Welcome to

St. Catherine Labouré Catholic Church, Gymea

St. Catherine’s Catholic Parish is a welcoming, supportive, and faith-filled community of believers inspired by the life of Jesus Christ and emboldened by the truth, goodness, and beauty of the Catholic faith. We are called to make Christ present in our parish, in our local community, and in our world. We respect and uphold the dignity of all human life and strive to remain faithful to the intellectual richness of the teachings of Christ and His Catholic Church “in and out of season”.

Our Mission is to seek holiness in everything we do — to love, to know, and to give praise to God the Eternal Trinity. We desire to experience Christ’s mercy and to make this mercy known to others; to be a community committed to recognising Christ present in each person through our service to the wider community and in the joyful and reverent celebration of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist — the “source and summit” of the Catholic faith.

WELCOME BACK TO MASS — UPDATE

Dear Parishioners,

In light of the anticipated 80% vaccination rate, which is now expected to be achieved this Weekend, St Catherine’s, Gymea, will recommence the celebration of Mass from Saturday, 23 October, beginning with the Vigil Mass at 5 pm. Confessions will precede the Vigil Mass from 4:30 pm to 4:55 pm. On Sunday, 24 October, Mass will be celebrated at 7:30 am, 9:30 am, and 5 pm. Please let your friends and neighbours know.
And, mask wearing is MANDATORY for indoor religious services until at least 1/12/2021.
(There is also NO singing at this time)

From thenceforth, the following Weekday Mass schedules will also commence:

Mondays: 9:15 am Mass

Tuesdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Wednesdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Thursdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Fridays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Saturdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Please remember to sign in using either the QR codes or the “sign-in” sheets provided near the entrances to the Church.



LIVESTREAMING OF HOLY MASS

Please join us for Sunday, 17 October Mass at 10:30 am via our new Live-stream service on YouTube:
Here is the Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJESwdHE_Fo


Please join us for Sunday, 10 October Mass at 10:30 am via our new Live-stream service on YouTube.
Here is the Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1dRqoDHczw


Please join us for Sunday, 3 October Mass at 10:30 am via our new Live-stream service on YouTube.
Here is the Link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOqoJfoNXgc


Also, if anyone has any news or events that they would like to promote via our parish website or Facebook page, please contact Fr Greg Morgan directly: gregory.morgan@cantab.net or please ring the parish office.

Please continue to spread the word about our Mass times and website.


Mass for the Opening of the Plenary Council

Here is Fr Greg’s homily (extended version) for Sunday 3rd October.

