Guardian Angels Church
All Masses Suspended
My Dear Parishioners,
I would like in this difficult time to connect with you as we approach one of the most important days in the Australian calendar. As most of you have guessed by now, I was born in Ireland and having lived most of my life in Australia and not growing up with a sense of the ANZAC spirit, I was afforded the tremendous opportunity to visit Gallipoli not once but twice in 1998 and again in 2009.
There are few places on this earth that have impacted and changed my perception of Australia and what it means to be an Australian and the incredible sacrifice that many young men and women have made for this nation in the course of the twentieth century and are still making today. Apart from its serene beauty perched on the entrance to the Dardanelles, it is not humanly possible to stand there and not be moved by the terrible suffering and death that took place just over a century ago. As I walked along the grave stones I was hard pressed to see any soldier living beyond their thirties, most died in their late teens and early twenties. In the words of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road.” As I walked long those grave stones, ‘my heart burned within me’ as I tried to comprehend the sheer suffering and hope Gallipoli symbolises not just for Australia but also for the rest of the world. My perception of Australia and ANZAC has been forever changed. When we celebrate ANZAC Day it’s not a celebration of Australia or Australian victories, we are not celebrating how great our country is. Rather we celebrate the sacrifice and loss of the young men and women who protected the freedom of others.
At this time I would like to take the opportunity to bring you up to date on what’s happening in the Parish. Most of you are aware that the Parish is building a new community centre (Lumen Christi – Light of Christ) behind St. Joseph the Worker at Labrador due for completion midyear. Work is progressing well given the slow start caused by the heavy rain in early February. This centre is much needed and will provide a place for the St. Joseph’s community and Parish to celebrate and improve the coordination and delivery of services and programs. Moreover, I would like to thank Terry Naug for coordinating and project-managing the construction of the centre, his help has been invaluable (photographs - please see the Newsletter of 23/04/2020 page 3).
Furthermore, due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the closure of our churches I have taken the necessary decision to carry out much needed work and maintenance on our churches in particular Guardian Angels Southport. Some of you would have noticed the frenzied number of maintenance vans parked outside. Upon my arrival in early February, Work, Health and Safety issues were raised concerning the safety of the sanctuary podium from an Archdiocesan and Parish level. Apparently, some parishioners and visitors over the years have missed or nearly missed the edge of the podium and were injured, thank God not too seriously. The new sanctuary has been relocated and is nearing completion under the cross (photographs - please see the Newsletter of 23/04/2020 page 3).
I was planning to carry out this work later in the year, but since the Coronavirus has closed all our churches, I made the decision to do the work now to spare our parishioners the upheaval in the months ahead. I apologise for the lack of communication but the Coronavirus has made it difficult and challenging to advise all of our parishioners adequately. I can assure you that there are no structural or architectural changes made to the church only cosmetic. I have taken this opportunity to have the church repainted and the tabernacle restored. The floor will be sanded and polished and the pews will have new padding inserted under their feet to protect the floor from scratching. We have a dampness issue with the tower and a number of missing roof tiles which are being attended to and the strip lighting in the recessed ceiling needs replacing. The rest is general maintenance.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our parish staff, and Fr. Huong and Fr. Stephen for their help and support in these difficult times. They have been the connection and contact with all of you, and it is with sadness we say good bye to Fr. Huong who has taken up his new appointment as Associate Pastor, Mitchelton. We thank him for his many years of ministry and service to the parish. He made me welcome in Southport and made my transition easy, we will not forget his infectious smile and easy going manner. Thank you Fr. Huong.
Please remember that the parish office is opened Monday to Friday 8.30 am to 4.30 pm and we are here to support you in any way possible. Please be assured of our prayers and remember us in yours. Thank God the news is good regarding the Coronavirus and light seems to be shining at the end of the tunnel.
Wishing you all God’s blessings and keep safe.
DISCOVER A BEAUTIFUL FAITH IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. Over the years, there have been an untold number of questions and objections raised about the Catholic Church’s teachings and practices. The answers are there, and it’s worth your time to find them. As the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “There are not even 100 people in this country who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they think the Catholic Church to be.” The Lord wants us all to know and understand His truth, so we can embrace it wholeheartedly and live by it. Christ reminds us, “The truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).