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Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Walking in the Footsteps of Christ

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Some of the almost two hundred parents and parishioners of various local Sydney parishes who gathered to Walk the Way of the Cross led by Father Ben Saliba of John the Baptist Parish, Bonnyrigg Heights, on Thursday 30 March. Photo: Supplied
Some of the almost two hundred parents and parishioners of various local Sydney parishes who gathered to Walk the Way of the Cross led by Father Ben Saliba of John the Baptist Parish, Bonnyrigg Heights, on Thursday 30 March. Photo: Supplied

By Tina Dunn

On the outskirts of Sydney, set in acres of tranquil bushland, is the hidden gem of the St Joseph Conference Centre at Bringelly. It is home to not only conference facilities and a Memorial Park but also the most beautiful life-sized white statues depicting the Stations of the Cross.

On Thursday 30th March almost two hundred parents and parishioners of various local Sydney parishes gathered to Walk the Way of the Cross led by Father Ben Saliba of John the Baptist Parish, Bonnyrigg Heights.

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The event was organised by the Family Educators of local Catholic schools and drew a crowd from various cultural backgrounds and many local parishes -Bonnyrigg Heights, Mount Pritchard, Bossley Park, Horsley Park, Austral, Smithfield, Sadlier, Prestons, Hoxton Park, Liverpool, Moorebank, Holsworthy, Carnes Hill and Lurnea. They ranged in age from a baby only a few months old in a pram to one amazing woman about to celebrate her 101st birthday, who walked the entire way unaided in her determined devotion.

Before the walk, those gathered made small crosses of sticks and twine to carry on their journey and took a pebble from a basket. They were encouraged to carry the pebble with them over the coming Holy Week, contemplating their private burdens and anxieties. These pebbles can then be placed at the Foot of the Cross at Good Friday services.

“They were encouraged to carry the pebble with them over the coming holy week, contemplating their private burdens and anxieties. these pebbles can then be placed at the foot of the cross at good friday services”

Under a sun that had been hidden for days behind clouds, the walk was a moving and emotional experience of prayer, reflection and song as the path took the crowd down the rolling hill, past the small lake and back to the crest again. Walking in the footsteps of Christ whilst reflecting on our own faults and shortcomings was both powerful and humbling.

After the walk there was a picnic lunch, and many took the opportunity so generously offered by Father Ben, to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation under the shade of a nearby tree. Friendships were forged over shared tea, coffee, sandwiches and traditional food of all cultures.

Alice Davalos, a parent at John the Baptist Primary School at Bonnyrigg Heights said, “It was a blessing to be part of The Stations of the Cross at Bringelly, with fellow parishioners, Family Educators and Father Ben. After lockdown, many of us have felt the need to reflect on our lives, with the Stations, as our inspiration, regarding our own spiritual journey. The day allowed us to stop, reflect and repent. God granted us a beautiful sunny day, and the opportunity to receive the Holy Sacrament of Confession.”

The day was a testament to the strong links forged by Family Educators in their role connecting the many faithful within our communities and uniting us all in the common and strong desire to move closer to Christ, to share in His suffering and to truly enter into the Paschal Mystery – the foundation of our faith.

Tina Dunn is the Family Educator, John the Baptist Primary, Bonnyrigg Heights.

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