May be an image of 1 person
St Francis of Assisi was no different! As a young man, he revelled in the power of having choices; of dreaming about future possibilities; of acting inconsistently so as to achieve different ambitions.
Born into a family of significant wealth, biographies of St Francis tell the story of a young man who once chose to spend lavishly on dinners and parties. Of a young man who once dreamt of being heralded as a war hero. Of a young man who behaved inconsistently and ambitiously for the sake of popularity — he was charming and generous with those who were rich and refined; but would run away with revulsion whenever he saw those were ugly and poor. In fact, writing about these years when he was “in his sins”, Francis said that there was nothing he loathed more, nothing stirred greater repugnance, than to see a leper — for in a leper he could see no beauty; a leper had no “net worth”; and, thus, all he could do was hold his nose in fear and seek refuge in the confines of his comfortable ‘safe space’.[i]
Of course, this is not the kind of person we think of when we hear the name “St. Francis of Assisi”. Instead, we tend immediately to think of a poor, pious, and penitential monk, who embodied the compassion of Jesus Christ in his tenderness and unconditional love. But we must always remember this: the history of Christ’s Catholic Church has never been about a litany of saints who had no need of repentance; but, rather, it tells the powerful story of how great sinners – individuals of surprising normality ­– are radically transformed (and, I mean, radically transformed) by a personal encounter with Truth and Mercy. Truth and Mercy.
For St Francis, that moment arrived when his own choices, his own dreams, and his own ambitions lead him into crisis. After being captured in battle and spending years in prison, he became sick and depressed. But by gradually confronting that sickness and reflecting upon the nature of that depression he opened his heart to divine grace
Riding his horse through Assisi soon thereafter, he once again encountered a leper. This time, his heart allowed him to see differently. This time, he did not flee. He got off his horse, walked over to the leper, embraced him, and kissed him. This was not just a moment of Christ-like compassion. He was in many ways confronting the leprosy of guilt that was plaguing his own conscience. And by embracing and kissing that leper, he was, perhaps for the first time, allowing Christ to embrace, kiss, and so heal his own spiritual leprosy, and give him a peace that the world cannot give. It was then that he realised that there really was only one choice to make; to change. It was then that he realised that there really was only one dream worth having; to be holy. It was then that he realised that, whereas the world settles for inconsistency, to be Catholic is to be consistent in Christ and, so, truly free. It was these powerful insights that were the foundation to his vocation to “rebuild” Christ’s Church in Christ’s image.
It is a powerful reminder. We can easily be tricked into thinking that, in order to “rebuild the church” one would need to formulate an interminably long pastoral plan, construct an ever-bourgeoning bureaucracy, and spend a great deal of money. St Francis reminds us that this would be a categorical error. For the genius of Catholicism – and the beauty of our faith – rests on the simple proclamation of Truth and Mercy. And the price of these two things has already been paid; paid on a cross.
So, perhaps, then, it is providential that the Plenary Council in Australia commences on the eve of St Francis’ Feast Day. There is a real opportunity here. Yes, we should pray that our leaders will have the courage to confront the leprosy in our Church in all its instances and expressions. But that begins with each of us, which is a painful thing. Yet, it is only once we have the grace to confront the spiritual leprosy that infects our own choices; our own dreams; our own ambitions, that we can even begin to think about “rebuilding the church”. This is especially true of me as I commence this new role as Parish Priest. Please pray, thence, that I confront the leprosy in my own life so that I may love and serve you and this parish faithfully and energetically.
What we must never do is think the antidote to spiritual leprosy – to spiritual decline – is to assume that we must choose that which is contrary to Christ’s teachings and the Tradition. Today’s Gospel makes this clear. “If anyone loves me”, says Jesus, “he will keep my word.” And as hard as it may be to stand up for our faith in our society; as demanding as Christ’s cross certainly is; and as challenging as the Churches teaching are — they, and they alone, are the source of true peace; a peace the world cannot give. For look at our world and what do you really see? We see a world tormented by material choices. We see a world that dreams about being free of an underlying guilt. We see a world that behaves inconsistently. Just look at our own country. On the one hand, we have spent an untold amount of money protecting the lives of the sick and the vulnerable, taking away their freedoms; and, yet, on the other hand, many of our leaders want to spend money to find new ways to allow the sick and the vulnerable to kill themselves, in act of supposed freedom!
This is where the Church can, should, and must be prophetic! We cannot be silent; for truth is not a popularity contest; mercy is never unbridled autonomy. Catholicism cannot become tokenism. Our faith is one inspired by risk taking, inspired by the Holy Spirit. But it’s much easier to run away to our ecclesial “safe space” and just accept our decline; rather than to kiss and embrace the leprosy that is our own defeatism – our own sinfulness – and transform the Church (and, by osmosis, the world).  
So, my prayer for the Plenary Council is that we will once again be prepared to take profound risks for the sake of the Gospel. For instance: We hear endless rhetoric about a crisis of vocations! And, yet, how often do we see and hear bishops and priests truly fight and struggle to attract young men and young women to the priesthood and religious life. We hear endless rhetoric about a crisis of faith and a crisis of morals! And, yet, how often do we see and hear Catholics speak-up in defence of faith and morals in public life? We hear endless rhetoric about the Church needing to change her teachings to “get with the times”. And, yet, how rare is it to find someone who actually knows why the Church teaches what it actually teaches — to find someone who has prayed and studied them in depth and detail. Here is our challenge!
Let us pray then that you and I will not take refuge in the ‘safe space’ of indecision and populism. Let us this day give Christ a chance to change us; let us risk orientating our whole lives – all our talents ­– in the service of Truth and Mercy. If we dare to do so, then we should not be surprised if the world begins to take a second look at Christ and his Church. For no one is attracted by inconsistency and infidelity; but everyone is attracted by the unity of conviction and unwavering fidelity.

[i] Augustine Thompson, OP, Francis of Assisi: A New Biography (Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 2012), 9.

WELCOME BACK TO HOLY MASS!

Please “like” our new Facebook Page to keep informed of any updates and events in our parish…

https://m.facebook.com/St-Catherine-Labour%C3%A9-Parish-Gymea-108678858244000/               
then like the page 👍, for immediate communications


Dear Parishioners,

Subject to any changes from the NSW Government or the Archdiocese of Sydney, St. Catherine’s Catholic Church, Gymea, will reopen for the public celebration of Mass on Monday, 25 October. (This might change if the 80% vaccination rate is achieved sooner/later than has been estimated.) I am looking forward to welcoming you back to your spiritual home and celebrating the sacraments with you.

When the Church does reopen, we will be restricted to 100 parishioners at each Mass until a 90% vaccination rate is reached. Mask wearing and social distancing will be expected. You will note that every second pew will be blocked off. At this stage, we will operate on a first-come-first-served basis. When I celebrated Mass at Gymea last year, the only Mass that ever exceeded 100 people was the vigil. I do hope our numbers will increase in time and when safe. For now, however, I am going to reinstate an evening Mass on Sundays, which will be celebrated at 5 pm. This will be subject to review. If the Mass is well attended, then it will continue into the future (after the 1st December). I would encourage those who usually attend the Vigil Mass on Saturday but are able to attend the Sunday evening Mass to consider doing so. Please let your family and friends know of this change. To confirm, the parish Mass times following the lifting of restrictions will be as follows:

Mondays: 9:15 am Mass

Tuesdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Wednesdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Thursdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Fridays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15 am Mass

Saturdays: 8:30 am-9:10 am Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
9:15am Mass

Saturday Vigil: 5 pm Mass

Sundays: 7:30 am, 9:30 am, and 5:00 pm

Confession will be available before and after every Weekday Mass (including Saturdays). Please approach me if you wish to receive the Sacrament. During Adoration, I will be sat at the front of the Church near the confessional.
On Saturdays, I will be in the confessional immediately following the morning mass for as long as necessary and from 4:30-4:55 pm.

