Friday, 30 November 2012

Commencing on 5 January 2013, the Saturday 6.00pm Vigil Mass will be celebrated in St John Vianney Church, Waramanga, for the whole of 2013 in accordance with past practice.
However, from 6 January 2013, there will be only one Sunday Mass in the parish at 9.00am in St Jude Church, Holder.
There is no change to the weekday Mass times.
In 2014 the Saturday Vigil Mass will return to St Jude Church and the Sunday morning Mass will move to St John Vianney Church.
I recognise that some parishioners will be upset by these changes but I have taken this decision after due consultation with the Parish Liturgy Committee, the Parish Pastoral Council and listening to the views of parishioners.
Needless to say, it has been a very difficult decision for me to make and one I have postponed for quite some time in order to see what other parishes were doing. All diocesan parishes on the north side of Canberra have dropped one of their Sunday Masses some time ago. Sadly, it is becoming ever more clear that we can no longer continue with the present timetable of Sunday Masses around Canberra because our priests, who are presently serving in our parishes, are aging and not always in the best of health.
One of the great difficulties and, likely to be an ever increasing one in the coming years, is getting supply priests when a parish priest suddenly becomes ill as happened recently in one our northern parishes.
Even when a priest would like to take his annual holidays he can encounter difficulty in getting supply.
Our retired priests (generally over 75 years of age) are now relatively few and are not always available to help out on Sundays.
It is stating the obvious to say that there are very few young men coming forward to prepare for the priesthood. In this regard, we all have a serious obligation to continue praying for vocations to the diocesan priesthood if we want our parishes to have resident priests. If you know of some young man who is thinking seriously about the priesthood encourage him as much as possible for the Lord is never outdone in generosity. And I also might add that we need to pray for vocations to the religious life.
Sadly, there has been a noticeable drop in the numbers of parishioners at Sunday Masses in recent years. In our own parish, parishioners have commented to me on how few people come to Sunday Mass. The Mass going population in our parish of Weston Creek has now dropped to below 400 per Sunday for the first time since the annual diocesan May census began many years ago. This is a matter of concern for all of us and I exhort everyone to play an active part in encouraging parishioners to come to Sunday Mass and be part of our worshipping community.  
You will no doubt recall the articles that have appeared in our Archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic Voice, along the lines of “Too Many Masses and Too Few Priests” and other articles on the state of the health of our priests and the lack of vocations to the priesthood. This was often reinforced by Archbishop Mark Coleridge during his visits to parishes and at various diocesan gatherings before his appointment to Brisbane.
Priests and people need each other if we are to fulfil our respective vocations of being Christ to our world.
I encourage everyone to live a life worthy of our vocation especially in these very difficult times and to support each other as the community of Jesus’ disciples in our parish of St Jude and St John Vianney, Weston Creek.     
Fr Kevin Brannelly PP