New Shrine honours St Joseph

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The Shrine was received with great joy by Somascan Fathers Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS and Chris de Sousa CRS from Mr Trippis on 6 November.
The Shrine was received with great joy by Somascan Fathers Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS and Chris de Sousa CRS from Mr Trippis on 6 November.

In the Holy Father’s apostolic letter, ‘Patris Corde‘ (‘With a father’s heart’), Pope Francis said Christians can discover in St Joseph, “an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble.”

As Christians turn to the saint’s powerful intercession to help them through these troubling times of pandemic, many have begun to witness great fruit come from their faithfulness.

When parishioners at St Joseph’s Moorebank were welcomed back to Mass after months of church closures and restrictions, they witnessed one such fruit in the form of a new shrine dedicated to the parish’s patron.

“Fr Chris initially asked if I could build something small to venerate a newly donated statue of St Joseph, however being the Year of St Joseph I wanted to take this as an opportunity to build something special and unique.”

The shrine was built by Moorebank parishioner Stephen Trippis, over the course of the lockdown period, and was installed on the morning of 6 November.

A property valuer by profession, Mr Trippis’ passion for carpentry and woodworking has not only carved a path for his career but has brought him closer to God through his works around the church.

“The idea to build the shrine was originally pitched by Fr Chris De Sousa CRS, who knew that I have a passion for wood working,” said Mr Trippis.

Carving the Chaste Heart of St Joseph was both challenging and spiritually rewarding. Photo: Mathew De Sousa
Carving the Chaste Heart of St Joseph was both challenging and spiritually rewarding. Photo: Mathew De Sousa

“Fr Chris initially asked if I could build something small to venerate a newly donated statue of St Joseph, however being the Year of St Joseph I wanted to take this as an opportunity to build something special and unique.”

As providence would have it, Mr Trippis had visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy in Penrose Park at the beginning of the year.

This pilgrimage sparked his initial idea for a devotional shrine that incorporated the same ornate architecture consistent with many of the shrines housed on site.

The idea would challenge and push him to learn new skills in order to bring his vision to fruition.

Building the shrine during lockdown gave Stephen spiritual growth and protection from the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic and the anxieties of everyday life.
Building the shrine during lockdown gave Stephen spiritual growth and protection from the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic and the anxieties of everyday life.

“A difficult aspect in building the shrine was hand carving the Most Chaste Heart of St Joseph,” said Mr Trippis.

“Never having carved something before I was unsure if I would be able to complete this important feature of the shrine.

“Nevertheless, through the powerful intercession of St Joseph I was able to overcome the challenge and complete the shine in time and to satisfaction.”

Other than his captivation with carpentry, Mr Trippis credits this desire to design something distinct to his strong love of St Joseph who has been a source of comfort and courage.

His devotion has only grown stronger with his participation in many parish-based events aimed at honouring the Patron of the Universal Church.

“I profoundly seek the intercessory prayers of St Joseph daily as a husband and expectant father to emulate the virtues he demonstrated in his life as the husband to Blessed Virgin Mary and Foster-Father to Jesus Christ,” said Mr Trippis.

“Having recently read Consecration to St Joseph by Fr Donald Calloway and undertaking the ‘33 Day Consecration to St Joseph’, it provided me with spiritual growth and a greater understanding of the importance of St Joseph as a role model in the life of a Christian man.

“As men we are the guardians of our families and entrusted with the responsibility to protect and provide for them, just as St Joseph protected and provided for his holy family.

Stephen Trippis makes some final touches to the Shrine before its delivered to his parish Of St Joseph's in Moorebank. Photo: Mathew De Sousa
Stephen Trippis makes some final touches to the Shrine before its delivered to his parish Of St Joseph’s in Moorebank. Photo: Mathew De Sousa

“Every time I would work on the shrine I would meditate and pray to St Joseph that through his intercession he would help me fulfil my promise and complete the shrine.

“Building the shrine also provided me with a meaningful project to complete whilst acting as a refuge and reprieve from the uncertainties of the Covid-19 pandemic and from the stresses and anxieties of everyday life.”

“I profoundly seek the intercessory prayers of St Joseph daily as a husband and expectant father to emulate the virtues he demonstrated in his life …”

The Shrine was received with great joy by Somascan Fathers Mathew Velliyamkandathil CRS and Chris de Sousa CRS who praised Mr Trippis for his hard work, faith and craftsmanship.

Many parishioners from the Moorebank community took to social media to express their gratitude for this new place of prayer and devotion for them and their families.

To commemorate the year of St Joseph, for which the shrine was built and dedicated, Fathers Mathew and Chris will bless the shrine before the special year of honour ends on 8 December.

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