Seeds of hope

On Trinity Sunday, 26th May, Our Lady of the Way Parish, North Sydney celebrated the 9th anniversary of Pope Francis' Encyclical Letter Laudato Si'.


By Janark Gray, Communication Officer, Society of Jesus in Australia

As Laudato Si’ week drew to a close, Our Lady of the Way Parish celebrated Trinity Sunday on 26th May, commemorating the 9th anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’, at St Mary’s Church, North Sydney.

The Church’s sanctuary was adorned with plants, green décor and lights for the occasion thanks to parish staff member Merin Boyd and Assistant Parish Priest, Fr Sacha Bermudez-Goldman SJ. Fr Sacha presided at the Mass with concelebrants Fr Ramesh Richards SJ, Fr Robin Koning SJ and Jesuit tertian Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ.

The Mass opened with the song ‘Gardens’, by Parish choir member Beth Doherty. Composed to commemorate Laudato Si’, the song provided a reverent atmosphere that honoured the theme of the Mass, ‘seeds of hope.’

The six o’clock evening Mass on Sundays at St Mary’s Church is the Parish’s young adult Mass, which features every week the ‘Spirit Band’, made up of very talented young musicians and singers, also members of the Parish. Rector of the Cardoner Network Fr Ramesh and Fr Robin, both residents of Cardoner’s Bellarmine House, were pleased to accompany many of the young Bellarmine residents at the Mass, and to be joined also by previous Cardoner volunteers, many of whom had served in Thailand at different periods during the past ten years.

Sue Martin, Project Officer for the Australian Jesuit Province’s ‘Care for our Common Home Committee’ said “it was very pleasing to have the young adults present at the Mass, who really know the message of Laudato Si’.

Laudato Si' Mass

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L-R: Fr Ramesh Richards SJ, Fr Sacha Bermudez-Goldman SJ, Fr Robin Koning SJ and Matthew Charlesworth SJ. Photo courtesy of Sue Martin.

As this commemorative Mass of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ fell on Trinity Sunday, Fr Sacha highlighted Pope Francis’ remarks on the role of the Trinity in Creation:

“The Father is the ultimate source of everything, the loving and self-communicating foundation of all that exists. The Son, his reflection, through whom all things were created, united himself to this earth when he was formed in the womb of Mary. The Spirit, infinite bond of love, is intimately present at the very heart of the universe, inspiring and bringing new pathways. The world was created by the three Persons acting as a single divine principle…” [LS 238] “…when we contemplate with wonder the universe in all its grandeur and beauty, we must praise the whole Trinity” [LS169]

The Mass also included special Prayers of the Faithful that highlighted the themes mentioned in Laudato Si’. The links to caring for our common home did not stop there. Fr Sacha also donned a special stole, intricately embroidered featuring native Australian birds and flowers. It was a gift to Fr Sacha from Marie Byrne, which he wore at his ordination 17 years ago. Marie, together with her husband Laurie, took Fr Sacha under their wing when he came to Australia and began his formation as a Jesuit novice. Marie is a very skilful quilter and the stole features gold threading that is laced throughout the design. It was a fitting addition to the theme of the Mass.

After the Mass, several parishioners approached Fr Sacha and mentioned what a lovely experience it had been to be part of the Mass especially with many of the young people present in Church. “It was a great reminder of the rich legacy that Pope Francis has given us in his beautiful encyclical,” said Fr Sacha. “We still have a long way to go…to nurture our common home and to care for it and to continue to do so in any way we can.” The Mass provided a setting to reflect on what the Pope is asking of all of us, and it was an opportunity for the parishioners to pray for each other and our common home.

Listen below to the song ‘Gardens’ by Beth Doherty: