Golden Jubilee celebration 1961 - 2011

 

Calendar of Events

Sunday, 6 March • Opening Anniversary Mass at 10am for past & present parishioners, students and teachers in the Parish Church
• Sausage Sizzle after Mass in school grounds
Saturday, 26 March & Sunday, 27 March Planned Giving Renewal
Sunday, 17 April to Sunday, 24 April Holy Week and Easter
Monday, 25 April Anzac Day
Friday, 6 May Senior Parishioner’s Celebration
• New Learning Areas of the Parish School open for inspection from 11.10am
• Senior Parishioner’s Mass, with Children from Parish School at 12 noon
• Light Lunch provided at 1.15pm in the School grounds
Friday, 3 June • Dinner Dance at Bowman Hall, Blacktown from 7.00pm to midnight. 2-course meal, tea, coffee provided at $25 per head. BYO drinks
• Please ring the Parish Centre on 9672.4037 to book a table or purchase ticket(s)
June St Vincent de Paul events
Saturda, 23 July e-Conference – Theme – The Holy Spirit
Saturday, 27 August Parish Retreat – “The Life and Spirituality of St Mary of the Cross MacKillop”
Monday 15 to Sunday 21 August World Youth Day – Madrid
Saturday, 22 October Bi-Annual Fete
Sunday, 6 November • Closing Anniversary Mass at 10am with Bishop Anthony Fisher, OP and concelebrating priests
• After Mass there will be an International Lunch in the Parish Hall – Please bring along a plate of your national dish or favourite food to share with everyone
Saturday, 26 November e-Conference - TBA

Letter to Parishioners

Why? Saint Bernadette’s Jubilee Theme 2011

In consultation with the Parish Pastoral Council, we have decided that the theme for the Jubilee Year in 2011 will be “WE WILL SHINE.” The theme draws its inspiration from the Baptismal liturgy. During the baptismal rite, after the person has been baptised the godparent is asked to come forward and to light a candle from the Easter candle and give it to the adult or to hold it on behalf of the child. The celebrant then says: “You have been enlightened by Christ. Walk always as a child of the light and keep the flame of faith alive in your heart. When the Lord comes, may you go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom. Amen.”

The phrases such as: ‘you have been enlightened’ and ‘walk always as a child of the light’ and again keep the flame of faith alive’ call us to be serious about our commitment to carry forward the work the Christ began in the Parish of Saint Bernadette’s 50 years ago. In Saint Matthews Gospel, chapter 28 verses 19 and 20, we read Jesus’ last instructions to His Apostles. “Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptise them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the world.”

Think of how often the church in her sacred liturgy uses the symbol of light to speak of and to celebrate Jesus Christ who proclaimed Himself to be ‘the Light of the world’ (John 8:12). At Christmas we celebrate the light of Christ coming into our world darkened by sin, at Epiphany we celebrate Christ as the light to the nations of the world and at Easter we celebrate Christ as the light of the world through our lighting of the Easter Candle. From the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate the Holy Spirit’s role in helping us to ‘walk as children of the light’.

Our baptism as Christians places a great responsibility on us to be faithful, to all that is ours through our union with Christ. For the past 50 years thousands of baptised individuals in this parish have sought to live as fully as they were able, their baptismal commitment. They in union with their pastors, took seriously Christ’s commission to the church. They have made disciples, taught the faith and have tried to witness the Christ-like life, in the sure and certain knowledge of Christ’s presence with them to bless all their efforts. As we remember their efforts during this Jubilee Year, we can feel justly proud and grateful for all their loving sacrificial efforts.

Our Jubilee Year 2011 is a special time, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to discern the will of God for the years ahead. As we continue to baptise babies and adults into the faith that we all profess, we will have to be sure that we will be able to help them to ‘keep the flame of faith alive in their hearts’. Our 21st century world, will offer to the church and its members, challenges that previous generations did not have to face. However, with the help of the Holy Spirit who brings the presence of Christ, “WE WILL SHINE” the light of faith. We will continue to be a people who believe in the value of community, the sacraments and service of others as a way of life. And, we will seek to discover anew with the help of our patron, Saint Bernadette, the power of prayer that changes lives, especially our own.

