Zechariah & Elizabeth

Today, Fr Paul says, we change Gospel writers and will now be reading from Luke (1: 5-25) and this will happen right up until Christmas Eve.  It will enable us to share in the experiences that happened for the birth of Jesus.

Today, he says, we hear about Zechariah and Elizabeth, and the impending birth of John the Baptist, which also happens through the special intervention of God.  We hear that John will be dedicated to God and if we compare Zechariah and Mary, who both received visits from the Angel then we can see the comparison of John and Jesus.

There are two annunciations, two births, two canticles, two circumcisions and glimpses of two childhoods.  The two families will intertwine.  The story of John is wonderful but the story of Jesus is even more wonderful.  There is great joy at the birth of John but there is even greater joy on earth and in heaven at the birth of Jesus.

As we continue our Advent journey, Fr Paul says, we might reflect on the role of Zechariah, Elizabeth and John the Baptist on the life of Joseph, Mary and Jesus.

Father Leo Donnelly: Centacare grew out of a very obvious need and if you look at the projects Centacare has realised the extent of those needs. They have been an extraordinary force in our Parish here in Port Macquarie and they have been in existence now for 20 years and I would like to congratulate them on the wonderful work they have done over those 20 years.

Tony Davies: I suppose the original way of 1995 was the commencement of Centacare. We were the first Parish model Centacare in Australia to be recognised and be allowed to be a member of the Catholic Social Services Australia. That was a major breakthrough.

The second one was probably the development of our programs for people with disabilities. That was the creation of the group home, I.M.A.G.E group home. And that allowed us to have a base to operate our disability services.

The other one was, in the early days, was the achievement of retrieving the current funding of the Youth Refuge, all done on voluntary basis. So they were the three main early ones.

Then we went into the mid 90 type areas or the late 90 type areas, and we started to work on the development of community housing and now we have just over 48 properties across the Hastings area. Supporting people who are socially and financially disadvantaged.

They’re some of the major achievements. Some of the other ones that we worked alongside with was the development of the Peace Community Youth Club, establishing this and we basically went parallel with this for nearly 10 years as a ace achieving PCYC in New South Wales.

Speaker: Respecting the dignity of each person.

Validating the culture of others.

Emphasising our commonalities rather than our differences.

Actively identifying our individual strengths.