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It’s Lent! Questions posed and reflected upon.
8th March, 2017

Who or what is  Lent?

Derived from the word lencten, which is Anglo-Saxon for springtime.Lent is the 40-day season of preparation prior to Easter which begins on Ash Wednesday.

Why is it 40 days?

Next to the number seven, the number forty occurs most frequently in the Bible. It represents a period of testing or judgment. Lent’s duration of 40 days reflects other times of trial, testing and hardship found in the Scriptures:

  • The story of Noah tells of rain falling on the earth for 40 days and 40 nights.
  • Both Moses and Elijah fasted for 40 days before beginning their missions.
  • The Hebrews wandered for 40 years in the desert after leaving Egypt.
  • It took the spies 40 days to search out the promised land and bring back fruit.
  • Goliath taunted the Israelite army in the morning and evening for 40 days.
  • Jonah warned the Ninevites they had 40 days until God would overthrow the city.
  • Jesus fasted and prayed in the desert for 40 days before beginning his ministry.


My parish prays the Stations of the Cross during Lent. How did this custom originate?

The Stations of the Cross originated during the crusades when it was popular to visit Jerusalem to follow the steps to Calvary. After the Holy Land was captured, pilgrimages became a very dangerous affair. A desire arose to reproduce these holy places in other lands as a substitute pilgrimage.

It soon became popular to have outdoor markers indicate not only the scenes in Christ’s path to Golgotha, but also the actual distances from location to location. Crude markers eventually gave way to elaborate artwork depicting the events of Jesus’ trial, torture and execution. By the mid 18th century, the Stations were allowed inside the church and served as a focus for Lenten devotions.

The Stations help the participant make a spiritual pilgrimage to the major scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death. Prayers are said until the entire route is complete, enabling the faithful to more literally take up their cross and follow Jesus. By Dan Gonzalez

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What is Lent?(and Make this one Awesome)
28th February, 2017

Lent means “springtime” and Springtime is an awesome time!

Andy Lesnefsky explains more about this liturgical time of lent and how we can participate more fully.

Here are 5 additional tips to help you focus on the why and the who of Lent:

  1. Aim for consistency in prayer. Consistency is key in growing any relationship. Grow in your love and knowledge of Jesus this Lent by being consistent.
  2. Make your prayer more honest. That might sound strange to you, but honesty in prayer means not holding back from God. God knows you perfectly. Honesty in prayer allows for intimacy. It’s about letting God love you and receiving that love.
  3. Give something up that distracts you from your relationship with God or others.
  4. Disconnect from technology for 1-2 hours. Turn your phone off. Connect with people. Connect with God. Technology is a great thing, but can so easily distract us.
  5. Give this Lent. Often times we don’t connect our wallet and our checkbook to our spiritual disciplines. Make an effort to give weekly to a charity making a tangible difference to help the poor.

February 21, 2017 by

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Ash Wednesday – The Meaning behind the Dust
26th February, 2017

Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent, a 40 day period of repentance when Catholics take time to remind themselves that life indeed is limited: that we will die.

The Ash Wednesday day ritual is simple.  Catholics place ashes on their foreheads as a visible reminder to others that they acknowledge that their bodies will turn to ash one day, that life is indeed precarious, but that they are also a resurrection people.

Catholics believe that more lies beyond this end, and so the ashes are marked by the sign of faith — the cross — at once a symbol of God’s destruction and His greatest triumph.

We listen to the words that the priest or minister says to us as he places the ashes on our forehead: “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” Or, “Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel.

Some questions to reflect on during the 40 days of Lent are:

  • What is it that holds us back from really living our best life?
  • What do we have to die to — or, at the very least, fast from — in order to liberate ourselves from our bad habits?
  • What do we have to give of ourselves to others, to causes, to God, so that we may stretch ourselves into new ways of being?
  • How does prayer center us into growth

This is the stuff of Lent and Ash Wednesday kicks off the Lenten season for Catholics and other Christians.

taken from:

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The Sign of the Cross
13th February, 2017

At the beginning of every year, our office holds a day for required in-servicing in Workplace Health and Safety, Student Protection and ICT Code of Practice. This is a day the whole of our CEO office get together and we always commence the day with prayer.

This year our prayer centered on The Sign of the Cross:

In the name of the Father

and of the Son

and of the Holy Spirit 


I thought I would share some insights from Catholic Exchange website:  

The sign of the Cross is a simple gesture yet a profound expression of faith or both Catholic and Orthodox Christians. As Catholics it is something we do when we enter a church and every time we pray.

But what exactly are we doing?

We open ourselves to grace. As a sacramental, the Sign of the Cross prepares us for receiving God’s blessing.

We commit our whole selves to Christ. In moving our hands from our foreheads to our hearts and then both shoulders, we are asking God’s blessing for our mind, our passions and desires, our very bodies.

We affirm the Trinity. In invoking the name of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, we are affirming our belief in the triune God.

We confess our faith. In affirming our belief in the Incarnation, the crucifixion and the Trinity, we are making a sort of mini- confession of faith in words and gestures.

