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We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, as the traditional caretakers of the land which is the Richmond Catholic Parish.

We acknowledge the Elders, past and present.

May we, too, be good stewards of this land.

Commemorating the 150th year of St Ignatius' Church

St Ignatius' Church 150th Anniversary Commemorative book2017 marks 150 years since the building of St Ignatius' Church.  Our parish celebrated this occasion with a specially arranged Mass at 9:30am on Sunday 30 July 2017 with Fr Brian F McCoy SJ, Provincial, as main celebrant. Concelebrants included the priests of our parish - Fr Nguyễn Viết Huy SJ, Parish Priest, Fr Tro Tran Van SJ, and Fr Ferruccio Romanin SJ - and many other Jesuit priests.

At the Mass, one of our parishioners, Dr Therese Keogh shared a Reflection: 150th Anniversary of St Ignatius' Church.

It was wonderful to see many parishioners, especially past parishioners, at the Eucharistic Celebration and in the parish hall for morning tea afterwards. Thank you to all who joined us in making it a memorable day.

A photographic book to commemorate this historic church (cover seen at right), launched at the Sesquicentenary Mass, is now available to purchase at a special price for a limited time.


Jesus and the Canaanite woman PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 20 August 2017: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Jesus and the Canaanite womanWoman, you have great faith

Sometimes the gospel narrative has a ring of authenticity that is unmistakeable. The response of Jesus to the Canaanite woman, in today’s reading, must have been puzzling - even embarrassing - to Christian converts from both Jewish and Gentile backgrounds. Jesus, in fact, echoes the Jewish custom in his time, of referring to Gentiles as ‘dogs’. It can only have been retained in the gospel tradition because it was what he had said. Those who heard the brave woman pleading for her daughter against all odds – she was an outsider appealing to a Jewish teacher, a plaintive voice in a very masculine world – must have remembered her story as a remarkable moment in the life of the Saviour. What is more, she is remembered as seeming to get the better of Jesus in their exchange. But this exchange leads, in the end, to a moment that those who witnessed it would never forget, confronting them with the generous and inclusive ways of God: ‘Woman, your have great faith. Let your wish be granted’.

Once again we should recall that this incident is included in a narrative section of Matthew’s gospel, in which Jesus is instructing his disciples. A significant part of the community for whom this gospel was written had belonged to a Jewish community that was extremely exclusive and intolerant. This attitude is puzzling, because the Old Testament scriptures included a remarkable vision of God’s plan as ultimately inclusive of all peoples. Abraham was promised that he would be father of many nations; the prophets looked forward to the peoples of the world – even Israel’s enemies – flocking to Jerusalem to worship the true God. In today’s reading from Isaiah, the prophet declares, in the name of God, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples’...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image [detail] of Jesus and the Canaanite Woman by Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Having trust and fear PDF Print E-mail

Trust and fear - which way?Sunday 13 August 2017: Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Command me to come to you over the water

Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side while he would send the crowds away.

After sending the crowds away he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

When evening came, he was there alone, while the boat, by now far out on the lake, was battling with a heavy sea, for there was a head-wind. In the fourth watch of the night he went towards them, walking on the lake, and when the disciples saw him walking on the lake they were terrified. ‘It is a ghost’ they said, and cried out in fear. But at once Jesus called out to them, saying, ‘Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid.’

19 August: World Humanitarian Day

This day was instituted to remember people who have served in humanitarian missions and especially those who have lost their lives in the course of their service. It is an opportunity to call to mind the people who have gone before us, and especially to honour our martyrs. These include Christians who were killed because of their faith or because they recognised how precious each human being is regardless of race or religion, and dedicated their lives to serve them when they were under threat. They both inspire us and keep us honest.

It also reminds us how important it is for all community groups, including Jesuit Social Services, our parishes and schools, to remember the people who have inspired us and have shaped our ministries and our way of working. Their stories, including their foibles and the mistakes they made and made up for, show what our we are about. They do so, not in the language of mission statements and corporate speak, but in the messy language of lived lives and relationships.

In any organisation the arteries that keep us energetically alive can easily be hardened, with the result that we live half-lives. We can keep our eyes on the desk, focusing on the ways we have always done things without noticing the changes in the lives and circumstances of the living people whom we serve. It is easy, too, gradually to become discouraged by the difficulty of our work, by the lack of recognition we receive, by the toxic attitudes we see in society and by the daily losses we take in our personal lives.

In any organisation, too, we can focus on the logistics of what we do – the finances, the delivery systems, the compliance protocols, the correct procedures and so on - and lose sight of the faces of the people whom we serve. The processes are important, but they must serve larger goals. In our case the goal is that the people whom we serve live more fully, find respect and are connected with society. What matters most is people. Programs are a means to this end.

The way to keep this goal in mind is habitually to look into the faces of the people with whom and for whom we work, automatically to think of our parish as people, of our hospitals as people and of our schools as people, each of whom has a distinctive face.

That is why we remember the people who have lived out our own mission generously and attractively, the people whose memories make us smile as we go about our daily work. Humanitarian day is about dusting our own humanity, making it shine and putting a smile on its face.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

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