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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.


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A wedding invitation PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 15 October 2017: Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Whomsoever you find invite to the wedding

Wedding banquetIn Luke’s account, Jesus responds to the remark of someone at table with him (‘Happy those who will share the meal in the kingdom of God’) beginning his parable, ‘There was a man who gave a great banquet’. Matthew takes up and develops the theme of joy and celebration essential to Christian faith implied in this beginning, and opens the parable, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a feast for his son’s wedding’. The espousal theme was fundamental to the biblical tradition. The prophets compared God’s relationship with the chosen people with that of a loving and faithful husband. For the first Christians, the Saviour was ‘the Bridegroom’ (Mk 2:20), and the life they shared in the Church was described as joining in ‘the wedding feast of the Lamb’ (Rev 19:9). A banquet - especially that which celebrates a wedding - is an outstanding moment of fellowship. In the traditions of Israel, familiar to Matthew’s community, the blessings promised by God to those who have been faithful were likened to sharing in a banquet at the Lord’s table – as we hear in the reading from Isaiah in today’s liturgy...

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image courtesy of Hermanoleon Clipart


Eradication of Poverty Day – 17 October

We usually think of poverty as something that afflicts third world nations. But it is also present in Australia - shamefully so, in a nation of great wealth. We can see its effects in the lives of Indigenous Australians, with their poorer life expectancy income and educational opportunities, and greater likelihood of addiction, hospitalisation and jailing. We see it also in the lives of homeless people, whether visible or forced to remain invisible in our cities, in the poor who can remain on benefits, and in the low level of benefits that make it impossible to live with decency.

At Jesuit Social Services we see the effects of poverty in the lives of vulnerable young people, often from dysfunctional families, lacking appropriate child care, support to take advantage of education and to find work, liable to physical and mental illness, lacking the social skills to connect with society and shamed by the conditions placed on the inadequate benefits open to them.

It is easy to say that the poor are always with us and to claim that that we cannot eradicate poverty. No doubt we shall never eradicate poverty totally, but poverty is neither natural, necessary nor inevitable. It is someone’s fault - the result of conscious decisions taken by human beings that result in some people increasing their already extreme wealth and in making other people vulnerable and excluded. Poverty grows when we attribute to our economic framework a sacred power and privilege economic growth over the welfare of people who are poor. It will be eradicated when we all see people as more important than an economic system designed for inequality.

Dealing with poverty demands that good people who are not poor take pains to notice it and accept the responsibility of addressing it. Pope Francis calls this process conversion. We are invited to see the world and the people in it through Christ’s eyes and with Christ’s heart. When we do this we notice what poverty does to people: the anxiety, the bad diet and problems with hygiene, the mental and physical ill-health, the lack of mobility to find jobs. We also see the inequality that exists alongside poverty and the ways in which people fight to defend the advantages that allows them to amass wealth. We see the ways that governments blame people for their poverty and humiliate them when they claim their inadequate benefits.

To make the world more just is a long and hard task. We can be discouraged when we see how tiny is our power to change things. The Eradication of Poverty Day encourages us to think and to speak about the causes of poverty. It is also important to light candles rather than curse the darkness. We might stop to chat with a homeless person instead of passing by, spend some of our time with the local Vinnies, or devote an evening to the soup van. These are small things. But they say to the people whom we meet that they matter. And because they matter we become a little more committed to eradicating poverty.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

Tending God's vineyard PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 08 October 2017: Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

He leased his vineyard to other farmers

Violence on the heir of the vineyard.Seen from a human point of view, salvation history (the story of God’s dealings with humanity) is a tragedy; but the divine mercy and generosity has turned this tragedy into God’s triumph. This great drama comes to its climax, of course, in the life, death and resurrection of the Saviour: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son’. The parable of Jesus in today’s reading from Matthew’s gospel refers to the tragedy that he now recognises to be inevitable. We have already become familiar with the original form of the parables of Jesus: a story that leaves his hearers confronted by an unsettling question. Today’s study of the formation of the gospels makes it clear that, as these parable stories were retold in the preaching of the early Church, they were often added to, to bring out lessons for later audiences. And it is evident that this parable – originally a challenge to leaders of the Jewish nation – has become, for those who have suffered persecution from the synagogue, a condemnation of the ‘chief priests and elders of the people’. The fact that Jesus foretells his death, but makes no reference to the resurrection that was so central to the faith of the first Christians, makes it clear that the parable is not a creation of the later Christian community, but is recalled as having been told by Jesus himself.

Extract by John Thornhill sm - read more at The Emmaus Series | Image composite of graphic from Hermanoleon Clipart and pixabay.com

Doing the Father's will PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 01 October 2017: Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Vineyard workerHe went out moved by regret. The tax collectors and prostitutes will precede you into the kingdom of God.

The situation Jesus poses is rather straightforward. Given the same task by their father, one son asserts his disobedience in words, but then obeys in his actions; the second son obeys with his words, but disobeys in his actions. The question that Jesus poses is pointed and direct: Which son did what the father wanted? All would agree that “actions speak louder than words” and that even if his words were disobedient, the son who did the work as ordered did the father’s will.