We reaffirm our baptism. In using the same words with which we were baptised, the Sign of the Cross is a ‘summing up and re-acceptance of our baptism’.

We witness to others. As a gesture often made in public, the Sign of the Cross is a simple way to witness our faith to others.

Fr Mike Schmitz shares with us 3 things to know about the Sign of the Cross.

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Happy New Year – Advent
24th November, 2016

A NEW YEAR in the Church’s calendar begins Sunday. Happy new year to all!

This period is appropriately called “Advent”.  It comes from the Latin word adventus which simply means ‘coming’.  But whose coming are we talking about?  Obviously we are beginning to prepare to remember God coming to be a human being among us, with us and like us.  And yet, although the Scripture for today does speak of the coming of God, it makes no mention of the coming of Christ as Christmas.

Actually, at this time we can speak of three comings of God.  The first, is when Jesus, the Son of God came to be born in the stable at Bethlehem.  But Sunday’s Mass also speaks of the final coming of Jesus at the end of the world.  And there is still a third kind of coming we need to be aware of, namely, when God enters our lives every day.  Every single experience can be an opportunity to make contact with God.  And we are reminded of that ongoing contact with God especially in the celebration of the sacraments, including this Eucharist.

Reflection taken from Sacred Space:Living Space

Jesus Speaks by J. Janda 

You can do
without me

why do you
keep trying
to do things


A child is not
supposed to
heavy things

all I ask is
you talk to me

tell me why
you are sad

tell me why
you are afraid

tell me why
you are tired

come to me—I
will refresh
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Reflecting on the Year of Mercy
8th November, 2016

The Year of Mercy that Pope Francis proclaimed last year concludes  November 20, 2016.

Mercy is the most fundamental and defining attribute of God, revealed through God’s actions throughout the Old Testament and most notably, in the person of Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

Micah 7: 18-20

Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression

of the remnant of your possession?

He does not retain his his anger forever, because he delights in showing clemency.

During the Extraordinary Year of Mercy  we heard the word mercy linked with  Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. And for good reason—mercy is something that we need to put into action. We experience God’s mercy ourselves and then we are called to extend that mercy to others.

Questions to ponder….

  • How many Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy can we name as a group?
  •  Which of these works of mercy have you practiced most recently?
  • For whom are you called to perform works of mercy on a daily basis?

Pope Francis  has urged us to spread God’s mercy to all corners of the world and also to future generations, specifically by protecting God’s creation. In his encyclical, Laudato Si’ (On Care for Our Common Home), Pope Francis makes it clear to us that protecting our environment for generations to come is an act of mercy, since God’s gift of creation was an act of mercy toward us.

Questions to ponder…

  • What  concrete ways have you shown mercy and compassion for God’s creation?
  • What part of God’s creation are you most thankful for and do you feel most compelled to preserve and protect for future generations?

Pope Francis reminds us that the Beatitudes are the “protocol” by which the Christian life is to be lived:

The Lord will recognize us if … we recognized him in the poor, in the hungry, in the indigent and the outcast, in those who suffer and are alone … This is one of the fundamental criteria for evaluating our Christian life, which Jesus calls us to measure up to every day. I read the Beatitudes and I think of how my Christian life should be, and then I examine my conscience with this Chapter 25 of Matthew. It will do us good! They are simple but concrete things.

What is a blessing?

A blessing is a circle of light drawn around to protect a person, heal and strengthen.

Life is a constant flow of emergence.

The beauty of blessing is its belief that it can affect what unfolds… A blessing awakens future wholeness… We could say that a blessing ‘fore brightens’ the way…—JOHN O’DONOHUE,

How can you continue to “Be a Blessing….”

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Pope Francis’ Prayer Intention for the month of July
12th July, 2016
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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis’ prayer intention for July is for Respect for Indigenous Peoples: That indigenous peoples, whose identity and very existence are threatened, will be shown due respect.

Indigenous peoples have been a theme in many of Pope Francis’ speeches and travels abroad since his election, including his 2015 encyclical “Laudato Si.”

After speaking out on issues indigenous peoples face in the environmental document, he advocated on their behalf exactly one year ago during his July 5-13, 2015, trip to Latin America, which included stops in Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay.

“I say this to you with regret: many grave sins were committed against the native peoples in the name of God,” he said, asking, like St. John Paul II, that “the Church ‘kneel before God and implore forgiveness for the past and present sins of her sons and daughters.’”