God bless you all! I am very much looking forward to welcoming you back to Mass once again and to meeting you all.

Fr Greg

I have also started a new Facebook page”

https://m.facebook.com/St-Catherine-Labour%C3%A9-Parish-Gymea-108678858244000/               
then like the page 👍, for immediate communications




Parish Rosary Via Zoom:

Every Saturday Morning at 10 am


All are welcome to join Fr Greg online to pray the Holy Rosary together each Saturday morning at 10 am for as long as the lockdown continues. Each rosary will be offered for various intentions. Please find the Zoom link/Phone number below. Please contact the parish if you have any questions. Feel free to invite your friends and family to join us.

To join our parish rosary, either (1) call the phone number below and enter the meeting code; or (2) copy and paste the following link below into your address bar above. Note, you will need to have downloaded Zoom onto your computer for this link to work. (https://zoom.us/signup)

Topic: Parish Rosary: St Catherine’s Gymea
Time: Every Saturday at 10am: Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
https://sydneycatholic.zoom.us/j/69475789620?pwd=ZGhtUjJPd0lyOGR1Vnc1dTJLUVdmZz09

Password: 1234

Join from telephone (meeting ID: 694 7578 9620): (02) 8015 2088 (Sydney)
International numbers available: https://sydneycatholic.zoom.us/u/ecwj88Pys1

Join from Skype for Business (Lync):
https://sydneycatholic.zoom.us/skype/69475789620


Confession Times (Once Covid Restrictions Ease):
After each morning 9:15 am Mass, Monday – Saturday, and then 4.30 pm – 4.55 pm prior to Saturday Vigil 5 pm Mass. Father Greg is also happy to make himself available at any other time for those who want to receive this wonderful sacrament of peace and healing. Please contact the office to make an appointment or speak to Fr Greg directly before or after Mass.

Eucharistic Adoration (Once Covid Restrictions Ease):
Preceding the 9:15 am Weekday Masses (Tuesday-Saturday), from 8:30 am to 9:10 am, Exposition and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament will take place in the Church. Please come and join us in praying for our parish and our parish community.


Feast of St Vincent De Paul

This Monday, the 27th of September 2021, the Church celebrates the Feast Day of St Vincent De Paul. I’m sure nearly everyone would be familiar with the incredible work that the charity named eponymously after him (sometimes abbreviated to “Vinnies”) does throughout the world. It is interesting to note that the charity was founded during the nineteenth century when cholera was spreading rapidly and killing up to 1200 people a day in Paris. Blessed Frederic Ozanam, inspired by the life of St Vincent De Paul, took it upon himself to form a group that would address the needs of the sick and the poor. It is a powerful example of true Christian leadership and an inspiring reminder of what God can achieve if but one heart is open to the Gospel.

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to meet with the St Vincent De Paul Conference (via Zoom) of our parish here in Gymea. I am told it is one of the largest Conferences in NSW (if not Australia) and is lead by Frank Tierney, a man who has already impressed me with his great faith and witness. It was so moving to hear from the various members about what they are doing during the pandemic to alleviate the burdens and sufferings of so many.

I encourage everyone in our parish to consider joining this illustrious organization that does so much good work. Like Blessed Ozanam, we should strive to find ways to take action ourselves in serving those less fortunate. Incidentally, you might have seen the blue poor box in the Church that was built by a devout member of our St Vincent De Paul Conference.

I will be offering Mass on St Vicent De Paul’s Feast Day for all the members of our Conference and for all the people they so generously serve. On behalf of our parish, thank you for what you do and know of our love and support.


Happy Father’s Day!

(Pope Francis has dedicated this year to St Joseph with a beautiful Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, “With a Father’s Heart”

https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_letters/documents/papa-francesco-lettera-ap_20201208_patris-corde.html

Wishing all our wonderful fathers a very blessed and happy Father’s Day. Be assured of my prayers for you over the Weekend and throughout the days ahead. Here is a little reflection I wrote about one great dad and saint who continues to inspire us to live our vocation to fatherhood with integrity and to love the Catholic faith to the full, namely, St. Thomas More.


St Thomas More:

A Father First

One of my great heroes in heaven is Saint Thomas More (1478-1535). He is and was many things to many people — a learned lawyer; a sharp thinker; a prolific writer; an illustrious statesman; a devoted humanist; a champion of Catholicism; and, ultimately, a courageous martyr and canonised saint. Yet, despite the nobility and grandeur of all these qualities and achievements, it is worth us remembering that Thomas More was, first and foremost, a father. His vocation, that is to say, his calling to holiness, was, first and foremost, to be a loving and committed husband and dad. And this, indeed, he was and did. (He had four daughters – one was adopted – and a son.) Perhaps, thence, he is a particularly piquant model – besides St Joseph – for us to uphold as we celebrate Father’s Day.

