Illawarra flock told to think on their faith

Catholic Bishop Peter Ingham delivered a Christmas message full of questions for the congregation gathered at Wednesday’s morning mass at St Francis Xavier Cathedral in Wollongong.

The bishop asked the congregation to think about who brought them to their faith.

‘‘Who planted the seed of faith in you?’’ he said.

‘‘To whom are we passing on our Christian values and ideals?

‘‘Who supports us with love and affirmation?

‘‘Supporting each other is one of life’s greatest blessings.

‘‘Who have we neglected?

‘‘And finally, who are we?  

‘‘Who we are determines the kinds of things we do.

‘‘Have you or I given the saviour Jesus a home in our own hearts?’’

Much like the scenic Sea Cliff Bridge connected Coalcliff and Clifton, the birth of Jesus Christ bridged the gap between God and ourselves, the bishop said.

‘‘God loved the world so much He sent His Son to be our Saviour,’’ he said.

‘‘If people try to live by His ideals, then the world becomes a better place.

‘‘They are truth, justice, love, compassion, forgiveness, hope and faith.’’

The Church held six Christmas masses, with Bishop Peter celebrating the 9am mass.

Parishioner Sandra Howells said she enjoyed the homily.

‘‘I thought the questions made you think about who did introduce you to your faith,’’ she said.

‘‘For me, it was my late mother and father.’’

The Wollongong resident planned to spend Christmas with her fiance Bernie O’Leary, starting off with a family lunch before driving to Wagga Wagga to celebrate with more family.

Mr O’Leary said the bishop’s questions were ‘‘thought-provoking’’.

Meanwhile, nine-year-old Briana Bande was greatly looking forward  to opening all  her Christmas presents, along with her five- and four-year-old siblings.

Her mother, Eunice Bande, said they planned to spend quality time with family.

‘‘We’ll just have lunch together with the family,’’ she said.

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