Passerbys in Punchbowl were witnesses to our faith’s great love for Mary as St Jerome’s parish honoured Our Blessed Mother with the recitation of the Holy Rosary in procession behind a statue of Our Lady and the relics of Sts Teresa of Kolkata, Rafqa and Charbel.
Hundreds packed the Punchbowl parish, following the procession around the church grounds on 13 October, to celebrate the 102nd anniversary of Our Lady’s final apparition in Fatima with Mass celebrated by Parish Priest Fr Joseph Gedeon.
During his Homily, Fr Joseph reflected on the parable of the ten lepers and stressed the significance that gratitude has in our lives.
“Why does Jesus value gratitude? Because gratitude itself is valuable. Because gratitude is necessary for the salvation of souls,” Fr Joseph said.
“Gratitude is an antidote to sin. What does sin do to you and to me? It makes me close into myself and I become self-centred.
“But gratitude makes me out-centred, world centred. I’m open to other people, to other communities, to coming to Church and being with other people and sharing with them.”
Turning to its importance within the Church, Fr Joseph told the congregation that gratitude is at the centre of the liturgy.
That it is at Mass that we are grateful to God for sending His Only Son into the world to die so we could have life.
“God gave us the Eucharist which is at the heart of the liturgy. The Eucharist which is His body, blood, soul and divinity under the form of bread and wine,” Fr Joseph said.
“We have the Eucharist to become divine. We come here to give thanks to God in the Eucharist therefore our gratitude becomes divine.”
Knowing that Mass is an opportunity to show our gratitude for Our Lord’s sacrifice, Fr Joseph asked the congregation to think about their reason for coming to Mass and whether it was out of love of God or just in need of Him.
Before the conclusion of Mass, Fr Joseph spoke on his own devotion to Our Lady and encouraged all those present to consecrate themselves to her Immaculate Heart.
“Our Blessed Mother keeps coming to us, as she did in Fatima, to tell us to persevere, be grateful, do penance, pray the rosary, go to confession and go to Mass above all,” Fr Joseph said.
“Through her intercession we put ourselves today in the hands of God and consecrate ourselves to her Immaculate Heart so we can be grateful for receiving eternal life and to bring others with us.”