SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER – 17th May 2020
INTRODUCTION – Fr Ian McGinnity
Last Tuesday, 12 May was International Nurses Day, which is traditionally held on that day, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. This year was extra special for a number of reasons. Firstly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had designated this year as “The Year of the Nurse and Midwife”.
Secondly, because this year marks the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Whilst most of us know her as the founder of modern nursing (Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses during the Crimean War, in which she organised care for wounded soldiers and was known as “The Lady with the Lamp”), she was also an extraordinary social reformer, statistician and writer. Much of her writing focused on religion and mysticism. Florence underwent several experiences that she believed were calls from God prompting a strong desire to devote her life to the service of others. She felt that genuine religion should manifest itself in active care and love for others.
And thirdly, it is special because we realise that nurses (with doctors and ambulance workers), are currently in the front line across the world in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. They are literally putting their own lives at risk to care for people in hospitals and aged care facilities to care for those who have been infected by this virus. On International Nurses Day, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex held a conference call with aboriginal nurses in Mount Isa who predominantly work with indigenous members of the community in north-west Queensland. It was great to see their vocation acknowledged.
Whilst no nurses in Australia, as far as we know, have died of the coronavirus, some have contracted the disease and others have felt the guilt of spreading it whilst being unaware that they had it. Unfortunately, in other countries where the virus has spread widely and health systems have been unprepared, nurses and other medical personnel have laid down their lives in service of their patients.
A Chicago newspaper (May 6th Chicago Tribune article by Ariel Cheung) collected written and oral reports from Chicago area nurses in response to the question “how are you living through this new norm?” The headline quoted said: ‘I always feel afraid. But in that fear, I live in hope.’
This response struck me because of a passage in this Sunday’s second reading that comes from the First Letter of Peter: “Always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have.” (1 Pt 3:15b) The Christians to whom that letter was addressed were facing threats of persecution, possibly death. The letter’s author wrote to them to bolster their courage in a difficult time. What was the reason for their hope? The Good News of Jesus the Christ. Christian disciples had spread the Word in cities, towns, and villages. Their listeners had come to believe that Jesus had died, had risen from the dead, and had ascended into heaven and that God had given those left behind “another Advocate to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth.” (Jn 12:16)
We collectively are living in a time filled with fear. An invisible pathogen has multiplied beyond counting, has hitched a ride around the world, and continues to mutate. As of mid-May, the virus had sickened more than 3.7 million people in just a matter of months and had killed close to 300,000 people worldwide. In the US alone, more people have died from this Covid-19 virus than did US troops in the Vietnam War, a war that lasted decades. The speed of the spread of this pandemic is shocking. The daily news reports of the rising number of cases and deaths are mind-boggling.
Serving on the frontlines of this pandemic today, Chicago nurses and all those likewise caring for the sick are working smack dab in the middle of unprecedented danger from Covid-19. They may or may not believe in Jesus the Christ, or in any God at all. So, what is the basis of their hope? How do they keep going? Here is one nurse’s response:
“My days though are filled with both fear and hope. Fear that I will infect one of my patients. Fear that my fiancée who has cancer will be infected by something I carried home. Fear that someone will berate me on the street because I’m a nurse. I always feel guilty. I always feel afraid. But in that fear, I live in hope and among hope. My oncology patients still brave the risks of coming to the hospital every single day. I still see acts of kindness that remind me my work is important: People donating food, writing signs, or flashing their lights thanking front line workers. The new normal? I don’t know what that is or will be. But I can say that in a world of fear, I see plenty of hope. And it’s that hope that I believe will shape our new normal.” — Aneta Piton, oncology nurse, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
Even though the devastating daily news reports about the progress of the coronavirus give us plenty of reason to despair, people of faith can yet glimpse the life-giving Spirit of the Divine coursing through their communities, inspiring selfless action, and drawing people together to create countless projects for the common good. So many people are feeding children and whole families who would otherwise go hungry, sewing masks for grocery clerks and others who have essential jobs, improvising ways to create plastic face shields, donating money to support people out of work, and giving a hand to family members and neighbours who dare not go out for groceries. You have probably been among those taking some action for others, right?
Whenever that Spirit of generosity spurs someone like you to act in love, we believe the unseen God who is Love empowers that love being extended. As we witness this love in action, let us recall the words of Psalm 65 appointed for this Sunday’s worship: “Come and see the works of God, his tremendous deeds among people.” (Ps 65:16) Despite our own fear, let us respond in hope, singing our psalm refrain: “Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.”
May Florence Nightingale, on the 200th anniversary of her birth, inspire us all to live with hope and may we express our gratitude to all of those who have taken up the vocation of nursing ever since.
Stay safe and strong.