A powerful way to get to know Thomas More is to read the letters he wrote to his wife and children whenever he was away from the family home; including his time in prison at the Tower of London. Every letter bespeaks of the tender love and the paternal affection that he had for each of them; but a love and affection that was founded upon, and derived from, his own experience of God’s mercy and the singular strength that comes from practicing the Catholic faith. It is often commented upon in historical biographies that More only ever chastised his children with “peacock feathers”. Nevertheless, he bequeathed to them – first through his words but most of all through his witness – that to be fully alive as a human being is to be fully alive in Christ. The two are not mutually exclusive. To be a committed Catholic is to be a committed human being; a real family man; a true lover. There is nothing more manly or fatherly than to kneel down before Christ in the tabernacle and pray earnestly to God – ‘Our Father’ – for one’s wife and children. This is the witness the world so desperately needs today; it is the witness our parish also so desperately needs too! (I remember as a teenager being very moved and inspired when I went into the school chapel to make a visit and saw the chaplain kneeling alone in his cassock before the Blessed Sacrament praying his breviary. Simply by seeing that act of piety, I thought to myself: ‘That man really loves God and I want to love God like him’.)

More had a tremendous intellect which he put to good use in defending the Catholic faith, especially on the precipice of the Protestant reformation. But he was also insistent that women should also be educated in the world of ideas just as much as men. In a letter written to William Gonnell, his children’s tutor, he instructed him saying: “I do not have to tell you that both men and women can be successful in the sciences for they speak the common language of men…Both men and women have the same right to study, given that they have the understanding to do so…Cultured persons and saints long ago shared the same opinion as I.” Such progressive sentiments were certainly provocative given the age in which More lived. Yet, he never shied away from encouraging his daughters to develop a keen interest in the life of the mind. His eldest daughter, Margaret, was said to have been especially brilliant.

This propensity for forthright and courageous thinking never faltered. More was a man of unwavering integrity and refused to sacrifice the truth for the sake of securing his own (worldly) comfort. By refusing to acknowledge King Henry VIII’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon, an act which no doubt pricked the moral conscience of the King (especially since More was always greatly admired and loved by King Henry), he was executed for treason — a testament to the valiance of More’s own faith-filled conscience, on the one hand, and a palpable example of the insecurity that sin can breed when we depart from the natural moral law, on the other. This is the witness of a Catholic father that undoubtedly inspired not only his children, but generations of children ever since and, no doubt, will continue to do so long into the future.

Love for God must come first in everything and despite everything. More lived this fact throughout his life. Even when he was Lord Chancellor of England and would don the splendid robes of his exalted office, he would continue to wear a hair-shirt underneath (a garment made of bristly animal hair worn for penitential reasons); a poignant sign that it was Christ who was closest to his heart. For the fortitude of faith always begins to atrophy when we, along with society, become too comfortable in the pursuit of worldly endeavours.

In the lead-up to his execution, the King communicated to More that “[at] your execution, you shall not use many words” (referring to the last words traditionally offered by the condemned). Indeed, More’s words were brief, culminating in his famous remark: “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first”. Such brevity was certainly in keeping with the spirit of St. Francis who once said: “Preach the Gospel and if necessary, use words.” More’s martyrdom was the perfect homily on what faith and fatherhood are really all about.

Let us pray for all fathers during this time, but especially all the fathers – biological and spiritual – in our Church: that, following the illuminating example of St Thomas More, they may grow in their commitment to God above all else and, in so doing, grow in their commitment to their wives and children. May we never compromise Christ for comfort; for comfort, no matter how attractive, can never set us free.

 

This commemorative shrine is located at the Tower of London, underneath the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. I certainly found it strange but still pleasing that a man who died opposing the idea of the Monarch being the head of the Church of England should, nevertheless, now be honoured in a Royal Chapel.

          


A Message from Fr Gregory Morgan on Sunday 29th August 2021.

Dear Parishioners,

It was a true joy to join over twenty-five parishioners for our first “virtual rosary” yesterday, Saturday, 28 August.
Whilst we might recalibrate the structure a little to avoid the audio distortion, it was still a very beautiful time of communal prayer. Thank you to everyone who came. Please feel free to invite other parishioners who might not be aware of our parish website to join us over the coming weeks. The details can be found below.
I hope to think of other ways, too, for us to pray in common.

            On a similar point, I enjoyed another energising conversation with a long-time parishioner of St Catherine’s during the week. One of his comments really struck me. “Gymea”, he said, “is a very spiritual place.” There is a natural desire for prayer and piety amongst many of the parishioners, I am told, which is a huge blessing. For prayer, as we all know, is the foundation for a strong and successful parish. But prayer is not easy; it is an art. And like all “arts” it requires time and effort. The more time and effort we put into our prayer life, the more we come to see why we cannot be truly productive, both as individuals and as a parish, without it. If we want our parish to thrive well into the future then our love for Our Lord must be at the centre of it all; prayer is the gateway to a deeper and intenser experience of that love that binds us together in God.

