Brisbane Oratory News
A lot has changed since our last letter. Whilst there is still some freedom of movement, it is likely that we are heading towards a total lockdown as has been seen in other countries. I think we owe it to our families and friends and others we have contact with that we follow the guidelines that are given to us by civil and Church authorities. I’m sure all of us would want to prevent making another person sick, even unknowingly. It’s not bad that we’re being asked to make sacrifices during Lent, and I think many would agree that the sacrifices imposed on us are usually more meritorious than the sacrifices we choose for ourselves.
Please know that the Oratory community is united with all of you as we go through this present trial. And whilst we cannot gather in our usual ways, we are still doing many of our usual things. At this time, the Fathers generally offer their daily Masses at 8:30am, 9:00am and 9:30am. Where we can we will continue to publish the Mass intentions in the parish newsletter, which itself will continue to be published and posted online. We are ringing the Angelus on the church bell at noon and 6:00pm so you might like to pray with us at these times. Also know that the Oratory community prays together each evening between 6:00 and 6:30pm, and we are praying for all our parishioners, benefactors, relatives and friends.
As much as we’re able, the Fathers and Brothers are available to speak with people on the phone. If you do need to see someone face-to-face we ask that you phone the Oratory house first (3392 9247) to ensure that someone is available. We are presently getting together some of the equipment necessary to be able to live-stream some things so that you don’t forget what we look and sound like! We’ll let you know more about this as it progresses. You might want to subscribe to our YouTube channel, and of course you can keep an eye on our Facebook page. We’ll try to put more things on our website, too, for those not on social media, and also send out more regular email updates (subscribe here).
One blessing that will surely come of this current time is that those who live with others may well find new ways of being together that will last long after this pandemic. This is a wonderful moment for families and households to pray together. If you don’t already have one, you might consider setting up an altar or prayer corner in an appropriate spot, as a focus for prayer, adorned with holy pictures and images. You might decide to pray the rosary together after dinner each evening. Now that some fathers in particular might be home more than they usually are, this is a great time for them to exercise spiritual leadership in their families. What a gift this would be to your children. Because of this imposed isolation, we all might become a bit better about thinking about those who are on their own, and doing what we can to support and help them. Above all, we must pray for each other, that each of us will have the graces we need to continue trusting in the Lord and seeking His will before all else. We know that being kept at home will be more distressing for some than for others, and we need to pray particularly for those for whom this is a heavy cross.
On today’s feast of the Annunciation we celebrate the beginning of our redemption, and we ponder the great mystery of God becoming man. Our prayer, as said in the Mass, is that we may come to share the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. As Pope Saint Leo the Great says in one of the readings of today’s liturgy: the invisible God becomes visible for us; the God who is beyond our grasp chose to come within our grasp. Existing before time, be began to exist at a moment in time, and took the nature of a servant.
This feast reminds us of the love and mercy of God, who came amongst us to lead mankind back to Him, and so that we would know the way that leads to our Father’s home. Even in this time when we are deprived of some of the things that sustain us on our earthly pilgrimage, may we still know the closeness of God to us. God is not limited even to the things that He has established for our sanctification. May we therefore turn to Him with faith and trust, and look forward to when this present trial is over. After this Lent of suffering and trial, may we look forward to the promise of the resurrection. Even in the midst of sickness and death, we know that Christ lives and is King, and His Kingdom will last forever.
Father Adrian Sharp
On Monday morning 23 March there will be a 7:00am OF and 9:30am EF Mass with extra Prayers in Times of Epidemic and Plague from the Roman Ritual. This may be the last opportunity to assist at Mass for some time. We are awaiting further directions from the Archbishop following the Government announcement last night that places of worship must close from midday today. We will update you on the situation as soon as we can.
United in Prayer,
Fr Adrian Sharp
While in the Archdiocese of Brisbane we have been dispensed from assisting at Mass on Sunday, we are still obligated to keep the Lord’s Day Holy, of which Mass is usually one component. We are reminded that on Sunday’s “If because of lack of a sacred minister or for other grave cause participation in the celebration of the Eucharist is impossible, it is specially recommended that the faithful… engage in prayer for an appropriate amount of time personally or in a family…” (CCC, 2183). Mass is greater than any private devotion, but while we cannot assist at Sunday Mass, we can still contribute to sanctifying the Lord’s day especially through prayer.
It is especially important we develop habits of prayer and set aside some time every day for prayer, but specially Sunday’s. If we do not set aside specific time for prayer it becomes easy to forget to pray.
Here are some suggestions of ways we can pray:
- Praying some hours from the Divine Office. The Divine Office is the official public worship of the Church and is intimately connected to the Mass. Unlike other private prayer, even said as a group, by praying the Divine Office we participate in the prayer of whole Church united together. The texts for the Old Rite Divine Office can be found here and the New Rite here. Priests and religious are obligated to the pray the Divine Office daily.
- We might make time for some other prayers especially the Rosary, Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love and other prayers in our missals or prayer books such as Acts of Contrition and Spiritual Communion. We can also spend some time in Mental Prayer or conversation with God.
- Praying and/or meditating on the propers (introit, collect, readings) and common of the Sacrifice of the Mass for Sunday, offering our own prayer as a sacrifice and making a spiritual communion. There are some guidelines and printouts available here on how to pray the Mass. And here are links to websites with the New Mass Texts and Traditional Mass Texts which we can read and pray with.
- Book a Holy Hour at St Elizabeth’s Chapel by emailing email@example.com.
- The Holy Father has asked us to pray and “Implore the Almighty God for the end of the epidemic, relief for those who are afflicted, and eternal salvation for those whom the Lord has called to Himself.” The Pope has granted a plenary indulgence for this purpose. You can read more about that here.
In response to the latest directives of the Archdiocese, the Brisbane Oratory inform our parishioners how these directives will be carried out in Annerley-Ekibin Parish under our care.
In order to help us prepare for the Feast of St Joseph on Thursday, we will be reciting a prayer to him after all Masses. The practice of three days of special prayers in preparation for the Feast of St Joseph was encouraged by Pope Leo XIII in 1889. We invite you to join us in in this prayer which is below.
St Joseph was given the great privilege of being the foster father of the Son of God, and protector of his spouse the Blessed Virgin Mary. St Thomas tells us that while other saints may be particularly powerful in certain necessities, St Joseph is powerful in all our needs, for Our Lord could not but have a great affection for this most holy Saint.
Prayer to St JosephComposed by Pope Leo XIII in Quamquam Pluries.
To thee, O blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we now, with hearts filled with confidence, earnestly beg thee also to take us under thy protection. By that charity wherewith thou wert united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly love with which thou didst cherish the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and we humbly pray that thou wilt look down with gracious eye upon that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and wilt succor us in our need by thy power and strength. Defend, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen off-spring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, O most loving Father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Shield us ever under thy patronage, that, following thine example and strengthened by thy help, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven. Amen.