Celebrating Easter at St Patrick’s has always been a special privilege, and every year it has become even more special. From Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, the ceremonies are particularly moving, closely following the last days of Jesus’ life. As Monsignor John has said, Easter is happening at our little church at Mortlake. We don’t have to be part of a big cathedral congregation to feel its significance.
On Holy Thursday, Monsignor John had us believing we were present at the Last Supper and that we were with Jesus! Before this we witnessed Monsignor John wash the feet of the people chosen from the congregation, as Jesus humbly washed his Disciples’ feet. After the service we were led by Monsignor John and the acolytes into the “garden of solace” next to the church. We sat there for a while as the congregation slowly dwindled. There were still a few people attending with Jesus, on His last night. The night was still, the air was clear and the moon shone brilliantly through the branches of the tall gum tree. The atmosphere was sombre. The only sounds came from birds and traffic.
On Good Friday, the Stations of the Cross morning service this year was led by members of the many Ministries here at St Patrick’s. As the Stations of the Cross were narrated, we travelled with Jesus, and prayed with Him at each station. The Crucifixion was also given an up to date perspective. It was a very moving experience for all who attended. The liturgy included prayers for those Jesus would have stood up for today, asylum seekers, those in detention, on death row, the homeless, the terminally ill and other people in similar unfortunate circumstances. The church was overflowing. Standing room only.
At the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night, the atmosphere was again very intense, as we awaited the Resurrection. Entering the darkened church, reminded us of the solemnity and importance of this great occasion. The Paschal Candle was blessed and the people’s candles
were lit. As Monsignor John said:
“The Pascal Candle symbolises the “Light of Christ” in our world following His resurrection. Then water becomes “holy” because of the movement of our human race out of darkness into the new light and new life. These gifts have been given to us through the resurrection event. Today we celebrate new light and new life given to us again in 2018.”
This was also the time for the reception into the Church of Bevan Marshall and his children, Archie and Lulu. As they were initiated into the Catholic faith and baptised, we, the congregation renewed our baptismal vows and prayed in words and song. We prayed for them with the litany of the saints. We were also privileged to witness Bevan’s Confirmation and First Holy Communion. Preparation for this was through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) Thank you to Robert Mayor, the Parish Sacramental Program Coordinator for his guidance of Bevan and his children during their initiation into the Catholic faith. It was a very moving family experience both for Bevan, Archie and Lulu and their families as well as the attending congregation.
Every Easter, it feels as if we need a bigger church building, but St Pat’s is special as it is. Easter was made so significant for me, and I was so happy to be there and not in a bigger church or cathedral. The Easter Liturgies were once more very special and memorable.
In conclusion it is appropriate to quote the words of Monsignor John in the Autumn newsletter:
“I also pray that each and every one of us will shout “Alleluia” because we have discovered, maybe for the first time, the wonder and joy of life. We have nothing to fear! We have only joy to celebrate!!!”
Many thanks to Monsignor John and all who contributed to our Easter Liturgies.
Editor’s PS: We would like “A Parishioner’s Reflection” to be an ongoing feature of our website. So, Parishioners wishing to share their own St Pat’s experiences to this website, please submit a request here and we will be in contact.