In the year 2000 the two parishes of Epping and Carlingford entered a common relationship through the sharing of a single Parish Priest. Over the next six or seven years the parishes entered a process of increasing collaboration and sharing of resources and pastoral programmes, including the sharing of a common parish staff. In July 2007 the two parishes formally became one parish with the name of The Catholic Parish of Epping and Carlingford. In the model we are following however we still retain two distinct (though of course collaborating and cooperating) communities within our single parish structure the communities gathered around our two parish churches of St Gerard's at Carlingford and Our Lady Help of Christians' at Epping.

For more information about our way of working as two communities within one parish please click here.

Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Greetings!

Firstly thanks to all of you who have kept me in your prayers over these days! I genuinely have felt the gift of Godís presence and your concern over recent days. I would also like to commend the tremendous "Christianity in Action" that I experienced from the doctors and other staff at the San hospital Wahroonga over the five days that I was there as a patient. They brought the face of Christ to me in so many ways for which I am extremely grateful.

As people invariably are concerned and interested in "What happened?" I thought it easier to share with all of you via the bulletin my situation rather than having to try to tell the story to each of you one by one on my return.

My recent episode with my heart is the third in 13 years and all three have followed much the same pattern: Three days of experiencing what appears to be normal viral symptoms followed by the appearance of getting better and then suddenly a bout of unexpected severe chest pains early in the morning. A trip to hospital and tests show signs of what would normally be clear physical evidence of a heart attack however further testing of the heart shows no evidence of blockages or any other damage. The good news is that I will make a full recovery, the heart appears to be fine and tiredness is the only remaining symptom which in the past usually clears in two weeks.

On doctorís orders I won't be returning to the parish until next weekend. However, I will join Bishop Peter, Fr Anselam and the other clergy for most of the Diocesan Clergy Conference at Baulkham Hills this coming week. Please pray for the success of this annual gathering of the priests and deacons of our Diocese as we renew and deepen our fraternity and common mission in the service of Gods people.

Also, we pray over these weeks for the young people receiving their First Holy Communion and their families, and all those who have helped to prepare them and lead them in celebrating this important aspect of their faith journey as they receive Jesus in the Eucharist and become full members of the Catholic Church! A special thanks to the additional assistance given by the St Gerard's school community in the liturgy and social gathering afterwards. Finally My apologies to those celebrating at St Gerard's for not being with you at this time but I know Fr Anselam will do a great job in leading you all this weekend as he did, by all reports, last weekend.

At a time like this I am very conscious of others who pick up the slack in my absence and keep things running. In particular, but by no means exclusively, I thank Maree and Dennis in the office for the wonderful way they look after the day to day needs of our parish and do so with a deep faith and sense of love and service for Gods people here in Epping and Carlingford. Thank you!!

Finally, I would also like to pay a special tribute to Fr Anselam who has had, what some would call, a "baptism of fire" since arriving in the parish only a few weeks ago. Even with all the responsibilities he has had in the parish over these days as a result of my absence he still managed to visit me in hospital almost every day and was a real "brother priest," especially in the early hours of last Friday morning. A special thanks to you Anselam!

God bless!
Fr Peter
This week's parish bulletin
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