Throughout this Jubilee Year as we celebrate spiritually and socially, may all that we do bear witness to our deep gratitude for the past and our willingness to be daring in facing the challenges of the future with Christ. Ours is the challenge to make real the words of our Parish Vision Statement that; “the Parish of Saint Bernadette’s strives to be a vibrant, active, Catholic community, that is welcoming and nurturing to all and celebrates being a people of God, with Christ as its model’.

Let us then enjoy this wonderful Jubilee Year of God’s grace and favour, seeking through our prayer to make the words in the chorus of our Jubilee Hymn a reality: ‘We will shine’ the light of Christ. We will share His light of love. With Saint Bernadette we’ll praise; Christ our Light.

Your pastor and brother in Christ,
Father Andrew PP


WE WILL SHINE

(St Bernadette’s Lalor Park Jubilee Hymn)

As we celebrate this Year of Jubilee,
Giving thanks for all in this community.
We remember all the heartache; we remember all the joys,
As we’ve lived and shared the light of Jesus Christ. 

We will shine the light of Christ
We will share His light of love,
With St Bernadette, we’ll praise,
Christ our light.

May the Spirit of the Christ be with us all,
Helping us to do Christ’s good and mighty works,
May we preach the good news freely, freeing those who are oppressed,
Bringing hope and healing to those most in need.

As an Easter people wished in Christ’s own love,
We are fed and nourished by his holy Word.
At the Eucharistic table we remember and receive,
Christ who died and rose to share love’s liberty.

As we stand before the times that face us now,
We are young and old in years but strong in faith.
We have stumbled and we’ve triumphed, as we’ve lived the Christ-like life,
And our faith in Christ will stand the test of time.

St Bernadette’s Parish Lalor Park
50th Jubilee Prayer, 1961-2011

Faithful God, you have called us through our baptism to be one with Jesus Christ ‘The Light of the World’, in this community of faith.

We ask you to bless us as we celebrate 50 years of sacramental life and service. Help us to remain faithful as we ‘Shine the Light’ of Christ,

so that the generations to come, may be faithful and daring, like St Bernadette of Lourdes, in following Jesus Christ your Son.

We ask this blessing through Jesus our brother and Lord. Amen.

HOMILY FOR ST. BERNADETTE’S
GOLDEN JUBILEE (1961-2011)
Opening Masses 5/6/ March 2011

Reaching 50 years as a community of faith is indeed something to celebrate. Yes 50 years has gone by and God has done some great and wonderful things here at St Bernadette’s, Lalor Park. I would presume that there may be present at this celebration some who were around, when the parish began, and those who know some of the earliest parishioners. We at St Bernadette’s need to keep telling our stories about how the light of the faith has been carried forward throughout the years. The stories of active faith alive in people’s lives give us hope – hope for the possibilities in the future. They remind us that God is with us even in our struggles. Our hope is rooted in God’s possibility, which is always bigger and stranger than we can ever imagine.

Our parish was founded in 1961 by Father Hughie Leonard and was dedicated to Our Blessed Mother’s French visionary - St. Bernadette of Lourdes. Our patron saint is a great example of how the faith can be lived and shared even in the most difficult of times. The parish was originally part of the Seven Hills, Parish. However, the will of God was that this parish should become a reality. Having marked the Silver Jubilee of the Parish with a mass of thanksgiving celebrated in 1986 by my predecessor Fr Tim Crowley, who is with us today. I now have the honour of celebrating with you, this mass of thanksgiving to mark the beginning of our parish’s celebrations for the 50th Jubilee Year. For the many priests who have served in this parish we can give thanks today.

Today we remember and give thanks to God for the 50 years of sacramental life, education and apostolic service. We give thanks for the faith of the community which has worshipped here over five decades. We give thanks not only for the priests who have served in the parish over these 50 years, but also thankfully, include the service given by the Sisters of Saint Joseph who founded our parish school. We thank God with all our hearts for all the blessings and graces which God has granted through the Masses and other acts of worship and prayerful devotion which have taken place in this and the former church. We thank God for the sacrifices both physical and financial that have made the very physical fabric which serves this faith community a reality for both the present and future generations. For the many years of faithful witness to the catholic faith we give thanks today.