            As I have already said, it is difficult not to be able to meet with you all as we normally would. That said, I am always willing to bring the sacraments to the homes of those who are sick and housebound. Please do not hesitate to contact me at the Parish if you would like to be added to the list. Furthermore, I am going to block out some time on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings for parishioners to book in for a Zoom chat. I am very keen to hear from you all — to hear particularly about your thoughts on the past, future, and present experiences/needs of our parish. I am allocating a number of 30–45-minute blocks. Please contact Kerry at the parish office if you would like to have a chat with me and we will then send you a Zoom link or I will give you a call at the established time.

            Last week, I also had my first meeting as Parish Priest with the Parish Finance Committee. I feel truly blessed to have inherited such a powerhouse of skilled professionals to work with in order to ensure that our use of the parish resources is transparent and in the best interests of our apostolic mission. (Thank you especially to the Chairman, William Walker, who has been incredibly helpful to me over the past few weeks as I have settled in.) Sadly, one member, Steve Heesh, who has been a stalwart on the committee for over 14 years is resigning to care for his health. On behalf of the parish, I thanked Steve at the meeting for the incredible contribution he has made over so many years of service. Thank you, Steve, and God bless you!

            You might note that the Archbishop has launched an appeal to support the refugees from Afghanistan who are coming to Australia. The situation has deteriorated beyond belief — it is dreadfully sad, indeed, to see such harrowing suffering on the faces of our fellow human beings. Please see the following link if you are able to donate: https://www.ourfaithourworks.org/ara/

            A few months ago, $2,000 was sent from the Church’s account (which is made up in part by your contributions to the second collection on a Sunday) to buy rice for poor families in the Philippines. A video has been sent that shows the rice being delivered by some of the local seminarians. It is very moving… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaKzQsfZpxU

            I am very keen indeed for this kind of charitable work to continue, whilst always ensuring that the money raised and donated goes directly to those who need it most. Hence, as noted, I am wanting to start a committee that will help to guide how our parish lives out the Church’s Corporal and Spiritual works of mercy. If you have a passion for social justice and for the Church’s mission of mercy, please get in touch.

Finally, please keep an eye on the website for further updates and activities.

My love and prayers for you all as we continue to live in this precarious time.

Fr Greg


A Message from Fr Gregory Morgan on Sunday, 22nd August 2021.

Dear Parishioners,

Last week I had the absolute privilege of visiting one of our most senior parishioners, Alice Elliott, the mother of one of our most devoted parishioners, Barry Elliott. Alice is ninety-five-years-young, and lives at a nearby nursing home. Although Barry told me that she suffers significantly from short-term memory loss and tires quickly, we had a tremendous 45-minute conversation that was both personally invigorating and very moving.

After being introduced as the “philosopher priest”, Alice told me that her two favourite philosophers are Socrates and Aquinas! “Mine too!”, I exclaimed. From thence forward, I knew we would hit it off. Alice explained that she came to study philosophy later in life; impassioned by a love for, and a desire to know, the truth. The Truth! Is there any endeavour more noble? Is there anything in this world more important? Is there any better use of our time than to pursue the Truth? For we cannot truly love unless we know the truth about what love is. And, yet, in this world of wealth and materialism, so few even begin the journey…

I wish I had taken notes as Alice gave me some wonderful bits of advice; advice that was especially pertinent on becoming a Parish Priest. But there was one thing that she emphasised and it has been on my mind ever since. “The teaching of the faith has been watered down”, she said, “and this is very, very sad. What we need is ‘meat on the bone’. Give the people ‘meat on the bone’.” In other words, “do not be afraid to preach the richness of the Truth” — even in the face of being counter-cultural and unpopular.

What Alice touched upon was the fundamental reason why I love the Catholic faith so much. It’s timeless beauty and it’s enduring challenge is grounded upon the fact that, in an age of relativism and compromise, it continues to uphold the teachings of Jesus Christ for no other reason than that they are true. We should never apologise for standing up for the Truth. And, if we are prepared to study and live out the teachings of the Church, even when the challenge seems beyond us, then we will also discover their abiding genius and the supernatural joy that they impart.

A good example can be found in the Gospel for this Sunday. After instructing the people about the need to “eat his flesh and drink of his blood” – the Eucharist –, Jesus is riposted by some of his own followers who exclaimed, “this is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it?’” But Jesus did not back down from the truth; he did not compromise; and, thus, we are told that, for this reason, “many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.” The temptation to water down the truth or to turn the truth into just “my (subjective) truth” was clearly as strong then as it is now. But the Catholic Church has never compromised on this great dogma: that Jesus meant exactly what he said —the Eucharist is Christ’s body, blood, soul and divinity but veiled under the appearance of bread and wine. What a gift!