...Jesus could ask us the same question. Do our words indicate our obedience to God? If not our words, do our actions? God desires a full conversion of heart, that our actions (and our words as well) will give evidence of our love for God.

Read more at Sunday Connection, Loyola Press, A Jesuit Ministry

As the plebiscite on same sex marriage approaches public debate has become more heated. The same arguments on each side are repeated, each time more loudly.

When we take sides in such debates, as sometimes we must, we commonly become more and more convinced of the truth of our position each time we insist on it. That is fine. But we may also become more convinced of our moral and intellectual superiority to our opponents. We may see ourselves as the virtuous guys with white hats battling against the black-hatted, black-souled battalions of unrighteousness.

Today’s Gospel reading invites us to think again whenever we take our superiority for granted. In his story Jesus does not divide the human race into the sinless and the sinners but into two groups of people both of whom who get it wrong. One insults his father by refusing to do as he is asked. Later he changes his mind and does it. The other makes promises, promises but doesn’t carry them out. Although his father would have been more pleased with the son who finally did what he was asked to do, we might imagine that he would have preferred a perfect son who simply did as he was told without making a fuss about it.

But as it turned out he had to deal with two imperfect sons. As does God, who knows only imperfect people with large gaps between what they say and what they do, and further gaps between what they think and what they say. So Jesus suggests that the final test of our love and faithfulness does not finally lie in our thoughts and words but in how we live our lives. And that will always be messy.

If that is so we have no grounds for judging others as worse than ourselves because they have worse words and thoughts than we do. In the Gospel story Jesus criticises the Pharisees who believed they were better than others because they were the chosen people. As a result they missed seeing God’s hand in the teaching of John the Baptist and of Jesus himself. Ultimately, they were blind to what God asked of them.

In the plebiscite, whatever side we are on, we are also fallible and imperfect human beings. We have no warrant to despise or call into question the good intentions and moral uprightness of others with whose positions we may disagree.

Our business is not to judge but to recognise the humanity we share with people from whom we differ, and especially to recognise and respect the humanity of people who have been ostracised and excluded through much of history. These are among the vulnerable young LGBT people with whom Jesuit Social Services works. To respect them is a request that we might once have refused, but are now invited to act on.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ

Wedding at St Ignatius' ChurchPastoral Letters on the Institution of Marriage

Please refer to the back of the church noticeboards to read the pastoral letters from various Australian Bishops and Pope Francis on the institution of marriage.

You can also visit the following links:

Thank you.

Being just PDF Print E-mail

Sunday 24 September 2017: Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In the Lord's vineyardWhy are you jealous because I am generous?

"...I choose to pay the last-comer as much as I pay you. Have I no right to do what I like with my own? Why be envious because I am generous?" Thus the last will be first, and the first, last.

Social Justice Sunday 2017

If you want to stay happy and healthy you need to draw on the skills of cooks and dieticians. You also need them to stick to their own skills. Ask a dietician for a happy recipe and you may eat miserably. Ask a pastry cook to care for your diet and you may become a cardiac disaster.

The 2017 Catholic Social Justice Statement, Everyone’s Business: Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy, is not a recipe. Its purpose is broader: to invite people to reflect on the current state of Australian society and its defects, before suggesting ways in which those defects can be addressed and the nation made more sustainable. It is concerned with facts, principles and encouragement to find a better way.

The statement is timely. After many years in which big corporations and economists spruiked, and governments accepted, the belief that national prosperity depended on individuals competing without restraint for economic gain, the game is up.

The natural results of unrestricted competition and the exaltation of individual wealth include gross inequality, the running down of public services, the totally inadequate payments and punitive treatment of the unemployed, the growth of homelessness and the appalling conditions of Indigenous Australians, the expansion of part time work and the removal of penalty rates and the trashing of the environment. Liberal economics are rightly on the nose. Inclusiveness and sustainability are attractive ideas.

The Catholic view of the economy, so strongly commended by Pope Francis, is that its purpose is to serve the prosperity and welfare of all human beings, including our children and descendants, and so must be guided to that goal. By themselves economic growth and the increase of national wealth are not a sign of a good society. Nor should people be treated as tools for producing goods and wealth. They are partners in society and should be partners in business. The test is whether that wealth allows all people in society a place at the table, particularly the most vulnerable. They should also have a say in the decisions that affect their lives.

In a conspicuously wealthy society homelessness, the vilification and punishment of immigrants and the unemployed, holding benefits at a level at which people cannot live decently, and limiting access to education, work and medical care are all signs of an economy that is not inclusive. We at Jesuit Social Services are particularly concerned that many of the people with whom we work are unable to live decently on the benefits they receive.

In a just society the economy will be ordered to the good of the whole society, providing the infrastructure that ensures the development of people through education and work, caring for the most vulnerable and ensuring that we pass on to our grandchildren a world that is unspoiled.

These are the demands of a healthy economy. We need to use our creativity to find appropriate recipes. The Social Justice Statement is a good stimulus.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