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A Year of Grace to be a journey

Article and photos: B Spinks

Paddy Buckley, the Perth coordinator of ‘A Year of Grace: starting afresh from Christ’ which was announced by the president of the Australian Catholic Bishops in Rome last month, is calling for ideas and suggestions for ways to begin the journey in the Perth Archdiocese.



'A Year of Grace' will build upon two great graces the Australian church has received in the last five years, namely World Youth Day in 2008 and the canonisation of our first saint, St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, Archbishop Wilson said in his address to the Holy Father.
Paddy Buckley, a former principal of Catholic primary schools in WA including Loreto, Nedlands and Holy Spirit, City Beach introduced 'A Year of Grace' to Perth's Council of Priests on 10 November as a journey.
It's not a planned, guided program to be implemented, she told them.
The inspiration behind it came during a meeting of Australian Bishops, she said.
There was a pile of folders on the desk with issues relating to governance, finance and planning under discussion but at one point, one Bishop pushed the pile away and said “Where is Jesus in this?”
"This question 'Where is Jesus in this?' is central to 'A Year of Grace,'" Miss Buckley said, "and should be applied to all aspects of parish, school, professional, family and personal life."
This is what we are called to reflect upon during the Year of Grace, she said.
‘A Year of Grace: starting afresh from Christ’ will be celebrated from Pentecost 2012-13.
Australian parishes can expect a formal letter announcing ‘A Year of Grace’ on 20 November, the feast of Christ the King.
A website is on its way, which will have material for priests, parishes and schools and include liturgies, prayers and suggestions for priests to implement 'A Year of Grace' in their own way.
'A Year of Grace' will be more of a way of thinking and reflecting on the face of Christ during the year, she said, and ways to incorporate it into daily parish life should be simple – such as setting up a display, or having a regular prayer at Mass.
“The Year of Grace will not be an ‘extra’ for you,” she told the priests.
A Year of Grace was inspired by John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter – Novo Millennio Ineunte (2001) - and will have three major themes: contemplating the face of Christ, building a spirituality of communion and undertaking mission for the new evangelisation.
It comes on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council.
'A Year of Grace' Perth coordinator, Paddy Buckley, will be based at The Faith Centre, 450 Hay St Perth. She is contactable on 08 6140 2420