Church Mouse Journal

More morsels from St Vincent's Redfern

Wednesday, 23 February 2005


Signs of the Way

It would seem that Neocats, like many other creatures, are predisposed to marking out what they consider to be their territory. Time and time again our pastors have insisted that St Vincent's is not a Neocatechumenal Church. Last week a large sign was fixed to the Redfern Street facade of the old church, emblazoned with Kiko's Madonna, the unmistakable sign of the Way [see Icons of the Neocatechumenal Way]. The community had not been consulted.

Sensitive Signage

Back in April 2004, a carpet appeared beneath and behind the altar, without consultation and to the consternation of the community. A very similar carpet is to be found in the Good Shepherd Parish in Kelmscott Perth Western Australia. Earlier this month (February, 2005) Fr Eric Skruzny officiated at a 10:00am Sunday mass at St Vincent's. After mass he was asked about the significance, if any, of these carpets and their design to the Way. Fr Eric adopted the familiar Neocat ploy of speaking without answering the question, even managing to slip in a criticism. We have been uncharitable, he chastised, in our criticism of our pastors, but would not be drawn on the issue of their uncharitable behaviour towards the community, especially the Aboriginals in the area who feel they are treated as lepers by the Neocats. He also declined to talk to us about the Neocatechumenal Way; his parting words were - "I am not a spokesperson for the Neocatechumenates". Fr Eric Skruzny is the inaugural rector of the Pagewood, Sydney Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary; he was previously vice rector and dean of studies for Perth’s Redemptoris Mater Seminary, the first in Australia, when it opened in 1994.

Monday, 21 February 2005


Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted

For more than 3 decades St Vincent's Church, Redfern has offered comfort to grieving Aboriginal families who came, far too often, to bury their loved ones. After Ted Kennedy’s departure, the various priests appointed to the parish have alienated the Aboriginal community to the point where, in the words of one of their spokespeople, they are made to feel as lepers in their own Church. You can imagine the grief felt by the whole St Vincent's Community when it was made clear by Neocat priests Prindiville and Sudla that only "card carrying Catholics" could be buried from the Church. [Is he always like that?] On Friday, 4 February 2005, Fr John Ford officiated at the first Aboriginal funeral held at St Vincent’s since Ted’s departure nearly 3 years ago, leading us in a poignant ceremony in true Aboriginal style. Aunty Judy Gundy, respected elder and part of our community for over 30 years, broke through the barriers with her dying wish to be buried from the Church that so many Aboriginal people look upon as their own. The Gundy family spared no effort to ensure that her wish was fulfilled. [Sr Marnie Kennedy’s account of the funeral] Within a week we had the funeral of a young Aboriginal woman, Michelle Riley. Again several hundred people poured into the Church in response to a young life that had poured out so much love. Again Fr John Ford officiated. Many expressed gratitude to be coming home to the old Church. May the doors of St Vincent's never again be closed to Aboriginal people.

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