 

133. Our parishes in particular are challenged to renew the formation of children, young people and families who may not be strongly connected to the Church but who still have an ‘instinct for the faith’ which prompts them to seek the sacraments or engage in part with of the Church’s life. The great challenge of accompaniment, as promoted by Pope Francis, is to encounter people where they are in order to, according to help them take some further steps along the journey of faith. In seeking to apply this general principle to catechesis and formation, there will be a need  for a deeper understanding of evangelisation  and effective outreach to those near and far,  and for the advice and expertise of people well-formed in listening, spiritual discernment  and supporting the growth of discipleship.

 

180. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse shone a light upon child abuse in church and civic institutions, underlining the widespread and systemic nature of this social evil. While recognising that much has been done to address past failures by the Church in this area, the National Consultation calls for even greater efforts to learn from and care for survivors of abuse, and to strengthen the Church's role as a champion for the safety of children, young people, and more vulnerable adults in society.

 

Inclusive, Participatory & Synodal

Particular concern was expressed for people with special needs and parents and families where children have special needs, who often feel excluded from parish and school life. It is proposed that priority be given to building better training of pastors and educators to assist in the integration of adults and children with special needs. Catholics must tirelessly and fearlessly affirm the unique dignity of each and every child, and the inestimable value of the labours of every parent. (p.16)

 

Prayerful and Eucharistic

The family is the usual birthplace of faith and the Church recognises that parents are the first and foremost educators of their children (Gravissimus Educationis, 3). The number of children receiving Baptism in Australia is declining (T. Dantis, personal communication).  Families who seek this sacrament for their children may not be closely connected with a parish or faith community. Parents and  caregivers continue to value Catholic education, even if their children are not baptised Catholic, with one out of every five Australian students attending a Catholic school (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2019). (p.7)

 

Australian Catholic schools are diverse, vibrant environments where students and teachers have the opportunity to explore and experience the Catholic faith tradition. For many children, the first time they hear about God in a substantial way — or experience prayer and liturgy — is through attendance at a Catholic school. Teachers are, in many ways, actively on mission in their schools, reaching out to all and encouraging students and parents alike toward participation and witness. (p.7)

 

Universal Prayer Petition 

For the Plenary Council Assemblies of 2021 and 2022: that the Assemblies to be held this year and next year will renew the Church making it humbler and hopeful. (Pause for silent prayer)

Lord, hear us.

 

Reflection  

Our parishes in particular are challenged to renew the formation of children, young  people and families who may not be strongly  connected to the Church but who still have an  ‘instinct for the faith’ which prompts them to  seek the sacraments or engage in part with of  the Church’s life. (Instrumentum Laboris n.133)

________________________________________________________________________

ST PAUL, HIS LIFE AND HIS TEACHING (Pope Benedict – given in 2008, the year of St Paul))

 

3. St Paul’s Conversion

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today's Catechesis is dedicated to the experience that Paul had on his way to Damascus, and therefore on what is commonly known as his conversion. It was precisely on the road to Damascus, at the beginning of the 30s in the first century and after a period in which he had persecuted the Church that the decisive moment in Paul's life occurred. Much has been written about it and naturally from different points of view. It is certain that he reached a turning point there, indeed a reversal of perspective. And so he began, unexpectedly, to consider as "loss" and "refuse" all that had earlier constituted his greatest ideal, as it were the raison d'être of his life (cf. Phil 3: 7-8). What had happened?

In this regard we have two types of source. The first kind, the best known, consists of the accounts we owe to the pen of Luke, who tells of the event at least three times in the Acts of the Apostles (cf. 9: 1-19; 22: 3-21; 26: 4-23). The average reader may be tempted to linger too long on certain details, such as the light in the sky, falling to the ground, the voice that called him, his new condition of blindness, his healing like scales falling from his eyes and the fast that he made. But all these details refer to the heart of the event: the Risen Christ appears as a brilliant light and speaks to Saul, transforms his thinking and his entire life. The dazzling radiance of the Risen Christ blinds him; thus what was his inner reality is also outwardly apparent, his blindness to the truth, to the light that is Christ. And then his definitive "yes" to Christ in Baptism restores his sight and makes him really see.

In the ancient Church Baptism was also called "illumination", because this Sacrament gives light; it truly makes one see. In Paul what is pointed out theologically was also brought about physically: healed of his inner blindness, he sees clearly. Thus St Paul was not transformed by a thought but by an event, by the irresistible presence of the Risen One whom subsequently he would never be able to doubt, so powerful had been the evidence of the event, of this encounter. It radically changed Paul's life in a fundamental way; in this sense one can and must speak of a conversion. This encounter is the centre St Luke's account for which it is very probable that he used an account that may well have originated in the community of Damascus. This is suggested by the local colour, provided by Ananias' presence and by the names, of both the street and the owner of the house in which Paul stayed (Acts 9: 11).

