Fr Tony’s Christmas Message
New Life: New Beginnings
Just as buds on a tree herald unmistakably the coming bloom of the season of Summer, God fills our daily lives with his life-giving grace to make us bear fruit for eternal life. To be a Christian means we have eyes to see in the seemingly ordinary circumstances of life that “the Kingdom of God is now near.” We must live every day with the confidence that Christ’s words do not pass away, because he does not pass away.
We are now entering the new Liturgical Season in the life of the Church. This is the Season of Advent and it is our time for reflection, preparation for the Birth of Christ and also an opportunity for “fresh starts” in our own lives.
This time of holy waiting and of expectation…. just why is it exactly this?
First, we desire to be ready for Christ’s return in glory as judge of the living and of the dead.
But we also anticipate the birth of the infant so that our own souls can be more effectively shaped by his divine sonship. It’s true that Christ already took his seat forever at the right hand of God, but now he comes to be born in the narrowness of our lives to be incarnate in us, to give his love to the world through us, through our flesh and blood….The reason why we are where we are this Christmas, in this house, family, office, workroom, school, hospital, or camp etc, is because it is here in this place that Christ wants to be born, from here that he wants his life to begin again in the world.
May Christ be our light, and may we be his light to our world.
You may also be interested in the following:
Blessing of a Christmas Tree
The use of the Christmas Tree is relatively modern. Its origins are found in the medieval mystery plays that depicted the tree of paradise and the Christmas light or candle that symbolised Christ, the light of the world. According to custom, the Christmas tree is set up just before Christmas and may remain in place until the Solemnity of Epiphany.
Lord our God, we praise you for the light of salvation: the sun, the moon, and the stars of the night. We praise you for the light of Israel: the Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of the Scriptures. we praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son: he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the prince of Peace, who fills us with the wonder of your love.
Lord our God let your blessing come upon us as we illumine this tree. May the light and cheer it gives be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts. May all who delight in this tree come to the knowledge and joy of salvation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Wishing you all a Blessed and Peace filled Festive time. Happy Christmas to you all.
Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF) and Commissioning Day
Seldom do opportunities, such as the Australian Catholic Youth Festival (ACYF), come along for young people from all over Australia to gather and celebrate their Catholic faith. Yet this December, this will be the case and we are sending 16 Penola students and 5 staff along, as part of a 1500 strong contingent of Victorians on the pilgrimage to Perth. The ACYF experience will take place over 6 days / 5 nights, departing on Saturday, 7th December and arriving back in Melbourne on Thursday, 12th December. It promises to be an amazing experience for all involved.
Pilgrimages play a significant part in our Catholic tradition because of our belief that certain places can have spiritual significance. Pilgrim sites or events are considered holy because they are where God chose to call people to a powerful, transforming encounter. Embarking on pilgrimage to the Australian Catholic Youth Festival will be an opportunity for our Penola pilgrims, to step out of their everyday routines and set out on a journey in search of more – to grow in understanding of who they are through an adventure shared with many thousands of others from across Australia, courageously seeking all that God has in store for them.
Last Sunday, 24th November, our Penola ACYF pilgrims, joined with the entire Melbourne Contingent, who will be heading to Perth together in two weeks, for a march through the city up Bourke Street from St Augustine’s to St Patrick’s Cathedral. Here, the Archbishop of Melbourne, Peter Comensoli, officially launched the pilgrimage and commissioned all who will be attending. It was a wonderful way for the ACYF pilgrimage to be officially launched. Excitement and anticipation is definitely building and our Penola Catholic College group now eagerly await boarding the plane on December 7th, when our ACYF experience gets underway. May the spirit be with us.
AJASS Student Leadership Day
On Monday, 25th November, we Hosted the AJASS Student Leadership Day here at Penola. This was opportunity for the new 2020 student leaders from the south-eastern cluster of AJASS schools to join together and to discuss the values associated with leadership within an AJASS school. They were also given time as leadership teams to plan and develop goals which they will each take back and implement in the new year. This was a terrific opportunity for our student leaders to mix and share ideas with students, assuming similar roles from in other schools, an opportunity rarely experienced and a true benefit of our affiliation with AJASS.
End of Year College Masses
Our final Year Level Masses for Year 7 and for Years 8 – 11 will both take place on Monday, 2nd December. The Year 7 Mass will take place at the Glenroy Campus at 9.00 am and the combined Years 8-11 Mass will take place at the Broadmeadows Campus at 11.00 am. Parents are most welcome to attend either or both Masses.
Parents and Friends Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the Penola Parents and Friends’ Association will take place on Monday, December 2nd at 6.30 pm in the Boardroom (Kerrsland) Broadmeadows Campus. At this meeting, there will be an election for the various positions of leadership for the committee. All parents or friends of the College community are most welcome to attend.
I wish everyone a happy, holy and safe Christmas,