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EASTER 2016: Christ is present, close to us, says Archbishop Costelloe


Archbishop Timothy Costelloe holds his candle during the liturgy of light at the commencement of the Easter Vigil at St Mary’s Cathedral on 26 March 2016. Photo: Ron Tan.

There are two words which can help us as we seek to allow the mystery of the Easter Vigil to enter into our own daily lives, Archbishop Timothy Costelloe told the congregation who last weekend gathered at St Mary’s Cathedral for the Easter Vigil.

The first is ‘fidelity’ and the second is ‘presence’, the Archbishop said.

“Jesus died on the cross because he was, above all else, a man of fidelity,” he continued.

“As disciples of Jesus, and that is what brings us to the Cathedral tonight, we too are being called to live faithful lives in imitation of him: faithful to God, faithful to his Church, faithful to our families and friends, faithful to our brothers and sisters who, together with us, make up the family of humanity.”

The Archbishop went on to explain that during his lifetime, Jesus was not always surrounded by faithful followers, but that if we read the Gospels carefully, one thing becomes very clear: Jesus never fails his failing disciples.

“He never walks away from them, even when they walk away from him. And he will never walk away from us, no matter how often we seek to distance ourselves from him.

“Jesus is present to us, close to us, always holding his hand out to us, and never willing to give up on us. Ultimately this is what the resurrection is all about.”


The congregation hold their candles during the liturgy of light at the commencement of the Easter Vigil at St Mary’s Cathedral on 26 March 2016. Photo: Ron Tan.

The Archbishop concelebrated the Vigil with Vicar General Fr Peter Whitely, Cathedral Dean Monsignor Michael Keating, Father Brennan Sia, Father Greg Donovan, Father Jeffey Casabuena, Father Richard Rutkauskas, Father Michael Quynh Do and Deacon Paul Russell.

The celebration also included the baptism of 13 catechumens and welcoming into the Church of two candidates. Another two were also confirmed.

In parishes across the Archdiocese of Perth, Easter was celebrated with much peace, reverence and renewed focus on the risen Christ – with several parishes responding to the invitation by The eRecord to send in news and photos.

Glendalough Parish reported four new members being received into the Church, with the sacrament of initiation being conferred on Yvonne Chia, together with father and son Mark and Dylan Scoby-Smith, while Szyka Anne Stevens received her Confirmation and First Communion.


Archbishop Costelloe baptises a catechumen at the Easter Vigil on 26 March at St Mary’s Cathedral. The young man was received into the Church with 12 other catechumens and two candidates, plus another candidate who received Confirmation. Photo: Ron Tan.

At Good Shepherd Parish Lockridge, ALIVE Youth Ministry presented the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday.

Youth leader Samuel Smith said the occasion was a time for the people of the parish to witness the final moments of Jesus life, and to sit and contemplate his message of love.

Mr Smith went on to explain that as each station passed, there was a call to reflect on its meaning.

“A notable one was that of Jesus meeting His Mother,” Mr Smith said.

“Many of those present were visibly moved by scenes that were depicted. The hymns sung between various stations provided an emotional weight that intensified up until Christ's crucifixion,” he said.


Archbishop Costelloe washes the feet of a member of the congregation at the Holy Thursday Mass on 24 March at St Mary’s Cathedral. Photo: Ron Tan

Fr Kevin Cummins reported on services at Graylands Hospital, as Chaplain.

“As a bi-ritual Melkite priest and chaplain to Graylands Hospital I try to show, in a limited way, the richness of the Byzantine Catholic tradition during Holy Week,” Fr Cummins said.
“Many people find the symbolisms very powerful and helpful in understanding Christ’s passion and death.”

Fr Cummins continued, recounting that during the afternoon of Good Friday, in the hospital chapel, willing participants re-enact the deposition of the crucified Christ from the Cross, His burial and the procession of the Epitaphios (the interment of the body of Christ).

“The Cross with a movable figure of Christ is carried in a small procession around the chapel. The figure of Christ is then placed on the altar wrapped in a clean, white cloth, sprinkled with rose petals, perfume and is incensed. Everyone present is invited to come and venerate Christ in the tomb and scatter petals,” Fr Cummins said.

At St Brigid’s Midland Parish, Assistant Parish Priest Fr Grant Gorddard told The eRecord about the Stations of the Cross presentation by the youth of the parish.

“Accompanied by prayerful meditations, this passion play has been a long tradition for the youth in St Brigid’s,” Fr Gorddard said.

Mt Lawley Parish Priest, Fr Timothy Deeter, also told The eRecord about his strategy of helping children and their parents to engage in the Easter season.

Fr Deeter explained that every month, a different class at St Paul's Primary School hosts the 9.30am Sunday Mass. Students welcome parishioners, hand out bulletins, proclaim the Scripture readings, take up the collections, lead the singing and serve the Mass.

“All the parish children and their families - whether they are involved in St Paul's School or other schools - come together, with very good attendance and participation,” Fr Deeter said.

In March, the monthly school Mass was held on Palm Sunday and was led by the Year 6 children.

As is the custom, students gathered with Fr Deeter for a dialogue homily, with parents listening in eager anticipation to every word the children said.

“In this Palm Sunday, the focus was on the words 'passion' (which means 'suffering') and 'compassion' ('suffering with'), and how, if we are going to love someone, we must be prepared to suffer out of love,” Fr Deeter explained.

Click Here to see photos of how Easter was celebrated across the Archdiocese.