Sunday, 14 October 2007

Eyre Peninsula acts as beacon of hope

Wow what a day! From a fishing trawler to the highest point on the Eyre Peninsula, today definitely had it all. We began with a youth mass at St Mary of the Angels Church, Port Lincoln. I'm going to be corny and say that the musicians sounded like angels. Seriously, the young people who provided the music should be proud because the music was worship.

We then proceeded down to the Marina where the Cross and Icon were loaded onto a tuna trawler which was generously donated for use. The locals who were on board were heard to exclaim "We're catching people not fish." So it seems that I'm not the only one with a corny sense of humour. The trawler positively motored along and we quickly arrived at the jetty. Many people had gathered to welcome the Cross and Icon and us! We processed along the jetty to the Dais on the foreshore where the community gathering was to be held. The local Aboriginal elder welcomed us to country and a drama was performed before we headed off on a procession along the foreshore and through the centre of Port Lincoln. As we went past the skate park some of the skaters stopped momentarily to stare at the procession as we meandered past them. We paused for prayer at the war memorial, before the Cross and Icon were packed up as we drove to the top of Winter’s Hill to pray over the city below.

We drove down the incline away from the sea, down a dirt road and into some dry hilly country, heading for White Flat, an area which was ravaged by bushfire in January 2005. Nine people lost their lives in the fire and countless properties were burnt to the ground destroying not only people’s homes, but their livelihoods as well.

The liturgy with the Cross and Icon was held on a concrete slab which is one of few remains of the family’s property. Members of the community had gathered to pray for the rebuilding efforts, for those who were lost in the fire, for the blessings they had received and for rain as drought now plagues the area. One woman wrote a poem as part of her personal recovery. She read it out and a response was sung to the tune of "My Favourite Things" but was replaced with "our many blessings". It was a touching indication of the enormous upheaval the community went through and of their strong, overarching faith throughout it all.

We drove on through the dry hilly country, gradually climbing as we approached Pillaworta Hill. The Tumby Bay and Cummins parishes had combined to join together on the hill that is in between them geographically. The view from the hill was absolutely amazing; to the east was the ocean - Port Lincoln and Tumby Bay could just be spotted and to the west were dry, rolling hills and countryside stretching as far as we could see. It was a magnificent spot to have a mass, to join with two communities welcoming the Cross and Icon and basically to have a celebration! The amount of people who had gathered completely surprised me, there would have been about 200 people there, all excited to be in such a set beautiful place praising God who made it all.
What a brilliant day, cheers Catholics of the Eyre Peninsular , Jess.

1 comment:

Benita, Darwin Diocese said...

What a beautiful reflection on the day Jess. I am keeping those rebuilding efforts in my prayers. Shed a tear for the song 'our many blessings', how beautiful.
Keeping the journey in our prayers and the wonderful team journeying with it.

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