Our dear friends in Christ, may the peace, the love and the joy that Jesus Christ brings be with you all during this Christmas season. We recall that at the “appointed time”, (Gal 4:4), God sent his only son to be our redeemer. He was born by the Virgin Mary. That “appointed time”, that moment of grace was set by God, hence, Jesus Christ intervened in our human history at God’s own time and way. May this period be an appointed time for you: a time of grace, wholeness, healing and forgiveness. May it be a time for you to quit any forms of unruly behaviour like living false lives, being revengeful, betraying the trust of a loved one, addictions to drugs, gambling and excessive drinking. May it also be an appointed time for you to mend relationships, to say sorry from the heart to those whose trust you may have betrayed, and for you to accept apologies from those that may have wounded your heart. May your cheek experience the tears of joy that comes with family reconciliation. May this also be the appointed time for you to find God’s favour.
The prophets of old prophesied about the coming of the Messiah. Moses prophesied that the Lord will raise up a prophet like himself and the people will listen to him, (Deut 18:15-19). We learnt through the mouth of Prophet Isaiah that this awaited prophet shall be a sign that God has pitched his tent with us: He is Emmanuel – God is with us (Is 7:7-14). In fact, the Emmanuel is the Messiah, the only begotten Son of God who came that each person may have life and have it to the fullest, (Jn 10:10), and from him, we have all received grace upon grace, (Jn 1:16). With the birth of Jesus Christ our saviour, we now have the belief that no matter what comes our way, that our tomorrow will be better than today.
The grace that we received from Jesus has helped us to do multiple good works in our Parish during 2019. We implemented our Parish theme of Justice and Peace by raising awareness on environmental issues, modern-day slavery, reaching out to those on the margins of the society through the work of St Vincent de Paul Society and Pregnancy Assistance Frankston and hosting the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda on 19th July. Jesus said, I was hungry, and you gave me food, thirsty and you gave me drink, sick and lonely and you visited me, (Mt 25:31-46).
Other major events that took place in our Parishes during the year included the joint multicultural celebration of the two Parishes’ Feast Days, co-jointly with the Silver Jubilee of Fr. Chinua’s Priestly Ordination on 25th August and the Commemoration of St John’s Parish Golden Jubilee on 10th November.
Our Parish Theme for 2020 is OUTREACH. In the coming year, we intend to continue to implement the vision of Archbishop Peter Comensoli for the Archdiocese of Melbourne. His vision entitled, Reform in the walking has four priority areas – young people, families, the poor and the marginalised.
We intend to implement the Archbishop’s vision by intensifying our ministry to the school families and young adults, increasing our visitations to our Parishioners, and supporting programmes that ameliorate the lives of the poor and marginalised. As a Parish, we will continue to be actively involved in the preparation of the Plenary Council by organising sessions to discuss the collated responses to the question: what is God asking of us in Australia?
Every Parishioner, in one way or another, has contributed to the life of our Parish. Thank you for the gift of yourself to our Parish. You are our greatest treasure. We appreciate your continuous participation in the Parish. Thank you for your financial support, and other voluntary assistance you have given. We pray that God will continue to shower you with his blessings and that you will all have memorable Christmas experiences.
We acknowledge and thank all those who will be participating in our Parish Christmas Liturgical celebrations. Our special greeting goes to all our visitors.
We extend our warmest Christmas greetings to you all. You have touched our lives in special ways, and we hope that our ministry among you is drawing you closer to our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ.
Fr Chinua Okeke CSSp. & Fr Jude Agorchukwu CSSp.