In 2013 Anna graduated with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geology and Geography from the University of Sydney. Following the completion of her degree, Anna attended the Emmanuel School of Mission in Rome, a 9 month Catholic Evangelisation School. During this time she was involved in parish and diocesan evangelisation projects around various European cities and became immersed in the Life of the Church in Rome.
Since then Anna has been employed by the National Office for Evangelisation - Catholic Enquiry Centre as a projects coordinator.
Anna enjoys studying rocks and land formations, travelling, speaking to people she doesn't really know, assembling flat-pack furniture and plays hockey for Rah-Sharkies.
A unified sigh of relief echoes throughout the world, Christmas is over. The sigh is misguided because actually - newsflash - Christmas starts on Christmas day and continues for a week in what is known in the Church as the Octave of Christmas. But you don’t need to hold your breath again, a repetition of Christmas day celebrations with family and friends is not required, but we do have permission to continually remember how God became Man and why we are Christian.
And not many would be unfamiliar with the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, but few would be familiar with its origins. The song is more than about gift giving (and unusual gifts these would be, anyone want a French hen) but was a coded Catholic song during persecution of Roman Catholics in England. Each item and number symbolises a part of the faith and My true love is the One God. I read that if you were to buy all the items on the list literally it would amount to $30,000. Yet for the Catholics of this time, their faith came at a greater cost – their lives.
|There was nothing more exciting for me as a child than to wake up on Christmas day and open ALL the presents underneath the tree. And there was nothing less exciting for my father than all his kids waking him up at 7am to do this. Children make the equation that Christmas equals presents. Gift giving is a nice gesture but eventually in our lives we need to move past the present equation and childish Christmas notions and draw into a deeper understanding of Christmas.|
My grandfather kept a hobby farm in Malta. On one occasion I overheard my grandparents discussion something and I regularly heard the word ‘shitta’. Rather unfortunate near-homonym for rain. You see the soil needed to be dry for about a week after the seeds were planted, they wanted to prepare well so they could receive well an abundant harvest.
The Catholic Enquiry Centre receives various questions throughout the year. Recently, we received one about the symbolism of the cross, its origins and relevance and the concern of idolatry and worshipping imagery.The cross is most certainly apparent in Christianity; you would be hard-pressed to visit a Christian community without the visible symbol.
With the feast of St Martha just passed it reminds me of the beautiful story in Luke 10:38-42. Martha’s busy preparations distract her from what is important. Although she is serving Jesus with great fervour, love and action she neglects her relationship with him – to just sit and spend time with him.
Does this sound familiar? Many of us serve Christ in the best way we can and many of us will fill up our time with good service to the Lord. But are we so busy that we are distracted from Jesus himself? Is our service taking so much time that we do not have space for prayer or sitting at the Lord’s feet?
|Some football fans are more enthusiastic than others and when I say enthusiastic, I mean obsessed. As far as I can remember, my father has been one of the more enthusiastic football fans and will happily joke it is his Religion. This year he set a new level of religiosity and took a month of leave so he could watch all the games on television (seriously, why not just go to Brazil?) But wait there‘s more. He dedicated the time in between the games to study the Football Bible and compose thesis sized labour of love writing a summary of History of the Development of Rules in Association Football.|
God in his infinite mercy, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, redeems us. It gets better though. Through the sending of the Holy Spirit we can now be adopted sons and daughters of God. We can share in eternal life, the same life Jesus shares. The end of our story is not death but resurrection...
Redemption gives us hope. Just like in the cold, bleak winter we anticipate the warmness and beauty of spring, in our sufferings and difficulties we expect transformation anew and as we move each moment towards earthly death thanks to the redemptive love of Jesus, we can hope in eternal life.
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. A large sigh expires from my lungs as I think about how I am still single and desperately wonder about “True Love”, whether it will ever exist for me! O the Melodrama!
All dramatic antics aside, the mystery of Love is something we spend a lifetime trying to discover. As a teenager and young adult it is quite easy to reduce love to that ‘funny feeling inside’ a whirlwind of emotions overtake you, your heart flutters and legs turn to jelly every time your “True Love” is near.
It’s easy to love when you see the world through rose-coloured glasses. But what happens when the honeymoon period is over? Is it all about the fuzzy feeling? Are you in love anymore?
Although a regular receiver of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as the Sacrament of Confession) for many years, for a long time I struggled with the concept of confessing my sins and how the sacrament helps me. In fact, I rarely felt the sense of interior freedom that I would expect from being cleansed of sin and I would leave feeling restless. Also some people would be in the confessional for 20 minutes and I would be there for 5; not because I was holy, because I did not know what to say or was too scared to open my heart to the mercy of God. I would leave dissatisfied with myself and with a questioning feeling of whether I really confessed properly. I had a real desire to change this, so I started asking questions and reading books (most notably The Gift of Confession by Fr Michael de Stoop). Here are some things that have really helped me.