Our faith is centred on the wonderful truth that God is always ready to offer us a fresh start, a new beginning. A new year is a rather powerful symbol of this reality.
As the year 2017 gets underway, there are a number of initiatives which I want to update you on.
Next month on Sunday 12th February we celebrate the Parish Life & Food Festival in the school grounds. This event is unique to St Francis of Assisi Parish. It’s an opportunity for parishioners, friends and neighbours to come together to celebrate the variety and vibrancy of the cultures which make up our parish. The different ethnic groups which make up our parish will set up stalls offering a selection of food from their homelands. Come along and enjoy the food and entertainment 11:30am to 2:30pm. No entry fee but donations will be accepted.
Last month we published plans for the new church and pastoral centre. We received rich feedback on these from parishioners and friends. The Rebuild Committee reviewed every comment with our architect, and in light of that conversation the plans are being fine-tuned. The overwhelming response from parishioners has been highly positive. We hope to have the updated plans within the next couple of weeks. These will be presented to the diocesan authorities for their review and eventual sign-off.
The placement and design of a new presbytery still needs more work.
While the bulk of the cost of the new facilities will be met by insurance monies, parish savings and diocesan fundraising, our parish will still be expected to raise a substantial amount of money for our rebuild. We are about to launch a Capital Raising Programme where everyone will be asked to ‘dig deep’ to help us meet our goals. Thanks to those who have accepted a role in the leadership of this campaign. More on this soon.
On February 11th, the Church celebrates 25 years of the World Day of the Sick. This initiative was started by Pope St John Paul II. Recognising the significance of this milestone our parish will offer Anointing of the Sick within a Mass on Friday 10th February at 1:30pm.
Father Simon Eccleton