The following notice appeared on the back page of last Sunday’s church bulletin. It is full of mistakes and misinformation.
The Church Mouse has added a few clarifications and corrections.
Come to the 6 pm Mass next Sunday, the Solemnity of All Saints, with our very own(1) Archbishop Anthony Fisher, OP to consecrate our new altar. It will be once in a life time celebration. Bring food and drink to share after the event.
No regular Masses next weekend.
Perhaps you wonder: Why such major restorations and renovations including the installation of the new liturgical signs, furniture and fixtures have been done during my time? As far as the property department of the diocese was concerned, the main reason for such work was to meet the occupational health and safety requirements(2) , as the state of the church building was almost unsuitable for human dwelling(3). In fact, just a week after my arrival to the parish they came to give me some briefings and pointed out many of the OHS issues my responsibility. In no time, the suggestion to do major restorations and renovations was accepted by Cardinal Pell. Thanks to him, he immediately approved the finances to commence the proposed work. Since we only have the church building for our use, the local ordinaries all agreed with the idea of dividing it into two parts to allow for a separate hall in its southern(4) part, mainly to continue the sharing of the meal ministry and a sacred space for worship in its northern(4) part respectively. The work began within six months in my first year of office as parish priest. Unfortunately, the installation of water supply and proper facilities to provide for the food hall’s(5) occupational health and safety requirements was met with complaint to the Sydney Council(6). Until now it remains a makeshift food hall without water and proper facilities to serve a meal twice a week. The partition to permanently divide the church was not fully implemented either as planned, though, moveable partitions were funded by the Building Partnership Program(7) of the NSW government.
In other words, just as the parish was established in August 31, 1886 to cater for the pastoral needs of that time, in addition to all the major changes in the history of the parish’s infrastructure, it could be seen as an attempt to cater for the needs of the changing community at a given time and so too under my leadership as parish priest. Redfern area has changed dramatically. New comers are knocking at the door of our parish and waiting for our hearts to be opened in welcome(8). There was a great need to embrace the wealth and diversity of charisms and spirituality to create Christian vitality.
So all the works of restoration and installation of new items in our church were meant to provide an opportunity for our changing community to celebrate the liturgical and sacramental life of the parish, especially the Holy Eucharist, with its due dignity and reverence as it is the source and summit of Christian life. Every part restored and every new item installed such the baptismal font, statues etc., were not just to address the diverse spiritual and devotional needs of our time. They were carefully considered and included to reflect the new face of the community while trying to carefully implement them in accordance with liturgical norms of the Church. This approach is hoped to forge faithfulness to Christ and His Church and unity among us, “made one as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one, is the Church that is, the temple of God built of living stones, where the Father is worshiped in spirit and in truth.” RDCA(9) p5 It also envisages that eventually the fruits of healing and holiness in each parishioner may contribute to the flourishing of the different charisms necessary to fulfil the great mandate of Christ to proclaim the Good News of salvation in Redfern and to ends of the world.
1. Many prefer to disown Fisher. See Pell’s successor announced.
2. Need a new altar for OH&S reasons hey! That’s a new one on me!! (Thanks Michael)
3. Let alone the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
4. The Church Mouse, usually quite an observant creature, failed to notice on his last visit that the church has been rotated through 180 degrees as part of Melvin’s renovation program. Or maybe the “living stones” have just been a little restless.
5. Food hall??? See “Sharing the Meal” in Letter of resignation from Parish Advisory Committee and elsewhere on this website.
6. Melvin’s kitchen had to be removed because City of Sydney approvals had not been sought (despite the advice of parishioners).
7. Perhaps the community word leaves a bad taste in Melvin’s mouth. In 2012 the Catholic parish of Redfern was granted $8149 for “BUILDING A FIXED PARTITION IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AT REDFERN TO PROVIDE A PLACE FOR THE MEAL PROGRAM” by the NSW government’s Community Building Partnership – look at successful grants for 2012 under the electorate of Heffron.
8. Who is made to feel unwelcome at St Vincent’s, other than Aboriginal people and the long term community?
9. Everyone knows what RDCA is. See Rite of Dedication of a Church and an Altar for some background and http://www.liturgyoffice.org.uk/Resources/Rites/RDCA.pdf for details. See also Homily for Mass with Consecration of Altar.