I cannot think of a message which is more suitable for the opening of our Jubilee Year, than the message of today’s Gospel and of today’s readings. The message is, that security in life comes through our listening to God and having faith in the sure way of Christ, our rock of safety. And how suitable is the message communicated in today’s Old Testament reading from the Book of Deuteronomy. In the reading, Moses pleads for the Chosen People of God, to be faithful in their commitment to the commands of God. How many people have knelt in prayer in the former church and in this church over the years, asking God for the help they needed to live out their baptismal commitment, and received it with thanksgiving and joy? For this we give thanks today.

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans is most confident of the wonderful gift of saving grace that is ours through Jesus Christ. He assures us that: “… Jesus who was appointed by God to sacrifice his life so as to win reconciliation …” And how many times over the last 50 years in this Church of St. Bernadette’s have the men, women and children of this parish gathered together for the Mass, which is the sacrament of our redemption and reconciliation with God. This great gift of redemption has been celebrated when the saving words of Jesus were proclaimed, “This is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.” For this too we give thanks today.

In today’s Gospel by Matthew, Jesus himself lifts up our minds and hearts in the simple teaching from the great Sermon on the Mount. Jesus says; “Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like the sensible person who built their house on rock.” How many times over the last 50 years in this community, have people struggled to build the fabric of their lives and their destiny on the rock of Jesus’ words? How many in this parish community have experienced the support of the rock which is Christ, through the concrete acts of love from this community? How many times in the last 50 years have people gone out from this church and were able to share Christ’s love with young and old alike? For this too we give thanks today with all our hearts.

There is, I believe, a deep need in all of us for hope, security and guidance in our fast paced changing world today. Many people are looking for values and a life-style that will bring them a sense of deep fulfilment. Our culture, with its many conflicting voices, promises quick easy self-centred ways of being and living. Many people do not know how to communicate with God or they do not know or have not experienced the great gift of God’s saving love, given for all in and through Jesus Christ. So many are looking for a light to guide them in the darkness of uncertainty and suffering. As we enter this year of Jubilee let us commit ourselves to ‘Shine The Light Of Christ’ through the witness of our lives, that others may come to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. For the light of Christ’s love that has shone, and continues to shine we give thanks today.

My sisters and brothers, the central experience of the Church and of the Christian people, is the mystery of our Redemption, the experience of forgiveness and the peace that comes to us from doing God’s will. We should not sell ourselves short and underestimate the gifts that God has given us and what we have to offer as a community, in this the third millennium of the church. As we give thanks to God for the life of this church community, we can say with certainty, that the parish community which worships here, is called in the future to be servants of that mystery of forgiveness and reconciliation, which was proclaimed by St Paul and which we celebrate today in this Eucharist.

So, on this the beginning of our 50th Jubilee of the Parish of St. Bernadette, I encourage each of you to join with me in the task of becoming the Church according to the vision of the Gospel and the Second Vatican Council. May we become a holy and prayerful Church; a Church that is faithful to the Word of God, sanctified by the Sacraments and centred on the Eucharist. May we become a Church in which everyone is evangelised and is an evangeliser; a pilgrim people on the way to the full coming of God’s kingdom. May we become a Church which has a thirst for justice and for sharing the burdens of humanity; a Church which, like Mary the mother of the Lord, is a shining sign of hope for all humanity. This vision of church is a goal towards which we can aspire and indeed measure ourselves against.

May the Holy Spirit - the Lord and giver of life, the giver of dreams and vision - be our helper and guide and may the intercession of St Bernadette our patron saint be our strength, as we go forward into the future to fulfil God’s will for us as a faith community. May God continue to bless abundantly all of us here at St. Bernadette’s Parish and may this Jubilee year be a source of joy and challenge for all of us. My deep wish for all of us at this Eucharist today, is that God would grant the requests we made during our opening prayer. Let me remind you of what you gave your Amen or Yes to – “God our Father, teach us to cherish the gifts that surround us. Increase our faith in you and bring our trust to its promised fulfilment in the joy of your kingdom.” I would also like to add – and help each one of us ‘To Shine The Light of Christ’s Love’ joyfully. In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Fr Andrew Robinson
Parish Priest
5/6 March, 2011

Golden Jubilee Closing Mass Homily

by Fr. Andrew Robinson, Parish Priest

Today we have come together for a unique historic event. What we are coming together to celebrate is not the anniversary of this building - but 50 years of worship, service and education of this family of faith. The church is and has always been more than a building.

