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Please click on the link to view the Cathedral Newsletter 28th Sunday in Ordinary Time 28th Sunday Ordinary Time 091016

This weekend marks the beginning of Mental Health Week in Australia, with 10 October being World Mental Health Day.

Each year approximately 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness, with anxiety disorders being the most frequently reported. Why is this happening? I would suggest that the answers are incredibly complex.

People with mental health issues are often misunderstood, shunned and isolated – from the services that are in place to support them. As Church, we have something profound to offer for the health and care of all people – and each one of us has a part to play.

In one of his songs, Marty Haugen reminds us that “All are welcome in this place”. The Church is by its very nature a place of belonging. A gathered community of people is a significant opportunity to experience nurture, care and support – all of which fosters good mental health.

In a world of flux and change, the Church potentially offers a place of stability and balance. I would suggest it might be easy to feel grounded in a place where the rhythms and routines are relatively stable; where the rituals and even the buildings and their layout, don’t change dramatically from day to day.

At its best, the Church is a haven – a place of quiet amidst the chaos of life; a place of security and safety; a place of prayer and connection with the God who is beyond comprehension, and yet at the same time is inviting us into an intimate and loving relationship. There have been significant research findings which link connection to a spirituality with higher levels of mental health and wellbeing.

When things aren’t going right, and life seems pointless, pain-filled and insecure, faith becomes an anchor of hope. The Church potentially becomes a lighthouse – a beacon of hope for now and for eternity, shining the light of Christ into a world which is often dark and empty. Every time we leave the Mass, we are charged with carrying the light of Christ into the world. Every time we act with mercy and compassion, every time we are hospitable, every time we choose to serve another, we mirror Christ in our lives.

Grace Harwood


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