Today I thought the season of glad songs had finally arrived but no after a few sprinkles the dark clouds disappeared and once again there were sunny skies. As you drive along the dusty roads a common sight is herds of cattle with the drovers who have been on the road for months. Nowadays they bring horse floats and sleep in them overnight. It is an effort to find what is beautiful in life however it is there if you look ever so carefully you can find it in the land you love.
Though there is drought, I am surprised by the number of birds around. The usual flocks of galahs and corellas and of course the noisy miners and the friar birds who stay ever so close to you. The doves are cooing, the green parrots swoop by every now and then and you see the odd cuckoo, bustard or plover – hopefully, the latter won’t lay their eggs in my paddock. Now that winter is here it is often warmer outside in the sun where I sit for the lunch break. Instead of watching clouds I am watching crows and have decided that they are really smart birds. I watch them carry chip packets, foam cups which they try to drink from and even small apples. The galahs despise them and try to force them out the trees. Forgot to say about the magpies and peewees which Minnie the dog objects to and is usually chasing them and the 10-20 large roos in the yard which have devoured all the gazanias.
Then this happened:-
There was movement in the church, and the word was passed around
That the Bishop from Toowoomba town would pass this way
To join Sacred Heart Community – on the dry and dusty ground
So many folks had gathered to celebrate that day.
It was a grand night when we welcomed Bishop Robert for the Confirmation and Communion of 5 children and the Confirmation of 3 adults. The children processed down the aisle playing the maracas – I didn’t have a spare one for the Bishop. Both grandmothers of one of the children were confirmed as well as long-time resident and Nurse Judy Henning. Family and friends came to celebrate the occasion. Judy’s daughter had come from Townsville to be her mother’s sponsor and was accompanied by her small son Oscar. He became a little restless, so his mother took him outside.
One of the adults jumped from their seat to be Judy’s sponsor however just as the Bishop was about to anoint Judy the daughter ran down the aisle and skidded to a halt in front of the Bishop. We all laughed. The best-laid plans don’t always succeed but we are sure that the happy memory of this celebration will stay with is for some time. The community was also delighted to extend their hospitality to two friends of the Bishop who were visiting the west for the first time.
It was also a time to congratulate the participants of a course conducted some weeks previously by John Briffa, the Liturgy Person for the diocese. John had expertly led four parishioners through a ‘how to’ for funerals and as well an update on leading a Liturgy of the Word with communion. We are preparing for the church of the future where the lay people will take a very active role.
This month the community was overjoyed to welcome Carolyn, the Administration Officer from the school into full communion with the Catholic Church. Carolyn has worshipped at Sacred Heart Cunnamulla for many years and I said to her after the Confirmation where she assisted me so competently, “You are the most Catholic Non-Catholic I know”. She then mentioned that she wanted to be a Catholic, so it was organised and during the same service Fr Peter baptised Brooke, daughter of Cara and Ben with their friend Carolyn as the godmother.
This year Cunnamulla celebrates 150 years a town and there are several events planned from November 8-11. The celebration concludes with the Armistice Day service. The committee has fund-raising events from time to time. Jan Gorrie, fund-raiser par excellent, suggested that the Catholic ladies of the town needed to show their support by organising a cake stall. Over three hours an extraordinary amount of money was collected. This is one way we can show that we are open to being an ecumenical presence. Currently, we are working on a contribution to the memory quilt and perhaps a float in the show.
The opal shop is closing its doors and so I went in to see if there were any bargains I could speak about to friends. I thought I saw something familiar about the hides on the large table – yes dingo hides going to $300. Always plenty of surprises in this place. Now I need to finish this letter as I need to prepare for the arrival of five guests who will come to visit the shop they donate clothes to and allow us to thank them in some small way for their kindness.
My prayer for you is – May your cup overflow with peace, love and pure awesomeness today.
Sr Maureen Andrews MFIC (Missionary Franciscan of the Immaculate Conception) is the Pastoral Leader at Sacred Heart Church, Cunnamulla in Queensland.
*Cunnamulla is located 972 km west of Brisbane and 120 km north of the NSW border, Cunnamulla is the administrative centre for the vast Paroo Shire. The town of Cunnamulla, which is the largest of the four towns in the Paroo Shire, is situated on the banks of the Warrego River and is the southern starting point on the Matilda Highway. Other towns include Wyandra, Eulo and Yowah. The population of about 1500 is an integrated community of indigenous and non-indigenous people. Cunnamulla is known for its famous character the Cunnamulla Fella, brought to life by Stan Coster lyrics and later immortalised in song by the late Slim Dusty.
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