An Easter Message from the Diocesan Administrator
|An Australian soldier carries a wounded comrade during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. |
Originally published in Catholic Outlook April 2015
From Very Rev Fr Peter G Williams, Diocesan Administrator
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have come to the pinnacle of the Christian year with the celebration of Holy Week, the Triduum culminating in the great Vigil of Easter.
As the Catholic community in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains assemble around the Easter fire, we join with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church who during the Easter seasons acclaim: “Χριστός ἀνέστη!" – "Christ is Risen!" Their response is: "Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη!" – "He Has Risen Indeed! (Because of our different calendars, this year we will be proclaiming the Resurrection one week before they do.)
Might I take this opportunity to welcome all those who were Baptised, Confirmed and received the Holy Eucharist for the first time at the Vigil or are to be received into full Communion in the Catholic Church.
We embrace you now as our sisters and brothers in the Faith and look forward to the various ways in which you will enrich the parish communities that you will be part of.
I am conscious that this month will mark the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli by the expeditionary force largely made up of young soldiers from Australia and New Zealand that gave rise to the ANZAC tradition, which has had such an enduring impact on the psyche of this nation.
I have a personal interest in Gallipoli as my maternal grandfather was part of the second wave of troops that landed in early June of 1915.
Whilst not in the original landing, he was present for two months before being wounded by machine gun fire and then sent back to recuperate and was discharged, only to re-enlist a year or so later before going to France. He was 17 at the time of enlistment and subsequently also served during the Second World War.
Towards Anzac Day this year there will undoubtedly be much commentary and analysis about what in reality was a military expedition that ended in disaster! Yet, many claim something was forged on the shores of Gallipoli that has left an enduring mark on Australian self-understanding and identity.
Perhaps for those who now call Australia home and came here in the waves of post-war migration following WWII, and those who have come and identify themselves (rightly) as much as I do as Australian in the past 30 years, the ANZAC story might be difficult to grasp and identify with.
The Australians and New Zealanders who fought at Gallipoli for the most part saw themselves as colonials – troops fighting for the King of Great Britain, even though the Commonwealth had been established in 1901.
Yet the story of ANZAC, whether our families were directly connected or not, is part of our national story and is in the common possession of all Australians, no matter their origin.
Needless to say there are parallels with the Easter story – self-sacrifice for the lives of others, extraordinary acts of courage and strength, and triumph through death.
But, of course, in the case of Jesus Christ the triumph was the defeat of death and the new life afforded to all who believed in Him on Easter morning when the tomb was found empty.
As we know from the Gospel accounts, it took the disciples some time to come to the realisation that He had indeed risen and that they were now to reflect His life through their lives. And there is, as they say, the ‘crunch’ for us as we celebrate Easter 2015.
As our lives of Faith were forged in the font of Baptism, strengthened through the seal of the Holy Spirit and continually nourished by our participation in the Eucharist, do we find that same level of excitement and commitment as we express Easter joy in our daily lives? And if that is not the case, then we might ask, why not?
Perhaps this Easter might be a time to find new ways of engaging in the mission of the Church. The Diocesan Pastoral Plan, Faith in Our Future, presents many challenges to the Diocese.
I would encourage you to be more involved in the process of making the outcomes of the Plan a reality in your parish community.
In a positive way, this will make our faith infectious so that others too might come to express that Christ is Risen and abides in His Church and with His People in the Diocese of Parramatta today and every day!
With my Easter Greetings to you all in the Risen Lord!
Very Rev Fr Peter G WilliamsDiocesan Administrator and Moderator of the Curia
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