As the days of Advent count down, and a sense of anticipation grows, we might ask ourselves: What does it really mean for God to come and live among us, walking beside us in all the ordinary and extraordinary circumstances of our lives? And how might we live in the light of this wonderful news, not just at Christmas but throughout the year?
For 31 years, the community of St Anthony’s Glen Huntley have been providing both a delicious meal and, perhaps more importantly, a sense of family to the more than 300 people who gather there each year for Christmas dinner. The two women who started the dinner—and who still coordinate it—speak with us about the privilege of sharing Christmas Day with those without a home or family of their own, and about the surprising ways God has inspired and sustained them.
Last Thursday, friends and family gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral for a Requiem Mass to farewell the late Fr Gerard Dowling OAM DE, a man who encouraged and walked alongside countless people through his priestly ministry, his many years of counselling, his writing and more than 2,600 episodes of his popular radio program, The Family Counsellor.
Also this week, celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the first Nativity scene continued in Rome as a beautiful creche was unveiled in St Peter’s Square while 150 homeless people enjoyed an unforgettable meal beneath Bernini’s colonnade. On Sunday, the community of St Anthony's Parish, Frankston, welcomed Archbishop Peter A Comensoli as he celebrated Mass and blessed the new Grotto of Our Lady Mother of Divine Grace. Members of Victoria’s East Timorese community recently came together at St Patrick’s Cathedral for Mass, the first time it has been celebrated at the Cathedral in Tetum, their native language. A new study explores the important role of Australian Christian churches in helping African migrant communities to settle and thrive in their new home. And distinguished historian Prof Geoffrey Blainey AC spoke at St Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, Toorak, reflecting on his life and career, and on the central role of Christianity in history.
Finally, as we prepare for the coming of Emmanuel, we share quotes from five significant Christian thinkers on the mystery of the Incarnation and its startling implications for every part of our lives.
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