13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
60th anniversary of Greenmount Parish
By the Most Rev Bishop Don Sproxton
Auxiliary Bishop of Perth
St Anthony’s Church, Greenmount Parish
Sunday 27 June, 2021
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This is a very important year for the Salvatorians. It marks the sixtieth year that they have been sent to Australia and of their leadership of this parish which was created in the same year. Of course, it was that earlier this year they rejoiced at the beatification of their founder, Francis Jordan, on the 15 May.
The presence of the Salvatorians in the Archdiocese has been a great blessing. We are especially grateful for their commitment to the Archdiocese of Perth and their willingness to be sent to a variety of parishes in the service of our people.
When they arrived in Perth, I was very young. But I got to know some of those first Salvatorians later. Fr Laurence Murphy who is with us this morning would bring groups of young men to St Charles Seminary for games of soccer with us. Later, when I was appointed to the Cathedral, I became a supporting chaplain to Trinity College to help Fr Paul Keyte. I learnt a lot from him and the staff about being a chaplain to a college.
The parish of Greenmount is very grateful for the priests who have served here and at the original site at Bellevue. The Polish Salvatorians generously agreed to take over the mission in Perth and Esperance from the Irish-English Province and have been welcomed by those communities. Their leadership has been supported by Parish Pastoral Councils, the schools and other leaders in all of the parishes in which they serve.
Leadership is always challenging as society changes. The Gospel we heard today comes from the community that reckoned St Mark as their founder. It was a community facing challenges because of dreadful persecution and martyrdom. Faith was being tried severely. Where was Jesus in all of this? What was God doing in their world? How could they carry on and would they be annihilated?
The story that we have received in the Gospel, the story of the restoration of the daughter of Jairus, seems to have been very precious in that early Christian community. The girl was so ill that in desperation her father approached Jesus to ask him to do something. A delay meant that he arrived late and was told that she was dead.
The crowd at the house wanted a miracle but their lack of faith led them to mock Jesus. They did not know Jesus is the Son of God as well as being the Son of Man. Being God, he is the creator and sustainer of life, and with him we can journey to our heavenly homeland.
For that early church, this story reminded them of the continuing presence of Christ, the Risen Lord, the Son of God with them. He would provide all they needed to face and bear the problems and difficulties the buffeted their community.
Throughout sixty years of being a community of disciples of the Lord, it has been important to remember who Jesus is and believe in him. He is the Son of God.
The Salvatorians proclaim this faith when they live with the charism of their founder. Each has been sent, as an apostle is sent, to bring the Good News that Jesus is Son of God and Saviour of the world. Their mission among us is be transformed personally by this faith in our sight, and to serve because of this faith.
Greenmount parish has become known as a strong community. It has a strong sense of unity and purpose. Parishes are communities of disciples of the Lord who are pilgrims walking towards their homeland. They look to the needs of those within the community of faith and beyond to those seeking their own sense of meaning, especially to those on the edges of society. Very often when we go to those on the peripheries of society, as Pope Francis reminds us, this is where we will meet Jesus in the poor and vulnerable.
May St Anthony’s in Greenmount be known for its compassion and care, and for its sense of mission to proclaim Jesus the Son of God and Saviour of the world.