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Moorebank Somascans put on a feast for St Joseph

Parish priest Fr Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS incense the statue of St Joseph following a procession around the church on the Solemnity of St Joseph on 19 March at Moorebank parish. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Parish priest Fr Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS incense the statue of St Joseph following a procession around the church on the Solemnity of St Joseph on 19 March at Moorebank parish. Photo: Mat De Sousa

Crowds overflowed from St Joseph’s Catholic church in Moorebank as the community gathered to honour its parish’s patron saint with a candlelit solemn mass, procession and international food festival.

Deacon Sheldon Burke CRS preached during the Mass for the feast of St Joseph on 19 March, and focused on what we can learn from St Joseph as patron of the family, universal church and of a holy death.

“The family is essential for our Lord’s plan for humanity,” said Deacon Sheldon.

“The family is the first and fundamental school of social living: as a community of love.

“St Joseph was there to protect his family and so, we must invoke the intercession of St Joseph as the protector of the family.

“We as Catholics must do everything in our power to ensure that the family is protected against all the attacks.”

“So instead of freaking out about all the things wrong in the Church, let’s take our concerns to the powerful intercession and ‘Go to St Joseph’.”

With so many divisions and scandals rocking the church, Deacon Sheldon reminded the congregation of St Joseph’s paternal love and protection.

“One of the roles that Joseph played as the earthly father of Jesus was to teach him how to practise the Jewish faith and to worship God devoutly,” he said.

“Similarly, St Joseph teaches the universal church how to worship God, how to practise our faith and how to fall deeply in love with Jesus.

“So instead of freaking out about all the things wrong in the Church, let’s take our concerns to the powerful intercession and ‘Go to St Joseph’.”

Over 600 Catholics gathered at St Joseph’s, and spared no effort to celebrate their patron’s guardianship over the universal church.

The parish schola sung a variety of traditional hymns in Latin, and both the first and second readings as well as the prayers of the faithful were read in the languages represented among the Somascans’ communities in Moorebank and Holsworthy, including Vietnamese, Arabic, Tagalog, French and Samoan.

Somascan Father Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS and Deacon Sheldon Burke CRS raise the consecrated gifts during the Mass for the Solemnity of St Joseph on 19 March at St Joseph's Moorebank. Photo: Mat De Sousa
Somascan Father Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS and Deacon Sheldon Burke CRS raise the consecrated gifts during the Mass for the Solemnity of St Joseph on 19 March at St Joseph’s Moorebank. Photo: Mat De Sousa

They also hosted a free international food festival, with the congregation feasting on dishes from Italy, India, Portugal and other nations after Mass.

Long-standing Moorebank parishioner Angela Vincetic was moved by the celebration and her witness of her community coming together.

“The mass was a very emotional and holy experience,” said Angela.

“Seeing our church so full and listening to the readings from all the different nationalities would have made a lot of people happy.”

Passersby on Moorebank’s busy Newbridge Road were treated to the sight of hundreds of people processing around the grounds, beneath a cloud of incense and the sound of the rosary being sung.

Mrs Vincetic felt blessed to see the work done by the Somascan fathers was bringing the community closer to Jesus and inspiring the young to be part of the parish.

“It’s encouraging for me to follow in St Joseph’s footsteps either with aspirancy or fatherhood.”

Altar server and Somascan young adult Albert Saju said St Joseph was an inspiration for him in his vocational discernment to religious life, or “aspirancy.”

“It’s encouraging for me to follow in St Joseph’s footsteps either with aspirancy or fatherhood,” said Albert.

“Even through aspirancy, it helps me understand that I should be aspiring to become a father figure to youth in need.”

Somascan Fathers Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS and Chris De Sousa CRS were joined for the feast by the Archdiocese of Sydney’s director of vocations, Fr Daniele Russo, and retired priest Fr John Iacono.

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