News

Pilgrimage of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents to visit the diocese

January 14, 2020

The relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents, St Louis and St Marie-Azelie (Zelie), will be taken through a number of dioceses early in 2020, commencing in the Diocese of Wollongong on 23 January in Varroville before returning to the diocese on 19 March to visit a number of other parishes and communities.

The pilgrimage is being coordinated by Catholic Mission and InvoCare who will be using the opportunity to raise funds for the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal during the pilgrimage. Fr Brian Lucas, national director of Catholic Mission, says the unique circumstances call for contingency. “We have many supporters in badly affected dioceses across Australia and it is incumbent on us to offer a missionary response and to enable those who want to prioritise their friends, families and fellow Australians affected by these devastating bushfires to do so.”

St Thérèse is widely known and loved for her “little way” of spiritual childhood. Born in 1873, she entered the Discalced Carmelite order at age 15, died at the age of 24 and was canonised in 1925. Her parents, Louis and Zélie, were the first spouses to be canonised as a couple in 2015.

Bishop Gregory Homeming OCD has written a beautiful piece on the practise of venerating relics which we have included below:

Many people wonder why the Church persists in what seems to be a mediaeval piety, an archaic practice. Why tour the remains of saints and make them available for the veneration of the faithful? Is this an outdated superstition?

Despite the scenes of intense religious devotion around relics, there is certainly nothing magical or talisman like about the relics of saints. Of themselves, relics are not holy. It is more correct to say, they are the remains of a holy person, a saint, and on account of their connection to that holy person are revered.

In Australia, we are used to caring for and respecting sacred sites. A place may be sacred for a number of reasons. It may be a place of spiritual significance to a people who identify with and are defined by that place; as is the case with many indigenous Australians. It may be a place where an important event took place and now is part of the national identity, such as Gallipoli. It may be a building in which over hundreds of years people have prayed and worshiped, such as a church or cathedral.

We all have souvenirs of people we have loved, insignificant items of little value, but to us they are treasured gems which move us to remember a loved one or an event. When the item attaches to a person it can bring to mind the attributes and goodness of the person. In some cases it can even encourage us to live according to higher values. The relics of saints fall into this category. Relics are physical remains which connect us with the goodness and holiness of the saint. They remind us of the saint and through the saint move us to live better lives.

The saints who are “visiting” Australia are a mother, a father and their daughter. St Louis and St Zelie are the only married couple to have been canonised, and they have a daughter who was called by Pope St Pius X, the greatest saint of the modern times. St Therese, who died in 1897, was a woman of precocious virtue and prayer. She says, “For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” She shows us that holiness is simple and hidden, it does not seek recognition but turning away from self to God, it makes within the human heart a place for Jesus.

As is the case with Jesus, holiness and goodness does not exist in a vacuum. It has a context. In Jesus’ case the context was the holy family. Extraordinary goodness does not exist in isolation. If you see a good child, you can generally presume that this goodness comes through the parents. Jesus was taught by Mary and St Joseph. St Therese is the daughter of holiness. The Church recognised that goodness is caught, and so investigated her parents, and found two saints.

These three saints show us the integrity of virtue and holiness. The path to holiness is the path of struggle and ordinary life. It is carried and lived with love, and dependence on God. They experienced the mercy of the Father and this mercy crafted the way they lived and loved. In this they are of great relevance for us. They have been where we are, and have together allowed God to perfect them. Being a family, the Martins prove that the family is the seed ground of holiness and goodness. We can learn from them.

Visit one of the churches which will host the relics. Pray and experience the saints. You will experience God and perhaps your life will change. As with a sacred site or souvenir, you can, through the saint, experience and connect with the holiness of God.

Pilgrimage itinerary in the Diocese of Wollongong

The pilgrimage of St Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents will commence in on 23 January in the Diocese of Wollongong at Varroville and return later in March, visiting a number of parishes and communities.

Please note that the below dates and times are still in draft format. Please check here closer to the date or contact the local parish to confirm.

Date

Place

Times and event details

Thur 23 Jan VARROVILLE
Carmel of Mary & Joseph
345 St Andrews Rd
Download the detailed Varroville itinerary program and poster.

10:00am Mass of the Espousals
11:00am Veneration of the relics
12:00pm Join community in prayer
12:30pm Veneration of the relics
4:00pm Join community in evening prayer
5:00pm Chapel will close