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The Compassionate Samaritan. How compassionate are you?
7th July, 2016

This Sunday the Gospel is one that is very familiar to us. It retells the parable of the Good Samaritan.  Luke 10:25-37

The following background on the parable is provided by Loyola press ( and helps us to understand some of the meaning of the world behind this familiar text.DSC_1422

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho descends 3,300 feet in just 17 miles. Its narrow passes and rocky terrain made it an easy place for bandits to wait for travelers. The traveler in this parable is identified only as “a certain man.” Luke uses this phrase in many of his parables so that the audience, Jew or Gentile, could identify with the man. After the attack, the man is left for dead, naked and bleeding on the side of the road. A priest comes along, but rather than helping, as one might expect, he moves to the other side of the road. Another religious person comes along, a Levite who assists in the Temple. His reaction is the same as the priest’s. Both of them choose to not even find out if the man is alive. A third person comes along. The listeners would probably expect him to be an Israelite. This would make the parable a criticism of the religious leadership. Instead he is a Samaritan, an Israelite’s most hated neighbor. Samaritans were descendants of Jews from the northern part of the country, who had intermarried with Gentiles and did not worship in Jerusalem. The Samaritan not only goes over to the injured man but cleans his wounds, puts him on his own animal, takes him to an inn to recover, and promises to pay all his expenses. The hated enemy is the compassionate neighbor in this parable.

Jesus has demolished all boundary expectations. It is not social definitions such as class, religion, gender, or ethnicity that determines who is our neighbor. A neighbor is a person who acts with compassion toward another.

The point becomes not who deserves to be loved as I love myself, but that I become a person who treats everyone with compassion.

It is easy to love those who love you but

  • I wonder who was a neighbour to the robber….
  • I wonder who was a neighbour to the priest….
  • I wonder who was a neighbour to the Levite….
  • I wonder who was a neighbour to the Samaritan…


Jesus challenges us in the parables to not just love those who are easy to love but to love everyone – even those who hurt us, who reject us, who murder, who commit acts of violence, who steal, who are racists, etc etc etc…


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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday
4th July, 2016

The Jubilee Year of Mercy is an opportunity to experience and, importantly, encounter God’s Grace on many levels. By encountering God’s Mercy on an individual level we avail ourselves of the warmth and nourishment of God’s love. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council believes that these blessings can be amplified and shared when we open our hearts to the concept of Mercy amongst our friends, loved ones, communities and most importantly, those of which we have previously found conflict. The act of ‘black and white’ people praying together for mercy, forgiveness and justice is a powerful symbol of all that the Year of Mercy represents. By placing an emphasis on opening our hearts to God and seeking his everlasting forgiveness and strength to forgive, we allow ourselves to become unburdened by the weight that many of us have carried on our shoulders and in our hearts for generations.

NATSICC Resources accessed 4/07/16

2016 marks the 30th Anniversary of Saint Pope John Paul II’s address to Aboriginal people in Alice Springs. His words have resonated across this country and they continue to do so. It would be appropriate on this Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Sunday to refer to his ground breaking address. The full transcript is available at

God of the Holy Dreaming Prayer

God of holy Dreaming

Great Creator Spirit

From the dawn of creation you have given your children

The good things of Mother Earth

You spoke and the gum tree grew

In the vast deserts and dense forests, in the cities,

At the water’s edge, creation sings your praise.

Your presence endures as the rock at the heart of our land.

When Jesus hung on the tree

You heard the cries of all Your people

And became one with Your wounded ones

The convicts, the hunted and the dispossessed.

The sunrise of Your Son

Coloured the earth anew

And bathed it in glorious hope.

In Jesus we have been reconciled to You,

To each other and to Your whole creation.

Lead us on Great Spirit

As we gather at this special place

Located on land where ancestors of long ago

Gathered for work, play and praise.

Enable us to walk together in trust from the hurt of the past

Into the full day which has dawned in Jesus Christ.



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Educating Hearts
20th June, 2016

I recently read a book called ‘Educating Hearts‘ by A Maher and B. Hanley which made me stop and think again about the vocation of teaching and the place of the Catholic school in the universal church. What do I think is the purpose of Catholic schools today? In the complexity of our society and the various understandings of what it means to be Catholic, how do we as an organisation endeavour to educate the heart!

“Education of the heart entails understanding human nature, rather than insisting upon mechanical compliance to structures.”( Maher and Hanley, 2013, p149DSC_0994)

Maher and Hanley purpose that there are seven characteristics of a good school:

  1. Service – Being given opportunities to serve others.
  2. Community – Being a school that fosters community collaboration
  3. Teachers – Having teachers who are respected and respectful
  4. Spirituality– Recognising the transcendent. Putting God at the centre.
  5. Diversity– Being taught in an environment that values acceptance.
  6. Care of the Individual– Being valued as a unique loving individual
  7. Process– Being in a context that values process as well as content.

They continue to say “Implementing the seven characteristics within schools affirms the outstanding virtues of courage, humility, mate-ship, self-sacrifice, compassion, joy, resilience, understanding, gentleness and strength…devising initiatives that allow young people to experience through care of their neighbour, the incredible depth of their own humanity.

Thomas Groome writes that “it is a sacred privilege and an awesome responsibility to be an educator. And it may be the closest we have to a universal human vocation” . (Thomas Groome 1998, p.34.)

I wondeDSC_1519r what you feel are important characteristics of a good Catholic school.

I wonder where God is in the story of education.

I wonder where God is in your story as an educator.


Groome, T 1998. Educating For Life.  Crossroads Publishing, New York.

Maher, A & Hanley, B 2013, Educating Hearts. St Paul’s Publications, Strathfield, NSW.


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