As I was celebrating Mass one day this week, the thought of this great truth struck me. How easy it is for me to take the grace of the Mass for granted. I’ve been saying Mass for over ten years now and the danger (for us all) is that we can simply ‘go through the motions’ when we come to Mass, and forget what an awe-inspiring and incomparable privilege it is to receive Jesus in Holy Communion. But such wisdom requires prayer and study. Hence, as I said last week, I pray that this time of sacramental absence will, nevertheless, be a time of spiritual resurgence; particularly in terms of our love for, and devotion to, the Truth of the Mass.

(I include below a few words I wrote a couple of months ago on my ten-year anniversary as a priest. Some parishioners have sent emails asking if I would say a little more about my own vocation/background. So, this might be a good start.)

I also had a wonderfully energising conversation with our illustrious school principal, Mrs. Jodie McKay. I am really looking forward to working with Jodie and we both share a common desire to really draw some of our younger families and younger people back to Mass. In the meantime, Jodie has kindly offered the parish use of the requisite technology needed to Livestream. Thus, depending on how things progress, it might be possible for us to meet each other, virtually, for the celebration of the Eucharist in the coming weeks. Updates on this front will be made on the parish website.

A final word on the events in our world. It is obviously sad indeed to see the case numbers for Covid-19 rise in Australia and for the lockdown to be extended for at least another month. But, at the same time, watching the events in Afghanistan and the absolute desperation on the faces of the people there was truly heartbreaking. We have so many blessings here in Australia. Please remember to pray for the people of Afghanistan. The parishioners of this parish are known for their generosity of heart. Perhaps, down the track, we might begin to think of how we could also find ways to support the refugees materially. On that score, you might note my intention to start a new committee to guide our parish on promoting the Church’s ‘Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy’. Essentially, I want to think of how we, as a parish community in this blessed country, can continue to reach out to the less fortunate and live out the precepts of the Gospel most effectively. As always, your thoughts and involvement in this is both welcome and essential.

My love and prayers for you all. Do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Fr Greg

gregory.morgan1987@sydneycatholic.org


Reflection: Ten Years a Priest, 21st May 2021

I would never have become a priest unless a discalced-Carmelite-friar made some footprints in the snow in January 1916. It was a bitterly cold morning in Logrono, Spain. A then sixteen-year-old boy named, Josemaria, noticed a trail of footprints in the snow. He was startled! Startled, because the footprints seemed to have been made, not by shoes, but by bare feet.

Curious as to who in their right-mind would walk barefoot in the cold snow, Josemaria followed the trail of footprints until he arrived at the door of a monastery Church. There inside he saw a lone Carmelite-friar kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in fervent prayer. He had no shoes on because he was a discalced-Carmelite — discalced meaning shoeless; a sign of the monk’s vow of poverty.

So moved was Josemaria by this priest’s utter devotion to God – the gentleness of his footprints; the goodness of his piety; the peacefulness of his prayer; the love expressed in his poverty – that it inspired him to ask himself: “Could I dare to love God like that?” He writes:

“I began to have intimations of Love, to realise that my heart was asking for something great and that it was love.”

This love drew him to become a priest; a priest who would found a movement that encouraged the laity in particular to discover their own call to holiness (to self-sacrifice) in the midst of an indulgent world.

This movement would spread as far as Australia where a small number of independent schools were established that sought to teach the Catholic faith intelligently; that challenged students to think critically; that, most of all, helped students to pray — to love the mass, to seek regular confession, and to discern their own vocations.

It was because I moved to one of those schools – sheerly by providence – and was, for the first time, captivated intellectually by the beauty of the Catholic faith that the seeds of my own priestly vocation were born. And, so, as I think back on my first ten years of priesthood – which, of course, is a small but perhaps the first significant milestone – I am humbled to think that my own vocation and any good I do as a priest is largely attributable to those footprints of love made by that friar in Spain in 1916.

Little did that friar know how significant those footprints would be.

We should never underestimate, therefore, how God can use the most minor and mundane of human activities to inspire a whole new generation of saints. The point is this: anything we do for God, no matter how mall, that is animated by self-sacrifice will bear fruit; fruit that can change the course of history for some and, thus, have eternal consequences for many.

All vocations, but perhaps especially to the priesthood and religious life, are inspired by visible examples of self-sacrifice. Because self-sacrifice is the living presence of the cross; and the cross is, paradoxically, actually what attracts. Why? Because the cross is the complete truth about what love is and what love looks like. It is the exact opposite of self-indulgence…

Although I responded to a call to the priesthood at a young age, I never wanted to be a priest. I had my own ambitions of being a lawyer – a worldly advocate –, married with a large family, and, like most others, wealthy. But God made it very clear to me that my vocational adventure was to serve others as a priest.

