Parishes unite to make things right

23 Mar 2013

By The Record

Parishioners from four South-West parishes in the Rockingham area take time to pray before the cross. PHOTO: Leanne Joyce

Over 500 people from four local parishes attended a Celebration of The Year of Grace – a Liturgy of Healing and Reconciliation last Thursday night.

The evening was both a spiritual and an historical one. It was a moment when, through the Grace of God, the four parishes united in faith and solidarity; the first time that the Parishes of Rockingham, Baldivis, Kwinana and Port Kennedy have come together to pray as one body.

Eight priests where in attendance, including Fr Peter Black (homilist), Fr Geoffrey Aldous, Fr Phong Thanh Nguyen, Fr Michael Separovich, Fr Gavin Gomez, and Fr George James. They processed in, ‘sackcloth’ and daubed their foreheads with ‘ashes’.

In Biblical times, fasting, wearing sackcloth and sprinkling oneself with ashes were ways of demonstrating grief or deep repentance and of showing humility before God. Sackcloth was most often made of coarse, black goat hair, which would have been extremely uncomfortable to wear.

The ashes expressed unworthiness and mortification, but today, also serve as a reminder that we are dust and unto dust we shall return.

The homily was given by Fr Peter Black, a Lecturer in Theology at Notre Dame University.

Students from Kolbe Catholic College processed to the Sanctuary carrying a cross, which was then available for private reflection and prayer.

At the end of the service, the priests were available for individual Reconciliation and to administer the Sacrament of Anointing of the sick. ‘Prayer for Healing of Body, Mind and Soul’ cards were available to take home.  At the end of the liturgy the people prayed together:

“Jesus, as you are one with us in your humanity, we ask you to bring your blessing upon all our friends, and us as we journey towards you in faith. May our lives always continue to be a reflection of your love, and may we forever sing your praise and blessing. We ask this of You, Jesus, Son of God. Amen.”