The second type of source concerning the conversion consists in St Paul's actual Letters. He never spoke of this event in detail, I think because he presumed that everyone knew the essentials of his story: everyone knew that from being a persecutor he had been transformed into a fervent apostle of Christ. And this had not happened after his own reflection, but after a powerful event, an encounter with the Risen One. Even without speaking in detail, he speaks on various occasions of this most important event, that, in other words he too is a witness of the Resurrection of Jesus, the revelation of which he received directly from Jesus, together with his apostolic mission. The clearest text found is in his narrative of what constitutes the centre of salvation history: the death and Resurrection of Jesus and his appearances to witnesses (cf. 1 Cor 15). In the words of the ancient tradition, which he too received from the Church of Jerusalem, he says that Jesus died on the Cross, was buried and after the Resurrection appeared risen first to Cephas, that is Peter, then to the Twelve, then to 500 brethren, most of whom were still alive at Paul's time, then to James and then to all the Apostles. And to this account handed down by tradition he adds, "Last of all... he appeared also to me" (1 Cor 15: 8). Thus he makes it clear that this is the foundation of his apostolate and of his new life. There are also other texts in which the same thing appears: "Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship" (cf. Rm 1: 4-5); and further: "Have I not seen Jesus Our Lord?" (1 Cor 9: 1), words with which he alludes to something that everyone knows. And lastly, the most widely known text is read in Galatians: "But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were Apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia; and again I returned to Damascus" (1: 15-17). In this "self-apology" he definitely stresses that he is a true witness of the Risen One, that he has received his own mission directly from the Risen One.

Thus we can see that the two sources, the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters of St Paul, converge and agree on the fundamental point: the Risen One spoke to Paul, called him to the apostolate and made him a true Apostle, a witness of the Resurrection, with the specific task of proclaiming the Gospel to the Gentiles, to the Greco-Roman world. And at the same time, Paul learned that despite the immediacy of his relationship with the Risen One, he had to enter into communion with the Church, he himself had to be baptized, he had to live in harmony with the other Apostles. Only in such communion with everyone could he have been a true apostle, as he wrote explicitly in the First Letter to the Corinthians: "Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed" (15: 11). There is only one proclamation of the Risen One, because Christ is only one.

As can be seen, in all these passages Paul never once interprets this moment as an event of conversion. Why? There are many hypotheses, but for me the reason is very clear. This turning point in his life, this transformation of his whole being was not the fruit of a psychological process, of a maturation or intellectual and moral development. Rather it came from the outside: it was not the fruit of his thought but of his encounter with Jesus Christ. In this sense it was not simply a conversion, a development of his "ego", but rather a death and a resurrection for Paul himself. One existence died and another, new one was born with the Risen Christ. There is no other way in which to explain this renewal of Paul. None of the psychological analyses can clarify or solve the problem. This event alone, this powerful encounter with Christ, is the key to understanding what had happened: death and resurrection, renewal on the part of the One who had shown himself and had spoken to him. In this deeper sense we can and we must speak of conversion. This encounter is a real renewal that changed all his parameters. Now he could say that what had been essential and fundamental for him earlier had become "refuse" for him; it was no longer "gain" but loss, because henceforth the only thing that counted for him was life in Christ.

Nevertheless we must not think that Paul was thus closed in a blind event. The contrary is true because the Risen Christ is the light of truth, the light of God himself. This expanded his heart and made it open to all. At this moment he did not lose all that was good and true in his life, in his heritage, but he understood wisdom, truth, the depth of the law and of the prophets in a new way and in a new way made them his own. At the same time, his reasoning was open to pagan wisdom. Being open to Christ with all his heart, he had become capable of an ample dialogue with everyone, he had become capable of making himself everything to everyone. Thus he could truly be the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Turning now to ourselves, let us ask what this means for us. It means that for us too Christianity is not a new philosophy or a new morality. We are only Christians if we encounter Christ. Of course, he does not show himself to us in this overwhelming, luminous way, as he did to Paul to make him the Apostle to all peoples. But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we truly become Christians. And in this way our reason opens, all Christ's wisdom opens as do all the riches of truth.
Therefore let us pray the Lord to illumine us, to grant us an encounter with his presence in our world, and thus to grant us a lively faith, an open heart and great love for all, which is capable of renewing the world.