And, so, ten years ago, on the 21st May 2011, I prostrated myself on the floor of St. Mary’s Cathedral as is customary in the rite of ordination. In many ways, it is like a mini-Pentecost. The priest-to-be lays on the ground as if he were dead to the world; and, like those first apostles, he awaits the coming of the Holy Spirit that comes to him through ordination. And, so, he walks in a man; but walks out a spiritual father; a witness to the power of grace…

I could never, ever, ever have imagined that my first ten years of priesthood would have been so wonderful, so eventful, but, indeed, so challenging. Although always and forever unworthy, I thank God sincerely for the gift of being a priest — to hold Christ, Lord of the Universe, in my hands in the confection of the Eucharist; to forgive sins in the sacrament of confession and watch joy radiate on the faces of those who have been absolved; to have baptised; to have presided at weddings; and to have shared the last earthly moments of so many lives — holding their hand as they prepare to meet Our Lord.

I would never have imagined 10 years ago that I would have studied in England and now be teaching philosophy — a subject I used to hate, but now adore!

But perhaps providentially, this morning I came across a line in an article which said: “Unbelievers will not go to hear philosophers, but they will go to hear saints…” So, I pray for that grace. But it is a grace that we should all pray for. For who knows, maybe your footprints, if impressed by a heart of self-sacrifice, will be what God uses to inspire a new Pentecost.


A Message from Fr Gregory Morgan (Jnr), Fifth Parish Priest of Gymea, on Sunday, 15 August 2021, The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

To My Dear Parishioners,

It is certainly unfortunate, to say the least, that I assume the role of Parish Priest (PP) of St. Catherine Labouré Catholic Church, Gymea, under such precarious and peculiar circumstances. To state the obvious: tomorrow I will offer my first Sunday mass, pro populo, that is, “for the people”, as PP without you and your families present. (Although, there is always a great turn up of angels and saints at every Mass so perhaps you might ask your guardian angels to come and pray on your behalf? I intend to say Mass at 10:30 so please tell them to be on time!)  Please be assured, however, that I will be praying for each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart — that God will keep you safe, protect you from all dangers, but also that, during this time of sacramental absence, the Holy Spirit will inspire you to fall more and more in love with Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist; more convinced of its infinite value; more appreciative of its invaluable grace; more committed to receiving Our Lord reverently as often as possible and bringing others to rediscover the wonder of the Catholic faith anew.

I also humbly ask (beg!) that you please pray for me. At the end of the Mass tomorrow, I intend to kneel before the statue of Mary in our Church and consecrate my ministry here in Gymea to Our Lady, Assumed into Heaven. Through her powerful intercession, along with the intercession of St. Catherine Labouré, I will petition Our Lord to help me to love you and serve you – the great people of this parish – with all my heart, mind, and soul. I cannot express in words how much I am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you. Please pray for me that I will always be faithful to Christ and, so, faithful to you and that, together, we will grow in holiness — in the joy that is to be “fully alive” through the gift of the Catholic faith! No matter what anyone might say, it is truly the greatest gift to be a Catholic!

Despite the unfortunateness and inconvenience of the present circumstances, providence has ordained it such that I commence my ministry here on the precipice of two wonderful feast days. Today, Saturday 14th August, is the Feast of St Maximillian Kolbe and, tomorrow, Sunday 15th August, is the Feast of the Assumption of Mary into heaven. What unites both St Maximillian and Our Lady is a strong sense of identity. St Maximillian knew that to dare to be ordained a priest is to be prepared to lay down your life for others. Hence, he offered to take the place of a man who was to be executed by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Our Lady knew that to dare to be faithful to God is to be prepared to say “fiat!”, “let it be done”, to God’s will even when His inspirations and plans make absolutely no sense to us.

In many ways, my appointment as PP also made absolutely no sense to me. In fact, it was probably the last thing I was excepting! I was actually told by one prelate not that long ago that it was unlikely I would be made a PP for many years as my focus would be on serving the Church through academic work. But, then, I quickly remembered that everything I have done as a priest has always taken me by surprise. Thus, I hope to draw strength from the poignant example of St Maximillian and Our Blessed Mother, Mary — to be true to my identity as a priest and as a son of the Church and to trust that God’s providence was behind this unexpected move. So, now I have the privilege of being PP and also will continue my academic work/projects. I have always much preferred to be busy. But, as Mother Teresa pointed out, if you are someone who is very busy then you will need to pray twice as much! Hence you might note that my first move as PP has been to introduce (once Covid restrictions ease) Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Tuesday to Saturday mornings, 8:30 am-9:10 am. My hope is the period of time will gradually increase! We have such a wonderful location on the high street for people to come in and pray throughout the day.

Obviously, I will have a bit more to say when we finally meet so I won’t labour on too much more. For now, please know that I want my approach to ministry here in Gymea to be defined by two things: transparency and approachability. To that end, please always feel you can contact me about anything and everything. I will always be grateful for your honest thoughts and feedback. I intend for St. Catherine’s to be truly “Catholic” both in name and in nature, which means, it is a place for everyone without exception to come to encounter Christ.

