Blessed with the love of God Fr. Joe O’Mara SJ reminds us that sickness is no less a gift than health
In 1998 I had cancer, which was removed, and chemotherapy. I had physiotherapy
and acupuncture in rehabilitation. In 2003 I had bypass surgery, and kept gettingrecurrent pneumonia through 2004 (when I was blessed by joining this commu-
St Ignatius Parish Renewal and Sharing Committee
nity). In 2005 I had cancer which was treated by implants and by radiotherapy. In2006 I had trouble with after-effects of radiotherapy for most of the year. In 2005 Iwas blessed by an opportunity to encapsulate some reflections on my experience
Your Planned Giving $$$ at work
and to thank the community of Clare who had loved me into life through 1998, 1999
Doug Kneebone with an update on work being done around the church
and 2000. I was invited to speak at the Candlelight ceremony in the Walk for Can-cer at Clare in October. Knowing how blessed I’ve been by God - and not only inthe experience of illness - I was privileged to be able to say how this blessing of me,
The Five Year Building and Maintenance Plan, 2006-2010, still has three and a half
imparted in a time of great confrontation with vulnerability and acceptance of mortality,
years to run. So far, the salt damp and guttering repairs to the church have been
was curative. I was sick since July1998, and in hospital for treatment and tests for some
completed, more repainting has been undertaken, the roof tiles and guttering on
weeks before I was diagnosed. All of the Christian community of Clare were praying
Manresa have been replaced, and the extensive drainage works to the car park on
for me, as were other supportive friends. Their love, as I said, gave me life. I was glad,
the northern side of the church are now finished. Other works completed in the
of course, that the treatment was successful, and that I was able to work again after it.
same period are the refurbishment of the parquet flooring to the hall and the renova-tion of the upstairs bathroom suite in Manresa. Since the beginning of this five year
The many acts of kindness, the many words of support and appreciation, the many
period, these works have cost around $170,000 (including about $50,000 of the
tributes made me humbly aware that my loving service of my loving Lord was in
church salt damp and roof repair costs).
turn a blessing of and encouragement to other people, and that love, not illness, isthe meaning and explanation of my life. I was blessed too in my relationship with God.
The original Five Year Building and Maintenance Plan also envisaged refurbish-
Different people had blessed me with a novena to Blessed Mary MacKillop, a novena
ment of the St Vincent De Paul meeting room in Old Manresa, landscaping and
to Pedro Arrupe SJ, and other wise and good prayers and encouraging readings.
grounds improvements, upgrading security of the Manresa buildings and the church,replacement and upgrading of the sound system (including wiring for an external
Two blessings though abide because they had to be digested in prayer. Greg O’Kelly
speaker/public address system), equipment for projection in the church and hall, re-
reminded me of Ignatius’ advice to a brother Jesuit who had experienced deep loss
varnishing and/or replacing some of the pews, the possibility of heating in the church,
in his being no longer able to work. ‘Remember, sickness is no less a gift than
health.’ I received great consolation too, in praying over Jesus’ agony in the garden. Unmanned by his fears and horror of the ordeal before him, He was unable to be
Over the last fifteen years, the cost of capital and maintenance work for the church
consoled by Peter, James and John, as they were unable to comprehend what He
and associated buildings and grounds has averaged about $100,000 per year, and
was experiencing. His Father was remote and His fate confronted Him.
this rate of expenditure is likely to continue. Much of the expenditure over the lastten years has been the result of lack of regular maintenance during the 60’s, 70’s
And He experienced this so that He might be with me as His friends, try though they
and 80’s. Fortunately, due to the continued generosity of parishioners, the parish is debt
might, could not be with Him; and, as well, He could not experience the love that they
free and has been able to fund all work undertaken so far, including the earlier major
were attempting to express. I had the opportunity to be with fellow cancer-bearers, with
restoration of the interior of the church and the construction of the new toilet block.
their carers, with those who had experienced happy deaths, with those who had experi-enced bitter agony. I had the experience to thank them and all those others who had
Are you on the web? Do you surf it often? Do you have our parish website
loved me into life and to bless them, as I am blessed with the love of God. As St Patrick
bookmarked so as you can keep up with all the happenings in the parish?
says, ‘Christ in the hearts of all that love me, I bind unto myself today’. http://www.norwood.catholicsa.org/ for all you need to know about the parish The RCIA Programme The pleasure of being a part of St Ignatius Parish Wendy Talbot on the RCIA programme scheduled to start a new cycle soon Mary Pagani and what being a member of the parish means to her
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) was introduced following a direc-
One of the great pleasures of being a part of St Ignatius Parish is that I have made
tive from the Second Vatican Council. It is mainly laity based and is the preferred
new friends as well as renewed old acquaintances, many who have become friends.
way in which adults become members of the Church today. It is called an Easter
The Parish of St Ignatius spills out into the city of Norwood too – which means that
journey, and it is following the very earliest traditions of the Church, and is more
I see many familiar faces in the Mall, exchange hellos, make eye contact – names
based on ‘an experience of Church’, rather than ‘knowledge about Church’.
are not always important. To inquire of someone whom I haven’t seen for a whileand perhaps gently ask how they are getting on.
We meet regularly in small groups, as friends. Each group consists of a facilitator,one or two enquirers and about five support people – i.e. ordinary Catholics. We
St Ignatius Parish has enabled Fulvio and me to become involved both as a couple
are neither teachers nor preachers, just people who are also learning more about
and as individuals in many parish activities such as Family Groups, First Friday
anointing Mass, the parish retreat and retreats at Sevenhill, the Christian Life Commu-nity , the Lenten programme and Our Lady of Lourdes anointing Mass at the grotto,
We start each meeting with prayer, we read scripture and discuss our ideas and
parish dinners, and more. It is our parish’s priests’ wonderful hospitality and generos-
feelings about particular Catholic matters. The exact content of the meeting de-
ity and their spirituality that inspires me and makes me grateful to be a part of this parish.
pends upon the needs of the enquirers – we have to be flexible – and it gives theman opportunity to discuss the Catholic faith with ordinary ‘run-of-the mill Catho-lics’ – as one former coordinator described us. And it’s true – that is what we are!
I met him forty years ago in outback Queensland when we were both in the Army. He was a pilot and went on to become a captain with Qantas. We became good
Our ‘bottom line’ is that if the Catholic Church is of value, it is only because we
mates and kept in contact all those years, latterly through the magic of email. I
believe it helps to bring us closer to God by preserving for us the teachings of the
knew that he was ill and, for the past few months, he hinted that the end was nigh.
man who was God – Jesus Christ. Therefore, we do spend quite some time concen-
It was no surprise then when I had a call from his son to say that he had passed
trating on, and getting to know, the person of Jesus. Can this community here in
away. A few hours later I sat in front of the computer, looked at my email address
Norwood help me in this? Well, we do our best. Being a Catholic Christian is a life
book and then, with a click of the mouse, I deleted his name. Snuffed it out like a candle.
long journey, and nobody knows everything, not even the Pope. So there are no
No longer able to be contacted. Only then did I realise that he was gone - and it took my
tests or exams, and there is always something more to learn. We say that the enquir-
breath away that a click of the mouse could bring it home more than his son’s words.
ers learn a lot, but so do the support people, so we answer questions as best we can
(and ask a priest, if necessary, to help out.)
[The RCIA Programme ~ continued]
We start our Easter journey in about August or September and continue through
I was met with so much openness, warmth and friendliness, I was overwhelmed.
until Pentecost the following year. Along the way, we have a Rite of Welcome,
Truly, for me, this was Church. Of course there were things I had doubts about – I
where enquirers are introduced to the whole community; a Rite of Election at the
still do! – but overall I feel that this was where my faith could be nourished and
cathedral, where they meet the archbishop and the whole diocesan family, before
where I would also be able to give something back.I have stayed involved in the
being received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. We continue meeting until
RCIA over the years, and have taken many different roles – eg. as facilitator, coor-
Pentecost and generally conclude the cycle with a home Mass.
dinator, sponsor ,and support person, principally because I wanted to make somereturn to a process that has been so instructive and constructive of my faith. I have
In 1986 I moved to Adelaide with my teenage sons, and began my RCIA journey. I
made many really good friends and have never (yet) regretted the decision I believe
was a candidate for full communion, as I was already baptized and had a strong
God directed me towards twenty years ago. I thank all who have helped me along
Christian background. In fact, I had become what a friend called ‘an ecclesiastical
the way and would encourage anyone who feels interested to become part of the
tramp’ as I searched for a place to call a true spiritual home. [continued >> ]
RCIA programme – it can change your life as it did mine.
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