INITIAL LIMITED REOPENING OF CHRIST THE KING CHURCH, NORTH ROCKS
Following the direction of Bishop Vincent and the NSW Premier, we are able to reopen our church, subject to a number of stringent conditions. Fr Ian has decided to initially begin with weekday Masses only from Wednesday to Friday.
Mass will be celebrated as follows beginning 20 May:
Saturday / Sunday Webcast only
• Maximum of 10 people in the church for Mass and you will need to make a reservation – see below
• Use only the 10 designated chairs
• Avoid touching any statues or pictures
• By Government proscription, write your name, phone number and email address on the form provided to enable tracing
• Use the hand sanitiser after signing in
• Communion will be distributed only on the hand and by the priest walking from person to person
• After Mass the chairs must be cleaned and sanitised
HOW TO RESERVE YOUR SEAT FOR MASS
• All places for each Mass must be pre-booked
• Bookings may be requested no more than 5 days in advance
• Call our Parish Secretary – Claudine on 9871 8710 Monday – Friday, 9.00am – midday only
• Available spaces will be allocated in the order requests are received
• Only one reservation at a time will be accepted, to give everyone a chance to attend Mass
• The church will be open 9.00am – 4.00pm daily Monday to Friday
• Maximum of 10 people in the church at any one time
• Use only the 10 designated plastic chairs
• If all 10 chairs are occupied, please wait outside until someone leaves
• Avoid touching any statues or pictures
• Write your name, phone number, email address and time on the form provided
• Use the hand sanitiser after signing in
• Confession will be by appointment.
• Call our Parish Secretary, Claudine on 9871 8710 Monday – Friday, 9.00am – 4.00 pm to make a time.
• Please follow the above sign-in and sanitiser requirements.
PARISH PASTORAL COUNCIL MEETING: This Wednesday evening 20th of May, commencing at 7.30pm via Zoom.
PARISH FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING: This Thursday evening 21st of May, commencing at 7.30pm via Zoom.
READINGS FOR THE MASS: Provided by Universalis, can be found here: www.universalis.com
THOSE IN NEED: During this difficult time, if you hear of anyone in need of assistance from a priest or the Parish Office, please do not hesitate to contact us on 9871.8710 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or requiring assistance from Vinnies, please call 13 18 12.
IN YOUR MERCY, PLEASE REMEMBER THOSE FOR WHOM PRAYERS HAVE BEEN REQUESTED:
THE SICK: Ken Abood, Jill Wulf, Ron Lucas, Arthur John Meston, Mary Magill, Joe Frare, Afifi Elchaar, Daniele Donu, Patrick Wheeler, Sylvette Marsh.
RECENTLY DECEASED: John Hearne (Brother of Mary Magill), Valda Joan Miller, Hak Rim Matthew Lee, Br Ted Davis CFC.
DECEASED: Giuseppina Cutrone, Carmelina Cutrone, Jimmy Cutrone, George Cutrone Jr, Beniamino Cutrone, Yvonne Boulous, Phillip Boulous, Charlie Karam, Leila Karam & All Souls.
SATURDAY SESSIONS: GROW AND SHARE FAITH
Join with others as we create community online to share and grow faith, every Saturday from 11am – 12pm with Saturday Sessions.
Listen to the pre-recorded presentation about a topic of faith before Saturday 11am and then join an online group discussion via Zoom between 11am – 12pm. Register in advance for this meeting to receive the links for the presentation:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUkduGsqDguEtFasFqi5z5P-fMkZ2SEZfTy After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting and the links to the presentation.
Presented By: Dr Carolyn Woo
Thirsting for Justice (2019)
Dr. Woo assumed the position of CEO and president of Catholic Relief Services in January 2012. Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, it has expanded in size to reach more than 100 million people in nearly 100 countries on five continents. Dr. Woo, representing CRS, was featured in Foreign Policy (May/June, 2013) as one of the 500 Most Powerful people on the planet and one of only 33 in the category of “a force for good.” In this talk Carolyn shares her experience of working with some of the most vulnerable people in the world and the insights that journey has offered.
LAUDATO SI’ WEEK 16-24 MAY:
2020 marks the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’, which was signed on 24 May 2015. Pope Francis’ encyclical on care for our common home, Laudato Si’, is an inspiration during moments of difficulty. It encourages us to reflect on the values we share and create a more just and sustainable future. The theme of Laudato Si’ Week is “everything is connected.” During Laudato Si’ Week, we come together as one people around the world to prayerfully discern the lessons of this moment. While the world experiences a historical crisis, we reflect and prepare to build a better world. At midday on Sunday May 24, we’re invited to join with the rest of the world as we say a common prayer (as attached) together to mark the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’. Please see attached a video message from Bishop Vincent which marks the occasion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LLWjANWHzc)
THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
To view this Sunday’s Mass online, click on the link below:
Like me, is anyone else feeling the need to get dressed up for any necessary occasion because it’s the only time I leave the house?