By Anthony Barich
Parish missions will make a welcome return to Perth parishes when
American Father of Mercy Tony Stephens visits several parishes next
month to invigorate the faithful and support young families.
Fr Stephens, 33, is a priest from an order founded in 1808 to re-evengelise France after the Catholic faith had been persecuted during the French Revolution. It is now an exclusively American community based in South Union, Kentucky, whose primary apostolate is to “re-evangelise and revitalise the faith of those who hear”.
During his mission, which will include five days each in Holy Spirit parish City Beach (April 25-30), St Bernadette’s Glendalough (May 2-7), Our Lady of the Visitation Bullsbrook (May 9-14), St Joseph’s Bassendean (May 15-22) and Good Shepherd in Kiara (May 23-28), Fr Stephens will “challenge the parish community to make a stronger, deeper personal commitment to Christ and His Church”, according to a statement from the order.
At City Beach, every parent at the adjacent Holy Spirit Primary School and all on the parish database will receive a letter of invitation. Archbishop Barry Hickey will open the Parish Mission with a 6pm Vigil Mass at Holy Spirit Church on April 25.
Fr Stephens’ key topics of interest are the importance of the Church in our lives, the Holy Eucharist, the mercy of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints and the power of prayer.
City Beach parish priest Fr Don Kettle, who organised the tour after seeing the Fathers of Mercy preach on EWTN, said he hopes Fr Stephens’ parish mission will enkindle the faith in Catholics just as similar parish missions held at Pius X parish did for him as a youth.
A parish mission involves the visiting priest speaking at every Mass and preaching during a special Holy Hour at 7.30pm each night during adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, during which the sacrament of confession is also available.
Fr Kettle said City Beach has not had a parish mission in many years, and hopes it will fill a need for young families who are searching for a deeper spirituality.
“Many young parents go to Mass every week but may not have had any formation since they left school,” Fr Kettle said. “That leads to a search for a deeper spirituality, and they need to be challenged.
“I remember having a parish mission at Pius X parish, it was very challenging and thought-provoking. It was a time of renewal, so I hope this will do the same.”
For more information, contact the parishes mentioned.