Christmas Message 2022 from the Parish Priest

“Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” [Luke 2:15]

Each one of us has a ‘Bethlehem’ story, the place or moment where Jesus is so real and alive for us. This is our own Christmas story, our own Bethlehem.

But what does Christmas mean to us? To know this is to find our own Bethlehem.

For some, it is writing and sending Christmas cards and messages out to their loved ones. For some, it means Christmas shopping for parties and for presents. While for others, it is enjoying time with family and friends at Christmas dinners.

But Christmas is not just about giving a space in our minds and hearts for our brothers and sisters.

It is first and foremost giving a space to someone who makes us brothers and sisters in the first place- Jesus Christ, the reason for this season.

For the shepherds in the nativity story, it is not just listening to ‘the news of great joy’ but going out to see for themselves this wonderful news.

For the wise men from the East, it is not just to remain pondering on the beauty of the stars, but going out to seek the newborn king of the Jews to pay him rightful homage.

For Joseph, it is not just a dream. He has to get up and work to make that dream a reality.

For Mary, it is receiving the divine message with humility, being obedient to God’s will and treasuring these things in her heart.

In other words, Christmas is looking up to Christ. 

Furthermore, Christmas is celebrating Christ not just as Emmanuel (God-with-us), but as God-within-us.

So Christmas is also doing something for Christ and on behalf of Christ for others.

If Christ is God-within-us, we are to be God’s presence and present to one another.

As a present to one another, what kind of present are we? Are we a present that is worth treasuring in somebody’s heart?

As a Christmas message to one another, what message would we bring? Is it a message of joy, peace, hope, love?

Christmas is also a time of thanksgiving to God. Let us thank God for his amazing gift for us, the gift that never loses its value and significance to us- his only Son, Jesus Christ, our Saviour.

As a way of gratitude to God, let us think of the many figures of the newborn Christ around us today. He is present in the last, the least and the lost. We need to be Christ-in-action for them.

As Mary and Joseph struggled to find an inn, there are many today who are homeless, because of the lack of affordable housing, or because of natural disasters, like floods, fire, earthquake, or those in war-torn countries. Let us support them with our prayers and in any way we can.

Like the child in the manger who is helpless, vulnerable and voiceless, there are many of our brothers and sisters who need our help, who need our personal care in their vulnerabilities and who need us to speak on their behalf, for they are not being heard or their voice is considered unimportant. Let us stay with Jesus for he knows so well the language of the helpless, the needy and the poor.

Finally, let us pray for ourselves that during this Christmas, we may find our true Bethlehem, by experiencing God’s personal care and love for us, by ourselves- being the presence of Christ and present that brings peace, joy, hope and love to others, especially to those in need.

Thanks to all of you in the parish who together journeyed and helped us get through another year in our Christian journey towards our eternal Bethlehem.

With peace and blessings from the Most High, Fr Uday and Fr Adi and I, we wish you all a blessed and a solemn Christmas celebrations.

And may we look back the past year with gratitude, celebrate the new year with joy and enthusiasm and look to the future with hope and optimism. Merry Christmas one and all!  

Fr Junjun 

Fr Junjun (Parish Priest), Fr Adi and Fr Uday (Assistant Priests)
Header image: Triptych of the Adoration of the Magi (1470 - 1472). Oil on panel. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, Spain.

October Public Rosary

2022 Public Rosary

About 50 faithful from Wodonga and beyond gathered at St. Augustine’s Church this morning to pray the Holy Rosary for the nation.

The 15 October Public Rosary is an an international campaign to pray the rosary together in commemoration of the last apparition of Our Lady (October 13, 1917) at Fatima. In Australia, this project is spearheaded by Australia Needs Fatima, an on-going project to bring the Message of Fatima to all Australians.

In 1917, Our Lady appeared to three children, Lucia dos Santos, Francisco Marto, and Jacinta Marto. At the time, the children were ten, nine and seven years of age respectively. All three lived in Aljustrel, a village in the parish of Fatima, Portugal. The apparitions took place on a small plot of land belonging to Lucia’s parents called the Cova da Iria, where the children used to graze their sheep (from Australia Needs Fatima website).

We are grateful to God and to Our Lady for the opportunity to come together in prayer. A parishioner commented about the Rosary today, “Amazing service today filled with love.”

Safeguarding Sunday 2022

Safeguarding Sunday 2022

The Catholic Church in Australia marks Safeguarding Sunday (formerly Child Protection Sunday) on the second Sunday of September — at the conclusion of National Child Protection Week. Safeguarding Sunday seeks to acknowledge the immense damage caused by the sexual abuse of children and adults at risk, including by priests, religious and lay people within Catholic contexts. It makes a commitment to practices and protocols that create and maintain safe environments for all people. It invites people to pray for those harmed by abuse directly and indirectly.

Read more on the ACBC website.

Season of Creation 2022

“Listen to the voice of creation” is the theme and invitation of this year’s Season of Creation. The ecumenical phase begins on 1 September with the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, and concludes on 4 October with the feast of Saint Francis.

Click here to read Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation 2022.

Watch the Press conference – Pope Francis’ Message for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation below:


Farewell Mass: 140 Years of Faith and Worship in Bethanga Celebrated

Bishop Shane Mackinlay celebrated the Farewell Mass at St Francis Church, Bethanga on Saturday 20 August. Wodonga priests, Fr Junjun Amaya PP, Fr Uday Marneni AP and Fr Adi Indra AP concelebrated at this final Mass in Bethanga, which Fr Junjun described as bittersweet.

In his Homily, Bishop Shane said the Mass was a day to celebrate and acknowledge the faith and tradition of those who had worshipped in St Francis over the last 140 years.

Read full article here.