The complexion of community with its many faces comes to the fore today in our liturgy and celebrations for the Feast of our patronal saint – St Canice.
A welcoming Community is integral to the practice of faith
In his homily, Fr Chris speaks of his recent experiences at the many sacred sites in the Holy Land. He says, “no doubt, God is worshipped there, but it lacks the presence and witness of people who ‘belong’ there, who form a community of faith”. He continues, “as we know, here at St Canice’s, community is integral to the practice of faith, for faith is not just about believing but about belonging and doing. And, here at St Canice’s, we do ‘belonging and doing’ fairly well.”
“We strive to be open and welcoming to all who come to gather around our table of Eucharist, breaking and sharing the bread and wine of our thanksgiving. We are a community of faith, of searchers, united in our diversity, inspired by the gospel which reaches out to the wider community of our city, especially the poor and forgotten, the homeless and the refugee, the sick and the lonely”.
St Canice’s Kitchen celebrates 30 years of service to the hungry in Kings Cross
Fr Chris reminds is that this very week our St Canice’s Kitchen celebrates 30 years of service to the hungry of King’s Cross. This is an integral part of our Canice community. Seven days a week, volunteers gather in the kitchen to prepare lunch for more than one hundred people. This outreach activity of Canice’s provides a safe place of welcome, without judgement, and not only provides a nutritional meal, but it helps stave off the social isolation many homeless people face.
A community culture that is welcoming, unusual, spontaneous and alive
Sue Wittenoom, Chair of our Parish Pastoral Council addresses us at the end of Mass on what we as a parish need to be focussing-on in the lead-up to the Plenary Council of 2020. Sue elaborates on the complexion of our community talking of “a culture that is welcoming, unusual, spontaneous and alive. She encourages us to celebrate the genuine, authentic, and relevant communities such as Canice Kitchen and David’s Place that make up our parish”.
As community, Sue reminds us that there are still areas where we need to do better, provide something more, and poses the question, “How do we grow if there is no nourishment, only duty?” Over the next three years, as a community, we need to come up with ways of nourishing faith, building community, and being the change that we want to see in the church. At the same time, in the lead-up to the Plenary Council of 2020, we need to focus on the question: “What do you think God is asking of us in Australia at this time?”
The Annual St Canice Feast Day Parish Community BBQ
Whilst the Peace Park was Irish green from the week of soaking rains, to avoid sinking into the soil, sixty parishioners gather in the church hall instead to mark this special ‘community’ day. Conviviality is but one word that describes the atmosphere. The selection of dishes laid out on the tables provides a feast. And, completely off the ‘meat and potatoes’ script for the Irish feast day, Fr Gaetan is there with ladle and large pot of his home-made Indian curry, specially prepared for the occasion.
Our sister parish Community in Railaco East Timor is not forgotten
We take this opportunity of having our community together to draw twelve prize-winners for those who contributed to our appeal for recurring donations to support our sister parish in Railaco held on St Ignatius Feast Day in July. This was our largest one-day effort for East Timor with donations of $12,000.
As a sign of our solidarity with East Timor, we adapt the Irish tune of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” to sing: “When children’s eyes are smiling . . . .”
One of the prize-winners was the group of volunteers from Canice Kitchen who wished to lend their support and acknowledge the Canice parish outreach to our Jesuit Railaco Mission community. We wonder if the charismatic leader, octogenarian Brigidine nun, Sr Sheelah, will be the chosen member of that volunteer group to avail of the prize – Health Assessment and Training Session at My Health Coach Australia’s studio in Bondi?
Michael Musgrave (Parishioner)