Let us never forget that even though we are celebrating 50 years as a congregation – our heritage goes back much further than that. It was Jesus Christ who founded the church when He said to St Peter and the Apostles; “I will build My church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

The church has never been my church or your church – even though we talk that way. You see the church has always belonged to Jesus Christ. He said, “I will build My church.” Through the Sacrament of Baptism you and I became a part of His church – because what makes a church is not the building that they meet in – but the people who are joined together because of the relationship that they have with Jesus Christ.

They say that dogs age seven times faster than their owners and that a seven year old dog is about the same age as a fifty year old person. They don’t say anything like that for churches. Do churches age the same as people? Is a fifty year old church like a fifty year old person? Or, is it like “dog years”? Whatever the issue about aging I feel that we as a faith community we are looking pretty good for our age.

This year we have looked look back with eyes of faith over the past fifty years of church life here at St Bernadette’s, Lalor Park. We have to admit that the past fifty years have seen much change for our church and our society. Change always bring challenge but the challenges and struggles is what makes faith strong and vibrant.

As we have remembered the wonderful people who have served so faithfully down through the years, we have given thanks to God. Psalm 92 exhorts; “It is good to give thanks to the LORD.” As we have remembered the transforming graces given at this altar; first in the old church building and now in this building, we have given thanks to God. As we have remembered all the lives that have been changed; the marriages that have been made and saved, the prodigals who came home to God through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and the lives that have been healed by the power of Christ. In a special way we have gratefully remembered all the sacrifices of those in the early days of this church who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and the founding fathers and mothers who are still with us. As we remember we can only say, “To God be the Glory! Great Things God Has Done”! We have to admit I think, that as a faith community, we are looking pretty good for our age - praise the Lord!

All of us at times would like to think we will be remembered. Sometimes people have carved their name into a tree or perhaps scratch it into wet cement. Wherever they put it, you can see the evidence, that whoever it was, it was some time in the past. But, being a church is not just about looking back to the past, to buildings built – as beautiful as they may be. It is about being alive with Christ in the here and now. As we look at this congregation, as we look at the people and the lives that have been impacted by this church, I trust we can that see what the Hand of God has written; “I was here with you. I came for you. I touched your lives. I forgave your sin. I healed your families. I gave you wonderful brothers and sisters to love. Yes, I was here. I will continue to be here.” I am convinced that it is true. However, when we look to the future, I hope we will be able to hear God saying, “I will be here. I will be here with you and for you. Do not be afraid.”

As St Bernadette’s continues to worship and serve God. As we continue to impact the lives of people in this community for the next fifty years, we realize that God will be here, always faithful in supporting our efforts. But more important than God’s blessings in the past and more important than God’s provision in the future, God is here today saying; “Here I am with you - remember me, remember my love for you. Share my love.”

We at St Bernadette’s are a body of believers, not a business. We are an organism, not an organization. Therefore whatever your gifts and talents you have - they are needed by this part of Christ’s body. You have been placed here to help the whole body. Therefore, a top priority in this community is unity with diversity. As St Teresa of Avila reflects; “Christ has no body now but yours and mine.” We are all different? That’s the way God has made us. That’s the way God has placed us together. God loves that. God loves our diversity, but also wants us to be united in our diversity. We’re different in many ways – yet we have the same Lord and Saviour – Jesus the Christ. We can and must have unity with diversity, if we are to witness effectively to Christ’s presence with us. As Jesus says; “May they all be one, so that the world may believe.”

