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News from Bundaberg

17 November, 2022
Indian community Catechesis

School Savvy Launched

It was a pleasure to be invited to the recent launch of CatholicCare CQ’s School Savvy 2023 project. Br Ted and Anne represented the parish at the launch which was held in Hinkler Place outside K-Mart, a very visible, public setting. After a prayer of blessing for the people involved in School Savvy, words of encouragement and gratitude were spoken by local politicians Tom Smith, member for Bundaberg, and Stephen Bennett, member for Burnett, and major sponsors, the Waves Sports Club. Shari Jackson, General Manager Health & Wellbeing Services (Southern Region) cut the School Savvy cake to close the launch.

School Savvy is a project that we encourage our parishioners to support as part of our Christmas Giving Appeal, run during Advent. A shopping list of stationaries is given to each parishioner to donate towards School Savvy.

Indian Community Catechesis

Since 2018 the families of our Indian parishioners have met each Sunday after the 9.00am Mass for children’s catechesis. The number of Indian families coming to Bundaberg has increased dramatically over the years as they are employed in our local health care organisations. They now have 80 children attending weekly classes with 22 catechists taking 8 classes each weekend.

On Sunday 6th November they held their fourth anniversary graduation ceremony for the children, whose ages range from 4 to 16 years. Awards were presented to the children in many categories including colouring in, essay writing, and bible knowledge. Members of the Parish Stewardship Council, Parish Team, and priests were invited to attend this occasion. It was a great display of community and the importance of handing on the faith to the next generation. After a meal, the evening ended with a dramatic presentation of the coming of the Messiah from the Old Testament stories of Abraham, David, through to the Annunciation and the Birth of Jesus.

November: the month of the Holy Souls

This month began with the two major feasts, the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls. As Catholics we believe in the communion of the saints and pray for the souls of our dearly departed. An early morning Mass was held at the Catholic Cemetery on All Souls day. Led by Fr Sijo, nearly one hundred people gathered to remember their loved ones in celebration of the Eucharist. On such a sunny morning, many stayed after for a morning cuppa and chat.

During November, weekly prayer liturgies have been held at the cemetery too. This is just one more way that we can honour those who have died and pray for their souls. These prayers have been led by members of the recently formed group, the Friends of the Catholic Cemetery. This a group of parishioners who are interested in maintaining the cemetery’s grounds, old headstones and grave sites, meeting monthly to assess works to be done. One successful working bee has already been held and another is planned before Christmas.

Memorial Liturgy

Each year in May and November our parish Bereavement Team prepares a Memorial Service for the families and friends of those whose loved ones have died. Invitations are sent to the families of those who have died within the last six months. This year’s liturgy was well attended and very moving. Those who came appreciated the ritual and symbols of a candle and a rose in remembrance of their deceased family member. There is always time afterwards to share stories over supper.

A Twilight Retreat

This was held on Friday, November 11 from 5pm to 9pm at St James, Bargara, for the parishioners.  Br Damien Price, cfc, led the gathering for the 65 or so lucky enough to attend. The invitation confirmed “Not to be Missed” and those who attended would agree it was such an occasion.

The theme “Ministry to Others” presented by Br Damien in a very practical manner used real-life circumstances in his own ministry to challenge us to meet Jesus, find God, through a “culture of encounter”. The sources of his inspiration and encounter were often (not surprisingly) from the least likely.

St Teresa of Avila had something to say on the topic: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on Earth but yours. Yours are the hands – Yours are the feet.  Yours are the eyes – You are His body”.   We are all so different, but the challenge remains the same, to recognise Christ in those around us and enter that space with respect and grace.

There was a wonderful “handout” chock full of beautiful reflections to keep the evening alive in the days ahead.  One little meditation perhaps summarises it all.  “Lord Jesus – be so in me – so that others may look up and see, no longer me but only Thee!”

Anne Sheehan