2020 – A Year in Review

Today, we draw another year to a close and it’s safe to say that 2020 was far from the year we imagined 12 months ago. Whilst a challenging year – our Parish has pulled through as a community, supporting one another and utilising our strengths to ensure we have remained connected.

The year began with us uniting in prayer for bushfire victims around Australia. We began with a novena seeking the intercession of St. Isidore as well as a parishioner-led initiative of joining together to the pray the rosary, seeking the intercession of our Blessed Mother. We were fortunate enough to be able to begin the season of Lent with our annual Shrove Tuesday burning of the palms, burial of the ‘Alleluia’ and Pancake Supper. As always, parishioners were generous in donating their time and delicious pancakes for us to enjoy together. During this time, we were able to have some restoration work undertaken across the Parish, in particular the restoration and painting of the Stations of the Cross in Holy Trinity Church.

Lent and Holy Week saw the tightening of public health restrictions which meant we were required to change our way of worship. We first started with moving Masses outdoors to our primary school playgrounds to accommodate the faithful joining us for Holy Mass. After some time and due to the escalation of the pandemic, churches across the country were then closed, making it impossible to physically come together for liturgies in person over the final weeks of Lent, Holy Week and the Easter Season. As a faith community, we felt a strong longing to connect once again with our Parish churches. The Granville Catholic Community looked to innovative ways to remain connected, utilising our already existing websites, social media and Parish App. Parishioners rallied behind these initiatives and through one of the most difficult time for our Parish, our families and our personal lives we managed to feel close, despite the physical distance.

  • Where we would have joined for Mass in person, we launched a YouTube Channel to stream daily Mass;
  • Where we would have enjoyed Fr. Andrew’s homilies, Fr. Andrew shared video messages of hope;
  • Where we would have joined for social events, we shared images and stories through the Homes with Hope Initiative and the Catholic Self Isolation Challenge;
  • Where we would have joined in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose, we shared a virtual Altar of Repose;
  • Where we would have joined together throughout Holy Week, we joined the Trinitarians in Holy Week via Zoom where we prayed together daily;
  • Where we would have joined together for friendly chats after Mass, we joined via WhatsApp to seek the prayers of one another.

The outside walls of our churches were filled with images and prayers, the Stations of the Cross, prayers for an end to the pandemic and images of the exposed Blessed Sacrament on the church altars as a way to remain connected whilst the churches remained closed. The ‘Holy Week Homes with Hope’ initiative truly filled us with hope and joy at being able to share photos of our homes in honour of Holy Week. Parishioners and friends shared images of their prayer spaces, doors marked with signs of our Catholic faith and stories on how they were keeping their faith firm during the difficult days.

With easing restrictions, we were able to return to our beloved churches. Additional Mass times and Confession times were added to the church schedules and Fr. Andrew’s work multiplied as he spent countless hours serving the community through these liturgies, opportunities for confession and home visits. We saw the return of the Sacraments Program. Whilst limited in guests and candidate numbers, it was a great opportunity to celebrate the Sacrament of Confirmation and First Communion for many of our young parishioners. Unfortunately, this was not the case for many Catholics in Australia, especially as we saw Melbourne face its second lockdown. We joined the Partners in Prayer Initiative and adopted the Parish of St. Francis of Assisi, Mill Park in our prayers. We offered weekly Mass for them and encouraged that the holy rosary be prayed for them.

The feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the 14th of September, marked one of the greatest milestones for our community. After a long history of collaboration between Holy Trinity Parish and Holy Family Parish, especially through the challenges of 2020, the two were united under one Patron, the Holy Cross. The Granville Catholic Community had now come together under one patron to form the Parish of the Holy Cross, Granville. The Holy Cross Parish of Granville is a great testament to many years of the hard work of priests and parishioners, allowing joint initiatives, shared resources, shared liturgies and shared events. A new logo was also created and launched and the social media was streamlined. Our first project as Holy Cross Parish was collaboration with Catholic Youth Parramatta for their Worship Wednesday segment. Maryanne Takchi and John Portelli shared their musical talents whilst Holy Cross Youth members shared scripture readings to aid the created Worship Wednesday video.

Our Parish Youth Ministry also celebrated a milestone in 2020 – their 8th anniversary! The Trinitarians remained connected via Zoom, taking the opportunity to socialise and pray together. They found solidarity in one another as they shared the struggles of the pandemic upon their lives, their workplaces and their families. They looked to creative ways to hold close to their faith and through this, we saw Chloe launch the Catholic Self Isolation Challenge. Rosette also connected with Catholic Youth Parramatta to share ideas and inspiration from other Youth Ministries around the Diocese. As the Parish adopted a new Patron under the Holy Cross, the Trinitarians also adopted a new name and became Holy Cross Youth, Granville. 2021 will hopefully see the launch of their new logo and other exciting events.

Fortunately, Christmas allowed us to join together as a community once again. Whilst restrictions were in place, additional Mass times were offered (a total of 11!) and our community kindly accommodated these restrictions. Thank you to the parishioners who volunteered their time to stand at the church doors to guide visitors and ensure registration details were taken – often for multiple Masses! Their generosity in time, away from their own family celebrations, helped make our Christmas Mass attendance possible. We again saw our sanctuaries beautifully decorated for the Christmas season thanks to the generosity of our parishioners, and we were glad to be able to celebrate the solemnity, in person, and as a community.

Every year we express our gratitude to the community for its untiring support and this year, the gratitude is stronger than ever. Many members of our community have had to be flexible, adapt and accommodate these changes. Thank you! We are also especially grateful for the tireless efforts of Fr. Andrew who has guided our Parish through this difficult year. We look forward to 2021, where we can hopefully celebrate all our favourite events and liturgies as Holy Cross Parish, Granville.