This time we have four stories, from all around "this ancient land" – a Twilight Retreat for high school students in western Sydney (picture), a prayer day in Victoria, Year of Grace stories from the southwest of Western Australia, and a racecourse Mass and parish library, among other things, from the north coast of New South Wales.

From Rosemeadow, Varroville and Narellan, NSW (on the south-western outskirts of Sydney, in the Diocese of Wollongong).

Seventy one students from John Therry Catholic High School, Mt Carmel Catholic High School and Magdalene Catholic High School participated in the Macarthur Twilight Retreat held on Friday 24 August. This initiative, organised by the MCC Youth Minister Tiffany Roma and JT Evangelization Coordinator Maria Boulatsakos, was put together on the 'Year of Grace'. The evening was a huge success, consisting of beautiful inspirations and reflections from Br Tony Leon a Marist Brother who spoke about 'Gifts of Grace' and Fr Richard Healey who spoke about 'A Grateful Heart'. There was also an opportunity for reconciliation and liturgy giving the students an opportunity to 'start afresh from Christ'. I am including a photo from the evening.

Kindest Regards,
Maria Boulatsakos, Evangelization Coordinator,
John Therry Catholic High School.

From Seymour, Vic.

St. Mary's Parish Seymour, on 18 August 2012, held its Annual Quiet Day Retreat on the aspects of the Year of Grace, given by Father Chris Toms, Dandenong. The day began with Morning Prayer (Lauds) followed by the first talk on the theology of Grace from John 6:1-4 taken from the five barley loaves and the two fish. This was followed by quiet reflection and Mass. Following lunch the second talk on Grace was taken from Matthew 13:1-9, 18-13 on the Sower who went out to sow. Reconciliation in the second Rite was offered to the participants from St. Mary's and neighbouring parishes. The day finished with Evening Prayer of the Day (Vespers). Those who attended the Quiet Day of Reflection left with a deeper meaning of Grace in today's environment.

Monsignor Anthony K. Toms
Parish Priest

From Boyup Brook, WA.

My name is Elly Moir from St. Mary's Parish in Boyup Brook, in the diocese of Bunbury West Aust.

I am the co-ordinator for the Year of Grace program in our parish. We have set up a Prayer Corner, which consists of a large table, and two pin-up boards. Each month I change the focus of the boards, so as to highlight the main feast days by way of holy pictures. These I source from old calendars, holy picture books and from whatever parishioners have in their homes.

On one of the boards we have a section for Stories of Grace. I am in the process of asking each parishioner for a story of grace, of how God has touched them in their lives, because like Fr Healy says (see Living Grace – 6), we build up our faith by hearing the marvels that God works in other peoples' lives.

Each week, I pin up a new story of grace for people to read, and at the end of the week, the story goes into a special file, so that at the end of the Year of Grace, we will have one amazing book of graces.

Sometimes, when people haven't had the time to send me their story, I source them from other areas. So this beautiful story of Fr Healy's will be going up on our board in the next few weeks.

Looking forward to reading many more stories from your e-bulletin.

God bless, Mary protect,


From Nambucca Valley Parish, NSW.

Firstly, I would like to thank you for your website and the inspirational stories and prayers.

We are the Nambucca Valley Parish in mid-north coast of NSW and thought we'd share our Year of Grace initiatives with you. A few parishioners have got together to "kick-off" the Year of Grace with a lovely outdoor mass at Bowraville Racecourse with morning tea served afterwards.

We have also set up a "Parish Library" with many parishioners donating their beautiful books of prayer, reflection, spirituality and stories with a few DVDs and CDs thrown in. We have a catalogue with a brief description of each book available, author and genre. Although slow to take off with people borrowing the books - all parishioners know the books are there to borrow and to share with a sick or worried friend or family member.

A few other quiet initiatives are being looked at ie dawn or dusk gathering on the beach with prayers, open garden/place of peace to share with strategically placed seats (with lovely views/scenes) + reflection material on the seats (for people who need more inspiration). We are very conscious of the Year of Grace not about doing doing, doing but about being, being close to God.

All the very best to your group during this wonderful Year of Grace and God bless you.

Cathy Cresswell
Parish Secretary, Nambucca Valley Parish
Co-ordinator Year of Grace (one of them)

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