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2021 – A Year in Review

Today we draw 2021 to a close – another year of change that has tested our resilience and strength. Whilst a challenging year for many, it’s been wonderful to still find means of connection and support within our parish community. In honour of the final day of 2021 – we wanted to celebrate all we have been able to achieve with our parish family.

After the challenges of 2020, we were excited to be able to celebrate Lent and Easter as a community – although a little differently with capacity limits, public health restrictions and additional Mass times. Thanks to the generosity of a team of volunteers at the church doors, we made it through!

The support of our volunteers at the church doors continued for all of 2021. Each Sunday, a number of parishioners would kindly give up their time to stand at the doors of the churches – often supporting multiple Masses each weekend. Through this sacrifice of time, parishioners were supported in writing their details, signing in via QR Codes and ensuring we could attend Holy Mass through the pandemic.

This year, we also marked the Year of St. Joseph as a community through prayer and almsgiving. We introduced a monthly St. Joseph Holy Hour where we joined for Holy Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a talk on St. Joseph led by Fr. Andrew. During Lent, we launched the St. Joseph’s Table –  an initiative born as a means of helping families most in need with food hampers. In a year where so many of us had challenges of our own to face, it was overwhelming to see the generosity of the Granville community. Churches were filled with donated goods that filled MacKillop Hall. When a few hours were set aside to pack these hampers, so many volunteers came along that the task was completed in under an hour!

When Sydney was placed into another sudden lockdown, we were quick to respond. With only moment’s notice, extra Mass times were introduced to allow as many people as possible the opportunity to attend Mass before a period of lockdown. Again, our volunteers pulled through by standing at church doors and spreading the word as quickly as possible through phone calls and messages.

We saw the launch of the Perimeter of Prayer Initiative, with Fr. Andrew blessing the boundaries of the Parish. Parishioners and friends were then encouraged to place an icon of Our Lady of Divine Love at the front of their homes and seek Her intercession for an end to the pandemic. Whilst this period away from the walls of the churches lasted longer than expected, much work was done to bring the parish to our homes;

  • Daily Mass online returned alongside the daily stream of the Holy Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament ensuring ample opportunity to pray as a community.
  • Holy Rosary by Zoom was introduced where parishioners could log in and connect virtually to pray together (usually followed by a friendly check in and chat)
  • For those that preferred to pray alone, we introduced Walk4Mary where everyone was encouraged to take up their rosary and pray on their daily walk.
  • To support the mental health of our community, we also introduced Holy Cross Connects, a virtual workshop with Rosette – a Mental Health Social Worker – on how to maintain healthy wellbeing during the lockdown.
  • We also offered Daily Hope Reflections on our social media to help fill newsfeeds with hope and encourage prayer for one another.

We celebrated our Feast Day – the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross – digitally. We marked the feast with Holy Cross Month;

  • Parishioners helped in the recording of the Holy Cross Novena prayer videos as well as the Stations of the Cross videos
  • We shared quotes and stories of Saints that inspired devotion to the Holy Cross
  • Families shared video messages of hope
  • We launched our new Parish Website

In the past couple months, we were able to join together as a parish in our churches. It’s been wonderful to connect in person once again, adorn our sanctuaries and churches in Christmas decorations and celebrate as a community.

Last year we thanked our community for its untiring support – and this year we again express our gratitude. In a year that has placed strain on our homes, workplaces, and families – the generosity in time, skill and talent of so many has shone through. Thank you to each and every person, who has helped make 2021 at Holy Cross Parish Granville possible. Thank you especially to Fr. Andrew who has tirelessly supported the community through this year. We look forward to 2022, where we can continue to strengthen our parish community.