Category: Prayer Petitions and Thanksgivings

I haven’t posted on this blog for a long time now, but I feel moved to share these thoughts following a Memorandum that was posted recently on the noticeboard at Villa Maria, Fortitude Valley.   The memo is dated 27 December 2017, and a copy was passed to me yesterday.   It is addressed to the “Residents, Relatives, staff, VM community friends” and as the first paragraph says, “including those who have been regular visitors to our resident chapel.”  The memo is intended for many of us, therefore, and deserves to be seen by all concerned.  As the memo will probably be counted as “community communication/consultation” at some point, this is further reason to see that it is shared with all concerned.

I share these thoughts as a concerned Catholic, and in support of the lay faithful who are upset at the proposed building works to be undertaken in the original chapel at Villa Maria.   Villa Maria is a spiritual gem of our Archdiocese.  As someone who was “born and bred” in Brisbane, I – along with many others – feel a strong connection to this place of prayer.  Father Julian Tenison Woods co-founded the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1874, and the Sisters have been in Spring Hill since 1881 and on the present site since 1900.  The older building, which contains the chapel which is the subject of this post, was constructed from 1927 (

It is noteworthy that Catholic Healthcare explicitly states in the memorandum that it has abandoned the plans for a café adjacent to the chapel.  This is good news.  However, what remains perplexing, as per the drawing, is that approximately one third of the people’s nave of the chapel is still to be turned into a “gathering space” and to be partitioned off from the remains of the chapel by glass screens.  What is also not mentioned, and what exists in the documentation for building approvals (as seen already on the internet), is the demolition work to be undertaken to turn the choir loft into a dining room.

The burning question in this debacle is this: why is it not possible to create the additional dining and lounge facilities for the residents in some other part of the building, or in the courtyard spaces around the chapel?  At least one other Brisbane architect has spent many hours to work out how all the extra facilities for the residents can be incorporated, without having to do anything at all to the chapel.  Why are these suggestions not being taken on board?  Why is one of our historic and beautiful sacred spaces going to be permanently disfigured by relegating parts of it to secular use, when there is absolutely no need to do so?  Catholic Healthcare plan to increase the number of residents at Villa Maria, so surely more space should be needed in the chapel, not less.

Catholic Healthcare (, the organisation that has the lease on the old building at Villa Maria, is owned – as I understand it – by the Catholic Bishops of Lismore, Wollongong, Bathurst, and Parramatta, together with the Sisters of Saint Joseph.  A win-win solution exists to this situation, with the addition of extra facilities for the residents, and also the preservation of the old chapel, retaining its unique character as it presently is, as a sacred space which has been in continuous use as a place of worship and prayer for close to a century, and remains so to this day.  Please help save this historic and special place, as it is, for the present and for the future.

We implore the above-named bishops to intervene, and to help steer the situation to a happy conclusion for all involved.

Other updates on Villa Maria have been seen here:

Villa Maria Memo 2017 12 27 p.1







Villa Maria Memo 2017 12 27 p.2


oratory website screenshot 1The Brisbane Oratory in Formation now has a revamped website.

It provides information about Oratories in general, and about the Brisbane Oratory in Formation project.

In the latest news section, there are some photos of the Brisbane Oratory’s seminarian, Shawn Murphy, being clothed in the habit of the Toronto Oratory, where he is formally beginning his formation in Oratorian life.  (There are more photos from this event here).

oratory shawn receiving habit 1

The Brisbane Oratory in Formation’s seminarian, Shawn Murphy, receiving the habit of the Toronto Oratory

There is also a link to yesterday’s article in The Australian newspaper on the Brisbane Oratory.

Please keep this project in your prayers.  It’s a great development for our Archdiocese, and its wonderful that its happening here.

You might also consider making a financial offering, which at this stage will especially assist in the training of the Brisbane Oratory in Formation’s seminarian.

prayer for syriaIn Brisbane, Archbishop Coleridge has asked us to fulfil the Holy Father’s request for prayer and fasting for peace in Syria by observing a week of prayer from the 8th to the 15th of September 2013, and to observe a day of fasting on Friday 13 September (see here).

You may find the following document useful for your daily prayers over the next week:

Prayer for Syria

tas bushfire appealWe continue to keep in our prayers those affected by the bushfires in Tasmania.  You might be interested in making an offering to the Saint Vincent de Paul appeal;  click on the picture above/right.

michael putneyThe sad news is also out that Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville has stomach cancer that has spread to his liver.  The media release says that the cancer is untreatable and incurable.

Bishop Putney was vice-rector of Pius XII Seminary when I was there in the 1990s, and lecturer in theology whom I studied under.  He was well respected by the students.

Please keep Bishop Putney in your prayers, and also the people of the diocese of Townsville.

See: Media release on Bishop Putney.


Vatican City, 30 November 2012 (VIS) – Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for December is: “That migrants throughout the world may be welcomed with generosity and authentic love, especially by Christian communities”.

His mission intention is: “That Christ may reveal Himself to all humanity with the light that shines forth from Bethlehem and is reflected in the face of His Church”.

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of my uncle, Garry Betheras – Mum’s brother – who died Sunday morning in Brisbane, and for the Lord’s consolation to be with Jill and all the family.  Uncle Garry lived with cancer these past few years.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.  May he rest in peace.

Early in September I posted the first in a series of video conversations with Siobhan Rock.  Two further videos have now been produced in which she speaks with her father (who lives in the house where I live here in Ottawa) and with her stepfather.  The second of the following videos was made after Siobhan went sky-diving.  Siobhan is living with ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, a disease that kills you “one muscle at a time.”

Warning: you might want to have a box of tissues at the ready!

Episode Two:

Episode Three:


I mentioned Siobhan Rock back in March.  Siobhan is the daughter of one of our confreres here in Ottawa, and she is living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS).

An interview taken with Siobhan in June 2012 has just become available in the past week.  It’s very moving to hear her speak so candidly about her situation.

Please keep Siobhan and her family in your prayers.

Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing during the Angelus prayer at his summer residence of Castel Gandolfo, in the outskirts of Rome, Sunday, July 29, 2012. Pope Benedict XVI has issued an urgent appeal for an end to `’all violence and bloodshed” in Syria. The pope in his traditional Sunday Angelus prayer called for all parties, including the international community, to spare no effort in seeking peace and a political settlement to the conflict. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

Pope Benedict’s general prayer intention for August 2012 is: “That prisoners may be treated with justice and respect for their human dignity”.

His mission intention is: “That young people, called to follow Christ, may be willing to proclaim and bear witness to the Gospel to the ends of the earth”.

It was nice to hear from a correspondent that 40 hours of Eucharistic Adoration was held in the past couple of days to pray for our new Archbishop in Brisbane, Mark Coleridge.

Why not commit yourself to praying for Archbishop Coleridge?  How about a rosary once a month, or weekly?

You can register that you are praying for him on Rosary for the Bishop.