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Prayer & Spirituality


In A Time of Crisis

“Have courage, no matter what your crosses are.”  Mary MacKillop, 1890.

“God, hear our cry.
Where are you God?
Can you stand in this place?  Can you weep with us? Will you cradle the wounded and support the broken?
Where are you God?
Can you feel the pain of this moment? Can you hear the grief of this place and our distress? Will you hold our terror and stay with us?”

A reading from Mark 14: 32-42
While Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane he called out to God:
“Father, you have the power to do all things.
Take this cup of suffering away from me.  But let it be your will, not mine.”

“God of the darkness, be with us in this crisis.
Hear our voices and the cry of our hearts.
God of our hope, Grace us with relief, protection, comfort integrity and companions.
We ask this with the suffering Christ and the Spirit of hope.

In a Time of Death

“Our darling unselfish mother, true to her character to the last, has gone to receive her well-earned reward. I don’t think she needs our prayers; still, we won’t forget them.” Mary MacKillop to her brother Donald, 1886.


“God , we grieve the death of ……………………  (name).
We remember, we grieve, we mourn.
God of community, we comfort each other.
We remember that we are but travellers here.
God with us, we thank you for the life of………………………(name).
We remember that you are the Resurrection and the Life.

A reading from John 14: 1-6.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled.
You have faith in God; have faith in me as well.
In God’s house there are  many dwelling places; otherwise how could I have told you that I was going to prepare a place for you?
I am indeed going to prepare a place for you, then I will come back and take you with me, that where I am there you may be as well.”

We let you go……………………………..(person’s name).
Into the earth that has nurtured you all your life;
Into communion with the sunshine of our world;
Into at-oneness with the winds and the air of our planet;
Into the waters and rains of life;
Into the stars and the stardust of our beginnings;
Into the heart of the Mystery of our loving God.  Amen. 

Mary MacKillop

“God is good.”  Mary MacKillop, 1871.

We pray in thanksgiving for the life of Mary MacKillop and her influence in our lives.
We pray for all those who have been influenced by Mary to work for the common good.
We pray to have the respect for the marginalised and abandoned that Mary MacKillop showed in her living.

A reading from Luke 4: 16-19

Jesus unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’

God of hope, hear our prayers and our hopes spoken aloud and held in our hearts.
Jesus our brother, you are the good news for us all.
Spirit God, inspire us to feed the poor, free prisoners, give sight to the blind and lift the down-trodden.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, friend of the marginalised, and the Spirit of community.  Amen. 

Anzac Day                                                                                                                                      

“They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.
Lest we forget.”

A reading from John 15: 12-15
This is my commandment:  
love one another as I have loved you.
There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend.”


Loving God, keeper of memories,
hear our prayers and encourage our desire to live in peace throughout the world.
Bless us with the promise you made through Isaiah:
that  we beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks;
may one nation not raise a sword against another, and may we never again train for war.We ask this through the crucified Christ and the peace-spreading Spirit.

Gilroy A (rsj) et al, Act Love Walk: Praying in the Josephite Tradition, Sydney: Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, 2014


Nine Days of Prayer with St Mary of the Cross Mackillop

A Novena is one form of prayer. Traditionally it is a none-day period of intensive prayer at a time of great need trusting in God’s compassionate love and care. The novena, however, need not be prayed on consecutive days, and it can of course continue beyond nine days—the number of days is not the essential element of the prayer. In asking Mary MacKillop to join in the novena we are acknowledging her as a friend and as someone whose faith and trust in God will strengthen our faith and trust and so prepare us for what lies ahead. During a novena, you can use any prayer, or pray in your own words, or perhaps you would like to use the following prayer.

Novena Prayer

God, our hope in times of struggle,
be a supporting and loving presence with us especially at this time.
Confident in your generous providence and joining with  St Mary Mackillop
we ask that you grant our request………………………………….(name the request).
We ask that our faith and hope be fired afresh by the Spirit so that, like Mary Mackillop,
we may live with courage, trust and openness.
We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.

Gilroy A (rsj) et al.,   Act Love Walk: Praying in the Josephite Spirit, Sydney: Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, 2014


Deacon Vince Ryan is our school chaplain and his role is to support students, families and staff in areas of welfare and pastoral care. Specifically he looks after our community in areas of grief and bereavement, self-esteem issues, and generally encouraging people to find peace and hope in their lives particularly when turmoil and sadness challenge members of our community.

Vince, as part of his role, supports parents and carers who struggle with financial difficulties through the staff conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society. This conference accesses support that enables families to overcome oppressive financial challenges.

Student support is basic to Vince’s work in the school. Engaging with students generally and offering encouragement through a kind word here or there adds to the overall pastoral nature of St Clare’s.

Chaplaincy includes the Vinnies group at school and the various activities it participates in. We visit Storm Village on a fortnightly basis, a much appreciated experience for our students. The senior Social Justice Immersion to Sydney has a powerful impact on our students of the reality of life for those who live marginalised. We continue to have successful Winter Blanket Appeals and Christmas Hamper Appeals.

Another of Vince’s role is the important role of witnessing God’s love for all. In his ministry he is constantly reminding all that as a Catholic school the Gospel values of Jesus are first and foremost the principals that we try and live by each day.

Vince’s role is funded under the Australian Government’s Chaplaincy in Schools Program.


Vince as a deacon adds a unique dimension to his role as chaplain. Vince was ordained in February 2008, prior to his commencing his role as chaplain.

The Church has never been without the ministry of deacons, but we mostly know the role as a transitional ministry on the pathway to ordination as a priest. The Second Vatican Council restored the permanent ministry of the diaconate whereby married or single men can be ordained as deacons for life.

The principal role of the deacon is to support and promote God’s kingdom here on earth. There are three aspects to this:

A deacon is the minister or proclaimer of the Word – through reading the Gospel at Mass, preaching and teaching. He is also a minister of Liturgy assisting the priest at Mass and he also has a pastoral ministry which can include visitation of the sick either at home or in hospital or being a chaplain at a school.

For Vince this enables him to Baptise, officiate at Weddings and officiate at Funerals. When we have Mass at St Clare’s, Vince takes an integral role in assisting on the altar, and in proclaiming the Gospel and preaching. There have been occasions where after the death of a parent or someone associated with St Clare’s, Vince has been asked to conduct the funeral or memorial service.

It has been stated that Bishops and Priests look after the Church ‘gathered’. Deacons look after the Church ‘scattered’. Another comment was made that Deacons are boundary riders - looking after those who are marginalised and on the outskirts of society.

Along with Denise, Vince’s wife and Ministry Co-ordinator at St Clare’s, the school is blessed to have such a wonderful ministry available to the St Clare’s community.

Useful Texts on Evangelisation, the Catholic School and Spirituality

The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis—Evangelii Gaudium, Rome, November 2013.

Hard Copy: St Paul’s

Online: Evangelii Gaudium  Vatican website


The Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis—Laudato Si, Rome, September 2015

Hard Copy: St Paul’s

Online: Laudato Si   Vatican website


Kavanagh A & Pallisier L, Will Catholic Schools Be Catholic in 2030? Exploration of Issues that are of Essence in the Unfolding Story of Catholic Schools, and of Church, in Australia,  Sydney: Province of Patrician Brothers, Australia, 2014.

Gilroy A (rsj) et al.,   Act Love Walk: Praying in the Josephite Spirit,Sydney: Trustees of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, 2014

Treston K., Come and See:  Spirituality For Everyday Living, Queensland: Creation Enterprises, 2015