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www.mn.catholic.org.au Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle
"MY NAME IS FRANCIS"
BY FR PETER REES
Parish priest of Sugarloaf Parish, Fr Peter Rees,
graciously shared his recent encounter with
Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now known as Pope
Like millions of other s, I have always been
fond of Saint Fr ancis of Assisi. Imagine my
delight when Cardinal Bergoglio was elected
Pope and announced, "My name is Francis."
Many of us are familiar with Saint Fr ancis'
life. After his dream to renew the Church,
Fr ancis mistakenly renewed the tiny church
of Por ziuncola, only to r ealise God was
asking him to challenge the entire Catholic
Church. He became the famous "Poor man
The equally famous words of Francis are
at the entr ance to Saint Fr ancis' chapel at
Glendale Parish Church: "Always preach
the Gospel, sometimes use words." Pope
Fr ancis has captivated the world because he
obviously lives those words. When named
by Time magazine "Person of the Year ",
editor Nancy Gibbs described the Pope as,
"A new voice of conscience for our world".
For the past sixteen year s Sugarloaf
Parish, under my leader ship, has
suppor ted many social justice projects
in poor countries like Vietnam, New
Guinea, Kiribati and East Timor,
including the education of 160
children in Vietnam every year,
the building of a road and many
wells , and assisting the Sister s
of the Immaculate Hear t of
Mary who have a school for
Down Syndrome children.
I celebrated fifty year s of
priesthood last year, and so the
parishioners wanted to thank
On 7 November 2013, I
concelebrated Mass with Pope
Fr ancis in his chapel, Domus
Sanctae Marthae, in Rome. This
was the special " thank you"
from the parish. There wer e only seven
other priests who concelebrated with the
Pope, and each of us was privileged to meet
the Pope after wards .
Just twenty year s ago, I had helped prepare
St Mary's Cathedr al in
Sydney for the visit
of Nelson Mandela,
soon after his
prison. He came
to Austr alia
to thank the
suppor ting him
during his 27
year s of
imprisonment. After meeting Mandela, I
have always said he is the most peaceful
man I have ever met. Ama zing, since
Mandela , more than anyone, had every
right to be bitter, angry and cynical.
Mandela's per sonal journey from meeting
violence with violence to peace
through r econciliation has captured
the minds and hearts of all. Most
expected his pr esidency to end in a
bloodbath af ter centuries of unjust
oppression. With the support of
his friend Archbishop Tutu, peace
and reconciliation triumphed. It's
no wonder that after Mandela's
death late last year, the whole
world expressed that same sense
of wonder at his incredible sense of
peace and reconciliation. A challenge to
Meeting Pope Fr ancis ha s had the same
impact on me. Like Saint Francis, the Pope
lives the message of peace and per sonifies
peace -- a peace that flows from justice as
expressed in his New Year message.
On behalf of the parish, I presented the
Pope with an Aboriginal
Ter ritory to say
thank you for
the Pope simply
a sked, "Pray for
Next month, to mark the first anniversary of the
election of Pope Francis, Aurora begins "Frankly
speaking", a monthly spotlight on the words and
actions of the 266th pope. To read Pope Francis'
New Year message, please visit w w w.vatican.va.
Arie and Sienna Lamber t, the children of Jos and
Damian Lamber t, who were featured in the November
Aurora speaking about CatholicCare's "Bringing Baby
Home". For them, it wa s bringing babies home ! See
page 18 to learn more.
New teacher s : (l-r) Larissa Quigley, Sar ah Br agato and
Mar yanne Hacker attended the orientation day for
new teacher s in Catholic schools held at the Catholic
(l-r) Bishop William Wright, Fiona Duque, Kathryn
Stuar t, James Lawrence at the orientation day for new
teachers in Catholic schools.
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