Another corona virus response — Sister Libbey Byrne: This is Church!  

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I reckon all the masses will be cancelled by the weekend!

Do you really think so?

Yes!…

A conversation at the end of a parish meeting in March, and so it came to pass.

My mind was a whirl… our parish has no resident priest and three towns 40 km apart.

Unable to live-stream masses from our own churches, older parishioners with no internet… how could we keep this community of the faithful connected with each other?

Nursing home visits, Rosary and adoration groups, all meetings and social activities held on church property, were cancelled.

I wrote a “newsy” email to as many addresses as I had – a short reflection, news relating to closures and cancellations, an article I thought might prove interesting and a cartoon.

During the next thirteen weeks, twenty-six editions of this newsletter were produced sustaining us through the lockdown.

Parish detectives found more addresses and printed copies for the front porch and volunteers took them for delivery where needed.

The newsletter grew to include commentaries on the Sunday and daily readings, activities for children, many more articles, lots of cartoons and the new “COVID humour” – thanks to those who are still supplying it six months later!

The front-page reflection took on a new theme each week and accompanied by a contemporary title relating the theme to daily life, world events and the weekly liturgy.

On my evening walks along the river, I passed the regulars and new acquaintances with a smile, and short conversation at a safe distance.

One glistening Sunday morning, I met Michael pushing a stroller. He is father of four and foster father to another three – two of whom have multiple disabilities.

As we talked, another parishioner and I engaged with the little girl who, although deaf, played “peep-o” with us and began to laugh and point to cars passing by.

Michael turned to me and said,  “You know, Sister, this is Church!”, and I thought, ‘yes it is…’

The Body of Christ in the beauty around us, in the joys, sorrows and sufferings we see played out in the lives of our people and in the love which binds us all together.

 

 

  • Until the middle of 2020, Sr Libbey was parish leader at Myall Coast Catholic Parish (encompassing St Brigid’s, Bulahdelah; Our Lady of the Rosary, Karuah and St Stephen’s, Tea Gardens)
 Image 1: Sr Libbey Byrne
Image 2: Sr Libbey on the water

 

THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
When we have so much to praise the Lord for, we must not complain.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
True affection is to rejoice in the happiness of our dear ones. Never allow a sentiment of resentment to enter into our hearts.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Pray, reflect and consult – and may the divine spirit direct all to God’s greater glory.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
May our dear Lord Jesus fill your hearts with His own love. Amen!
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We must have patience with others as He has patience with us.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Under every difficulty try to pray fervently.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
We have much to thank Him for, even for those little drawbacks on our comforts and conveniences.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Do pray that justice may be accomplished in peace and that truth may prevail.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
Go on now as steadily as you can, relying on the Divine assistance and fear not.
THE WISDOM OF MARY AIKENHEAD
What we do ought to be done well.

The Sisters of Charity acknowledge the First Peoples and traditional custodians of this land where we live. We respect, value and honour their history, culture and spirituality. We are committed to standing in solidarity and to actively working for justice, peace and harmony in this land.

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