Saturday, 23 February 2008

Cross & Icon climb heights of Mt Stromlo

Salutations friends, my name is Samuel J Mullins. The JCI team are having a well-earned rest day today, so I’ve been giving temporary blogging powers. I hope you find it entertaining and insightful.

The Cross and Icon began their day (you know what, writing Cross and Icon every time is rather tedious, so for the duration of this blog, they will be henceforth known as CI) in the presence of over 250 people who had sacrificed their Saturday morning sleep in to process up to the Mount Stromlo Observatory in the ACT.

The purpose of the procession was to commemorate one of the most significant days in Canberra’s short but colourful history. On January 18, 2003, a brutal firestorm ravaged Canberra suburbs, killing 4 people and destroying over 400 homes. At the heart of the fire was Mount Stromlo, atop which stood a high powered telescope used for some of the most advanced astrophysical research in the world. Though this research facility has been rebuilt, the charred ruins remain as a memorial of that day.

At the pre-dawn start, scarred bark and black stumps, echoes of 5 years ago, marked the way to the top but as the procession approached the summit, the sun broke the horizon and all of Canberra was bathed in a golden glow. Perhaps it was a sign of the new life that has come to this place since that day of devestation.

At the top there was standing room only for a simple but moving ceremony commemorating the fires. Senator Gary Humphries gave CI an official welcome to Canberra, and thus the first full day CI spent in the nation’s capital began.

CI then made the brief trek to St John Vianney’s Church in Waramanga, where those who had made the early morning hike were treated to a hearty breakfast (and who doesn’t like a hearty breakfast!). The members of the local Neocatechumenate Way then reverently led people through the Prayer of the Church.

The fine people of the Weston Creek region then said their goodbyes, and CI was quickly on its way, for the day had only just begun.

It has been said that sport is Australia’s religion, so there was no more appropriate place to bring CI than the Australian Institute of Sport. A mass was celebrated on the oval, and CI was then processed through the grounds of the Institute. It struck me what a powerful contradiction it was; a simple wooden cross that symbolises the strength found in weakness, the love found in surrender, moving through a place where strength acquired through ones own efforts is the real currency.

Stations of the Cross followed, and they ended, somewhat appropriately at Calvary. The hospital, not the hill.

From there, CI did a whirlwind tour of the parishes of North Canberra, including Kaleen, Gunghalin and Kippax. Cheers and tears greeted the cross, and seats were scarce at all venues. The fine people of North Canberra truly embraced the meaning and power of CI and the first full day in Canberra ended with spirits high.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice one Samuel J Mullins- you can be guest blogger anytime. Whilst in my diocese we also took CI to a place decemated by fire- needless to say it was a very powerful moment.

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