Here in Australia, all of 2020 seems to have been a time of waiting.
In January we waited for the smoke to clear and the fires to be doused. Then the rain came and in some places, people waited for the floods to ease. Of course, most tragic of all has been the COVID-19 virus which spread throughout the world and we are still waiting for this virus to be eradicated.
Thousands of people experienced loss, suffered loneliness and other forms of hardship this year. COVID restrictions meant that some people waited months to visit friends and family at home, in hospitals and in aged care facilities too. Many men and women died without the company of a loved one. Jobs were lost and schools were closed.
We waited for Masses to be reinstated and catechists awaited news that they could safely return to the classroom.
And now we have come into the liturgical Season of Advent in our Church – a time to look with hope to the coming of Jesus into our hearts. As we continue this journey of waiting and anticipating, the symbols of Advent help restore our faith: the round wreath of greenery placed before the assembly is a focal point, and the four candles symbolise the light of Christ.
Advent is the time for us to pause and prepare for Christmas 2020.
It was into a similarly turbulent world that the Christ child was born. The most momentous event in world history was only recognised by Mary, Joseph, a few shepherds and the angels. The hope of the world was born while the rest of the world slept, waking to their problems and worries. Jesus is coming into the world this Christmas for us, so let’s pray that people will recognise Him. He is our hope and our joy. Jesus is waiting for us to take Him into their hearts, cradle Him with love and believe He will restore our hope and our joy.
Public school children will hear this message from our 800 catechists from the Diocese of Parramatta during Advent. I take this opportunity to recognise and thank all our catechists for their flexibility and dedication, and for bringing the gift of Christ’s word week after week to the 15,000 public school children in our Diocese this year.
Cecilia Zammit is Director of Confraternity of Christian Doctrine at the Diocese of Parramatta.
To find out more about becoming a catechist in 2021, contact Cecilia at firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 8838 3486.
This article was originally featured in the Summer 2020/2021 Edition of the Catholic Outlook Magazine.