Fri 24 Jan VARROVILLE
Carmel of Mary & Joseph
345 St Andrews Rd
Retreat Day for our Secular Order Sisters and Brothers.
This day will be reserved for the private veneration of the relics
by the OCDS members
Sat 25 Jan VARROVILLE
Carmel of Mary & Joseph
345 St Andrews Rd
7:30am Mass and farewell to the relics
Sat 25 Jan VARROVILLE
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
193 St Andrews Rd
11:00am Welcome of relics to parish
12:00pm Welcome Mass with Bishop Brian followed by veneration
6:00pm Vigil Mass
Sun 26 Jan VARROVILLE
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
193 St Andrews Rd
9:00am Mass
5:00pm Mass
Mon 27 Jan VARROVILLE
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
193 St Andrews Rd
9:00am Mass
5:00pm Mass
Tues 28 Jan VARROVILLE
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church
193 St Andrews Rd
9:00am Farewell Mass
Tues 28 Jan VARROVILLE
Mount Carmel Retreat Centre
247 St Andrews Rd
11:00am Reception and veneration of relics
5:00pm Evening Prayer with the friars
7:30pm Mass
10:00pm Chapel will close
Wed 29 Jan VARROVILLE
Mount Carmel Retreat Centre
247 St Andrews Rd
7:30am Mass and Morning Prayer
5:00pm Evening Prayer with the friars
7:30pm Mass
Thur 30 Jan VARROVILLE
Mount Carmel Retreat Centre
247 St Andrews Rd
7:30am Mass and Morning Prayer
5:00pm Evening Prayer with the friars
7:30pm Mass
Fri 31 Jan VARROVILLE
Mount Carmel Catholic College
210 Spitfire Dr
10:00am Mass with the students then return to the Retreat Centre
Fri 31 Jan VARROVILLE
Mount Carmel Retreat Centre
247 St Andrews Rd
5:00pm Evening Prayer with the friars
7:30pm Mass
Sat 1 Feb VARROVILLE
Mount Carmel Retreat Centre
247 St Andrews Rd
7:30am Mass and Morning Prayer
Transfer of the relics to St Mary’s Cathedral Sydney
Thur 19 Mar LEPPINGTON
North Chapel
Forest Lawn Memorial Park
Camden Valley Way
8:00am Reception at the entrance followed by private veneration in the North Chapel
9:00am Mass in the North Chapel followed by morning tea and veneration
11:30am Depart from Forest Lawn
Thur 19 Mar LEPPINGTON
St Mary Mother of God Church
Dickson Rd
12.10pm Relics arrive followed by Angelus and rosary
12.30pm Depart from church
Thur 19 Mar ORAN PARK
St Mary MacKillop Church
Oran Park Dr
12.45pm Arrive at church precinct. Procession with student guard of honour
1:00pm Mass with students and guests under large covered area at St Justin’s Primary School in presence of the relics
2:00pm Veneration of relics in church
3:15pm Liturgy of the Word for children and families followed by veneration
3:45pm Depart from church
Thur 19 Mar ROSEMEADOW
Our Lady Help of Christians Church
80 Demetrius Rd
4.30pm Arrival and liturgical reception and enthronement of the relics on the Sanctuary
Reflection: A Family Bringing Blessings
Silent veneration of the relics, interspersed with readings from The Story of a Soul (the life of St Therese) and reflections
5.45pm Reflection: The Relics of Sts Louis, Zelie and Therese Martin. (Bishop Greg Homeming)
6.30pm Reflection: St Therese of Lisieux
7.30pm Solemn Mass
8.30pm Silent veneration of the relics to continue until 9:30pm
9.00pm Holy Rosary
9.30pm:  Final prayers and departure of the relics
Fri 20 Mar HELENSBURGH
Holy Cross Church
4 McMillan St
10:00am Arrival
10:30am Mass followed by quiet prayer and veneration
12:00pm Depart
Fri 20 Mar KANAHOOKA
Lakeside Memorial Park
230 Kanahooka Rd
12:45pm Arrival
2:00pm Depart
Fri 20 Mar UNANDERRA
Villa Maria (Aged Care) Centre
15A Blackman Pd
2:15pm Arrival
3:45pm Depart
Fri 20 Mar CORRIMAL
St Columbkille’s Church
99 Princes Hwy
4:00pm Arrival
Sat 21 Mar CORRIMAL
St Columbkille’s Church
99 Princes Hwy
4:00pm Depart
Sat 21 Mar UNANDERRA
Immaculate Conception Church
48–50 Princes Hwy
4:30pm Arrival
8:30pm Depart
Sun 22 Mar WEST WOLLONGONG
St Therese Church
2 Powell St
9:00am Arrival
Sun 22 Mar WARRAWONG
St Francis of Assisi Church
95 Flagstaff RD
12:15pm Arrival
8:00pm Depart
Mon 23 Mar MILTON
St Mary Star of the Sea Church
Corks Ln
12:30pm Arrival
3:00pm Depart
Mon 23 Mar NOWRA
Saint Michael’s Church
30 North St
4:00pm Arrival
8:30pm Depart
Tues 24 Mar KIAMA
Ss Peter & Paul Church
94-112 Manning St
10:00am Arrival
6:00pm Depart
Tues 24 Mar PENROSE PARK
Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy
120 Hanging Rock Rd
7:15pm Arrival
Overnight Vigil
Wed 25 Mar PENROSE PARK
Shrine of Our Lady of Mercy
120 Hanging Rock Rd
7:00pm Depart
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