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At St Canice’s – in Celebration of the Feast of St Ignatius

We celebrate the Feast Day of St Ignatius in a Liturgical ‘Pageant’, with music, flags and banners to entertain and inspire.

Drama, intended to reach into the imaginations and hearts of our congregation, is added to the celebration through symbolic ritual and sacrament.

White vestments are worn. The church is decorated with flowers; with the fierce red of the large Gymea lilies in front of the altar reminding us to ‘go set the world on fire’.

Long drawn-out notes of a didgeridoo break through an expectant air and bring us all to silence. That haunting sound of our ancient land pierces our inner consciousness. It’s transporting.  First Nations Students from St Ignatius College Riverview then deliver a grounding ‘Welcome to Country’.

Fanfare of organ, brass and drum introduce our Entrance Hymn, ‘Christ is Made our Sure Foundation’. It reminds us of the ‘sure foundation’ St Canice’s laid in establishing our sister parish relationship with the Railaco Jesuit Mission so many years ago.

The excitement increases as the Glory to God is sung and the trumpet joins in jubilation. The Alleluia is intoned, and the Word is proclaimed. As we listen to an ex-student from our Secondary School in Railaco read the Word in Tetum, we are emotionally connected to the Timorese people of our sister parish in Railaco.

And then we listen intendedly to stories of students from Riverview who have recently returned from their ‘immersion’ trip to East Timor where they spent a week living and experiencing life in ‘our’ Railaco Mission.

Most importantly, we celebrate the Eucharist. That prayerful act – whether richlyinvolved like today, or simple – is the centrepiece of all that we hold dear.

During the Communion, the soulful organ and trumpet solo of ‘Gabriel’s Oboe’ drifts into our consciousness gently reminding us of the film, ‘The Mission’. The inspiration was of a Jesuit missionary in the rainforests of South America in the eighteenth century, which in turn connects us to the thoughts and works of our own family, at the Jesuit Mission in Railaco.

The didgeridoo at the beginning of the liturgy was transporting and emotional. As our pageant draws to a close, a boy soprano singing ‘Nella Fantasia’ to the tune of Gabriel’s Oboe moves and entertains, bringing rounds of applause.

So rich is this Feast of St Ignatius, we let our joy burst forth in celebration, thankful for the Jesuit charism that flows. In the words of Fr Gaetan Pereira SJ before the Final Blessing that were so joyfully embraced by the congregation and shared amongst each other, “Happy Feast”!