Easter Message from Very Rev Peter G Williams
Easter Message 2015 from Very Rev Peter G Williams,
Administrator of the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
We have come to the pinnacle of the Christian year with the celebration of Holy Week, the Triduum culminating in the great Vigil of Easter.
This month will also mark the 100th anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli by the expeditionary force largely made up of young soldiers from Australia and New Zealand which gave rise to the ANZAC tradition which has had such an enduring impact on the psyche of this nation. I have a particular personal interest in Gallipoli as my maternal grandfather was part of the second wave of troops that landed in early June of 1915. Whilst not in the original landing, he was present for two months before being wounded by machine gun fire and then sent back to recuperate and was discharged, only to re-enlist a year or so later before going to France. Towards ANZAC Day this year there will be undoubtedly much commentary and analysis about what in reality was a military expedition that ended in disaster! Yet, many claim something was forged on the shores of Gallipoli that has left a durable mark on Australian self-understanding and identity. The story of ANZAC whether our families were directly connected or not is part of our national story and is in the common possession of all Australians, no matter their origin.
Needless to say there are parallels with the Easter story – self-sacrifice for the life of others, extraordinary acts of courage and strength and triumph through death. But of course in the case of Jesus Christ the triumph was the defeat of death and the new life afforded to all who believed in Him from that Easter morning when the tomb was found empty. As we know from the Gospel accounts it took the disciples some time to come to the realisation that He had indeed risen and that they were now to reflect His life through their lives.
And there is as they say, the ‘crunch’ for us as we celebrate Easter 2015. As our lives of Faith were forged in the font of Baptism, strengthened through the seal of the Holy Spirit and continually nourished by our participation in the Eucharist, do we find that same level of excitement and commitment as we express Easter joy in our daily lives? And if that is not the case, then we might ask, why not?
Perhaps this Easter might be a time to engage in new ways in the mission of the Church, particularly through ‘Faith in Our Future’, our Diocesan plan which presents many challenges to the Diocese, agencies and parishes. And I would encourage you to be more involved in the process of making the outcomes of the Plan a reality in your community. In a positive way that should make our faith infectious so that others too might come to express that Christ is Risen and abides in His Church and with His People in the Diocese of Parramatta today and every day!
Might I take this opportunity to welcome all those who were Baptised, Confirmed and received the Holy Eucharist for the first time at the Vigil or are to be received into full Communion in the Catholic Church. We embrace you now as our sisters and brothers in the Faith and look forward to the various ways in which you will enrich the parish communities that you will be part of.
As the Catholic community in Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains assemble around the Easter fire we join with our brothers and sisters in the Orthodox Church (Because of our different calendars we will be proclaiming the Resurrection this year one week before they do!) who during the Easter seasons acclaim to each other:
Χριστός ἀνέστη!" - "Christ is Risen!" and is responded to by:"Ἀληθῶς ἀνέστη! " - "He Has Risen Indeed!
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