The nature of the church will never change. When we try to treat the church as a business or as just another organization we are doomed for failure. It is God who defines who we are and how we are to function. Our vision statement here at St Bernadette’s says: “The parish of St Bernadette’s strives to be a vibrant, active, Catholic community, that is welcoming and nurturing to all and celebrates being a people of God, with Christ as the model.” How can we fulfil this statement? It is Simple. We will continue to worship, to fellowship, to learn about Jesus, to minister to one another and to reach out to people who are spiritually and materially poor. As our theme for this Jubilee says; ‘We have to SHINE the light of Christ’. I would like to use the word SHINE which has been so much a part of our reflections this year to show how we can live our parish vision statement. Follow along with me as I use the word SHINE as an acrostic, to make practical our parish vision statement.

The S in shine stands for - striving to seek the lost and sharing ‘The Good News’ of Christ with those who have not heard it. This is called evangelisation and it is to be the work of every baptised person in this church.

The H in shine stands for - helping those who are hurting. We can do this by ministering practical compassionate help to others in the name of Christ. This is the work of outreach.

The I in shine stands for - being inclusive and involving people in the life of our faith community. We are to welcome new people into our community life which we have with Christ and each other. To be a welcoming parish open to the stranger.

The N in shine stands for - having necessary nutrition that nurtures faith. If we want to be healthy people we need to eat right and exercise. The same is true in the spiritual realm as well. If we what to be a spiritually healthy Catholic Christian community we need to continue to feed ourselves at the tables of God’s Word and the Eucharist.

The E in shine stands for - expose and explain who Christ is through the example of our lives. As Catholics we have a mandate through our baptism to preach the Gospel by our example and as St Francis of Assisi would say, ‘use words if necessary’.

We as people of God at Lalor Park we are to SHINE the light of faith throughout our lives. We as the church of Jesus Christ are to SHINE Christ’s light of love now and in the future. St Bernadette’s has been SHINING the light of Christ for the past fifty years and that is what we pray we will continue to do. “With St Bernadette we’ll praise – Christ our Light.”

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 • Jubilee Banner erected at the front of the Parish Hall saying “Celebrating 50 Years of Worship, Service, Education at St Bernadette’s Lalor Park

• Parish Annual Retreat, Saturday, 27 August 2011 at St Joseph’s Spirituality Centre, Baulkham Hills. The theme of the retreat was ‘Mary MacKillop – the Challenge – Take up your life and walk’. The retreat was directed by Sr Colleen O’Sullivan, RSJ, Ph.D

• E-Conferences
  Saturday, 23 July 2011 the theme ‘The Holy Spirit – Giver of Life’
  Saturday, 26 November 2011 the theme ‘Following Jesus-Matthew’

• Lenten Program – the theme ‘Rediscovering God’ (Diocese of Wollongong Program)

• New initiative of the St Vincent de Paul Society for the Golden Jubilee – Parish borrowing library to operate from the Piety Stall after weekend Masses

• Planned Giving Renewal – On 26 & 27 March 2011 the Renewal was conducted by Peter Smith from the Diocese of Parramatta

• Men’s Group Program – 4pm to 5.30pm on Sunday afternoons
  20 March 2011 Forgiveness (John 8:1-11)
  10 April 2011 Liberation (John 8: 12-59)
  22 May 2011 Seeing Clearly (John 9: 1-41)
  26 June 2011 Shepherding (John 10 & Ezekiel 34: 1-16)
  31 July 2011 Social: Men’s Group Bowling, Blacktown
  28 August 2011 Deeply Human (John 11: 1-44, 12: 1-11)
  25 September 2011 Dying to Selfishness (John 12:12-15 & Zechariah 9:9-10)
  23 October 2011 Humility (John 13: 1-16)
  20 November 2011 Betrayal (John 13: 17-30 & Psalm 41:9)
  4 December 2011 Social: Men’s Group Christmas Dinner

• Mr Phill Kapitanow appointed as the new Religious Education Co-Ordinator for St Bernadette’s Parish School in June 2011. Mrs Kate Owens retires from this position

• New Commander phone system installed in the Parish Centre on 21 July 2011

• Columban Magazine promotion at weekend Masses on 13 & 14 August 2011

• New handrail installed in the Church near the Lectern to assist people on the steps going to the Altar on 3 November 2011

• Parish and Parish School Bi-Annual Fete held on Saturday, 22 October 2011

• New computer system update and new financial system (PADRE) installed in the Parish Office

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