30th Week Ordinary Time: Message from Fr Jerome
This Sunday (1/11) we will be trying something new. We announced at the online Mass that in addition to the online Mass, we would be having communion services from 10am-noon. This is purely for the purposes of distributing the Blessed Sacrament. I want to say a few words of explanation as to what we are doing this.
As you know, the celebration of the Eucharist is the centre of our lives. This celebration has many parts all of which cohere in the person of Christ. We need to come together. We need open our hearts. We need to receive God’s Word. We need to offer ourselves in response. We need to beg Christ to make us part of his offering, requesting the Father to see us in his Only Beloved Son and then give us this divine life. We must communicate, so as to become food for others in the image of Christ. This is the Mass and nothing replaces this.
This is why the Church restricts communion services to exceptional circumstances, such as taking communion to those who cannot attend Mass, whether because someone is sick or because there is no priest for Sunday Mass. It is to stop the Blessed Sacrament being removed from its context, to stop it becoming something individualistic, something divorced from the Church, the Body of Christ. That is why in Melbourne there is really never a reason for a communion service except for communion to the sick and elderly. There are heaps of priests; there is always a Sunday Mass we can attend. That is up until now.
Our parish has done what we can within the rules. We have opened our doors when we can. We have gone online. We have invited limited numbers. All of this is not a true parish Mass. A true parish Mass is where all disciples are welcome. But we think these are exceptional circumstances and therefore we propose to try a communion service this Sunday. What do we mean by this?
First, the 9am Mass will continue. You may have read that we can now have some people at Mass. We will look into this for following weeks. Second, from 10am until noon, people can come to the Church for reception of communion. At the moment, we are allowed 20 people outdoors. Therefore, when you arrive, please find Bernadette at the presbytery door. She will have hand-wash and will take your names (as per requirement) and organise groups. Then, in your group, please move as directed to one of the stations indicated.
There will be a basic liturgy (penitential rite, our Father, Rite of Communion and dismissal). We hope to have the gospel on a handout, but please read this either before or after. This is necessary for receiving the Blessed Sacrament; however, we are hoping people tune in to Mass or read it themselves, and we are trying to minimise time in groups. As usual, the homily can be found online usually a day later.
We do not expect crowds of people; however, common sense suggests hanging back if you see too many people in line. Since the liturgy will be short and we can attend to 20 people at a time, we believe the wait will not be long. Thanks in advance for your patience.
Problems with the phones
Due to a mix-up, our phone-lines are currently not working. This occurred following our connection to the NBN. However, there is a temporary number which will be on our website. You can also contact us by email. We apologise for this inconvenience. We will let you know when the phones are back up again.
Alternatively, you can call St Colman’s Parish on 9527 4106 to speak with Anna who can reach me, too.
Petition for Equal Treatment with Business
Please consider reading and signing the petition seeking equal treatment for people of faith. This pertains to the roadmap to COVID-Normal. The signatories are asking that places of worship be treated the same as other parts of the community, with the same responsibilities and the same opportunities.
Please note: unfortunately, there are a bunch of negative comments associated with this petition. Please just read the petition to see whether you agree of not; don’t waste time on the comments. https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/faith-equality
Volunteers for church cleaning
You might remember when the church was opened to limited numbers in the middle of the year, we had to keep an hour between Masses for cleaning the church. This looks like it will be required again. When the numbers are low, this is not a big job, but as it gets to 20 and then 50 inside, we will probably need a few more volunteers.
Please let Amy or Bernadette know via email if you would be able to help with this.
Change in school governance
Starting the beginning of next year, there will be a change to how our primary school will be governed. This change in governance is because the State Government has changed its requirements in relation to the provisions of funds. Consequently, a new corporate entity has been established. The Archbishop will be the sole member of the company and is currently appointing a board. Catholic Education Melbourne (CEM) will become the internal management of the company. Also, all schools will become part of the company. As such, there must be an agreement between parishes and schools as to the use of parish property and assets. Likewise, all school employment contracts must move into the company. This process is taking place at the moment. If you would like to more about this change, please visit the following website where you will find a lot of briefing documents, a discussion of the process as well as key position papers and agreements: https://governance.melbourne/.
We have been discussing with the school, the parish finance committee, the parish education board, the Archdiocesan Property and Infrastructure Office and CEM throughout the year. I think we are in good shape. If you have any questions, please email me at the parish office.