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Edition 131 / December 2013
preparing to dance in
the Special Olympics
Photo courtesy of
"Our people, our stories"
This month Michael O'Connor explores the notion of 'retreat'
as a spiritual practice. Drawing on the experiences of local
retreatants, he gets to the heart of the matter. Working on this
edition, I received an email from the principal of one of our
schools, who wrote:
"I am currently on retreat at St Mary's Towers, Douglas Park.
I'm loving the great silence....Some of the sessions have
been confronting, but therapeutic to say the least. My prayer
companion is great and very down to earth. For me this
experience has been life-saving."
Something to consider?
Recently I saw a book titled The Twelve Days of Christmas
Island, a beautifully illustrated version of the Christmas tale
invoking the creatures of Christmas Island. I was reminded of
the words of Sr Dorothy Bayliss RSC, who is a pastoral worker
on the island. Speaking in Newcastle last month she said,
"Christmas Island is a beautiful, majestic place --- if you're not
an asylum seeker."
There is deep irony in the fact that hundreds of people will
spend Christmas on Christmas Island, with none of the peace,
hope or joy Christmas promises for most of us. No amount of
prayer, letter writing, appeals to international law, or the law
of compassion, seems to make a difference in the land "with
boundless plains to share". I wonder if any of the people who
make decisions about the fate of asylum seekers and refugees
have met an asylum seeker or a refugee?
Correspondent Harry Fleming wrote in November, "This
morning's Aurora would be hard to toss"! For a magazine
inserted into a newspaper, that's high praise.
Aurora owes a debt to many volunteers and as the year
draws to a close, I acknowledge with deep gratitude Priscilla
Scanlon, Trish Bogan, Michael O'Connor, Shirley McHugh,
Sr Marie Craddock RSJ, Siobhan McAlary, Margaret Walker,
John Skippen, Marie Edstein and Patricia and Adrian Banister.
The Diocesan Communications Team --- Emma Blackford,
Joanne Isaac, Liam Beckett and Geraldine Williams --- makes
an enormous contribution too, and I am grateful to all those
who don't 'toss' Aurora!
The next edition of Aurora will appear during the first week
When my sisters and I were small and would be taken 'to
town' to see the store decorations, Mum would say, "This
is a time for thinking about other people, not about what
you would like." That simple idea is captured in a more
sophisticated way by Fr Ron Rolheiser:
To bless another person is to give away some of one's own life
so that the other might be more resourced for his or her journey.
Good parents do that for their children. Good teachers do that
for their students, good mentors do that for their protégés,
good pastors do that for their parishioners, good politicians do
that for their countries, and good elders do that for the young.
They give away some of their own lives to resource the other.
The wise men did that for Jesus. (www.ronrolheiser.com)
At Christmas, may you give away something of your life as you
receive the gift of another's life.
Seasons of grace
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TRACEY EDSTEIN -- Editor
www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
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