During this time, feel free to email me on the details below or ring the parish office. I am also very happy, in accordance with the Covid-19 restrictions, to make pastoral visits to those who want to receive the sacraments of Holy Communion, confession, and the anointing of the sick (but especially the sick and the elderly). I am also looking at ways through which we might be able to connect visually and digitally as well as spiritually. A note will be put up on the website to encourage those who want to receive news and my little missives via email to pass on the relevant address(es) to the parish office. I am also exploring the possibility of livestreaming Masses. There are already a number of parishes doing this already so it might be a little redundant. However, I am open to your thoughts and suggestions on this front.

Once again, be assured of my love and prayers for you all. I look forward to meeting you in due course and I’ll endeavour to write to you all again soon.

My gratitude to Mons for his kind advice and support as he moves to lesser duties. I am sure you will join me in praying for him as he begins this new chapter.

God Bless!

Fr Greg Morgan (Jnr.)

My email address is: gregory.morgan1987@sydneycatholic.org

Prayer of Consecration: Feast of the Assumption

O IMMACULATA, Queen of Heaven and earth, ref­uge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to you. I, Fr Gregory Morgan, a repentant sinner, cast myself at your feet, humbly imploring you to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to yourself as your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death and eternity, what­ever most pleases you as I take up my new ministry as Parish Priest of St Catherine’s, Gymea.  If it pleases you, use all that I am and have with­out reserve, wholly to accomplish what was said of you: “She will crush your head,” and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in your immaculate and mer­ciful hands for introducing and increasing your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indif­ferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed kingdom of the most Sacred Heart of Je­sus. For wherever you enter you obtain the grace of conversion and growth in holiness, since it is through your hands that all graces come to us from the most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise you, O Sacred Virgin.

R. Give me strength against your enemies.



Important Notice Regarding Containers for Fiji

PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY ITEMS FOR FIJI

AT THIS TIME





Remember to Support our Local Village Shops

Fruiticious with Wally & Wadih – two Maronite Catholics
Taste Buds, with Bebe and her young family – the youngest is in Year 5 at St Cath’s
The Gymea Lily (Home & Kitchenware) now owned by parishioner, Peter McGrath
Wrights Butchery (now Meat Hook) run by young Daniel Geary


COVID-19 ANNOUNCEMENT:

COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN UPDATE – SERVICE NSW REQUIREMENTS

¨ All congregants it is preferred that you wear a MASK whilst inside the Church

¨ There must be “NO” entry to site if unwell

¨ All congregants MUST sign in – either by QR code (per person/dependant) or by the SIGN IN Registers – providing name and contact number – MUST BE CLEARLY PRINTED and one person per line and NOT grouped together – that is ONE NAME PER LINE !!!!!!!!

¨ All congregants are reminded that they should leave the Church after the service and not mingle

¨ All congregants are reminded of the requirement of 1.5m rule for physical distancing – 200 maximum at this time

¨ All congregants SHOULD wear masks during any service & afterwards

¨ All congregants are asked to take their bulletin with them after Mass and NOT return them to the area where they are stored or leave them on seats

¨ Maximum number of people within the Church space is 200 being 1 person per 2 square metres – at this time


LEGION OF MARY

The Gymea Legion of Mary welcomes members from Oyster Bay and Miranda parishes who have now joined us.
The Legion meets in the Conference Room from 9:45 am after the 9:15 am morning Mass on Thursdays.
Enquiries can be via the President, Mike Links:
legionofmarygymea@stcaths.org.au


THE MEDJUGORE PRAYER GROUP

Meets every Thursday evening at 6 pm inside the Church (Choir area) and contact is Bruno via email at: medumedjugorjeprayegroup@stcaths.org.au


CATECHISTS

Among the many things impacted by COVID 19 is our Catechist ministry. Many of our volunteers have been forced to discontinue serving as Catechist teachers, out of health concerns for themselves or their family members.
As a result, there are a number of Scripture Classes which do not have a Catechist teacher at present.
If you are in a position, health-wise, to volunteer to teach at the local schools, then please urgently contact the Coordinator, Elena at: catechists@stcaths.org.au


Special Prayer

Parish Credit Card Forms for Planned Giving (download, fill in, scan and email back or post) & New Envelope Contributors……


St Catherine’s Primary School Link

https://www.sclgymea.catholic.edu.au



A message from the Archdiocese of Sydney

The Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney upholds the dignity and rights of all children and is committed to ensuring their safety.
We recognise each child as a gift from God, and we value and encourage the participation of children
in all activities that enhance their spiritual, physical, emotional,
intellectual and social development.

Child sexual abuse is a crime.
The appropriate people to deal with crimes are the police.
If you, or anyone you know, have been abused,
please contact the police.

Alternatively, you can contact the

Safeguarding and Ministerial Integrity Office on (02) 9390 5810
or email at: safeguardingenquiries@sydneycatholic.org.

You may also want to speak to your Parish Priest,
Father Greg Morgan (02 9525.1138) (office@stcaths.org.au)
who will be able to provide support and guidance.

The Archdiocese has a legal obligation to report crimes to the police.