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Over 130 attended the St Andrews Annual Receveur Mass celebrated last Sunday by Fr Paul Ghanem together with Fr Cauchi of Malabar Parish.  Fr Paul’s homily is published below.

Randwick City Council generously sponsored the marquee and a Sausage Sizzle was provided by the Sydney Seaside Lions Club with drinks from Friends of the Laperouse Museum(FOLM). The Consul General for France, Nicolas Croizer and local    Federal and State MPs Matt Thistlethwaite and Michael Daley and FOLM President, Carol Abela, laid wreaths. Councillors Carlos da Rocha and Danny Said represented Randwick City Council.  Members of Fr Pat Hurley’s congregation at Hoxton Park also attended.  As the former priest at St Andrews, Fr Pat was responsible for the Mass from 1988 to 2002. Photos below include Consul General, Nicolas Croizer with Fr Paul; Receveur Mass organiser Lee Leo with Fr Paul; Seaside Lions at work; the choir and violinist.

 

 

 

 

 

RECEVEUR MASS HOMILY 2018

Fr Receveur died in 1788. Commemorative masses have been held on this site since 1879.

But what exactly is that we celebrate on this 30th anniversary of the Parish of St Andrew’s hosting this mass?

We celebrate the birthplace of Catholicism in Australia

We celebrate the life of Laperouse, a skilled navigator and Captain and talented French seaman.

We celebrate Fr Receveur a skilled botanist, geologist, a chemist, meteorologist and philologist (meaning linguist). A priest who likely shared in the first Mass celebrated on this land.

We celebrate Fr Receveur, the first priest and likely the first scientist buried on Australian soil.   

We celebrate our nations thankfulness to the good people of France and all she has gifted our nation.

But why do I celebrate on this day? But WHAT do I celebrate on this day? I am neither an historian or a diplomat. What I am is what Pere Receveur was, a Franciscan and a priest. What I am is what Receveur was, a migrant (my parents came from Lebanon) from a distant land. What I am is what Receveur was, someone for whom despite all their learning felt a call to use that calling for the benefit of others.

You see slowly I am starting to understand that who we are is not as important as the direction in which we are heading.

Allow me to explain.

Laperouse and his crew knew that they were heading South they had to prepare for the journey, and having Receveur as part of his crew was an important part of that journey. But do we know what direction we are headed in and are we prepared for the journey and who do we take along? For Laperouse it was about discovery and hope.

What about us, in what direction are we headed? Well, here we are. All of us sitting in this beautiful place together praising God as a community of faith. Isn’t it wonderful. Yes, here we are. You are facing me and I am facing you – that’s our direction.

And, while we are here none of us is doing anything that we can feel ashamed or embarrassed about. While we sit here our consciences are clear, our intentions are good and we feel a sense of rightness, a sense of good. No gossip, no irritating in-laws, no tempting internet sites, no TAB, Star City. We can just look at Father Paul (a Franciscan like Receveur) and be good for one whole hour!

Only one problem, in half an hour or so we’ll all be heading out, heading back to family and friends.

Who knows what sort of mischief we are likely to get ourselves into then!

This first Sunday of Lent is an opportunity to look at the direction in which our life is heading, not while we are here in this lovely space as but where we are heading in the world as a human people. Being human is tough. But, being Christian and human can be tougher still. Not just man made laws to follow but  God’s laws too.

Today’s readings remind us that we belong to God, we have a covenant, an agreement. Have we been tempted away from that covenant? Do we use our God given talents to further goodness in the world, or to further ourselves.

Once we give in to temptation we aren’t fully satisfied and go on to lust after something else. We find ourselves chained to a treadmill of craving for one thing after another. It’s an addictive process.

As I reread Ed Duyker’s story of Pere Receveur I was reminded of the goodness of the expedition. It was an expedition pointing outwards, an expedition focused on knowledge and learning to better the world.

You see slowly I am starting to understand that who we are is not as important as the direction in which we are heading. Which direction are you headed in?

I began by asking the WHY and WHAT we celebrate today. We celebrate the birthplace of Catholicism in Australia

We celebrate the life of La Perouse, a skilled navigator and Captain and talented French seaman.

We celebrate Fr Receveur a skilled botanist, geologist, a chemist, meteorologist and linguist.

We celebrate Fr Receveur, the first priest and likely the first scientist buried on Australian soil.

We celebrate our nations thankfulness to the good people of France and all she has gifted our nation.

The common word in all this is “CELEBRATE” we celebrate the life of a man who was always pointing in the right direction. And in doing so at the start of Lent, we look to the heavens to ensure that we too are heading in the right direction too.

Report from Frank Carleton on the earlier  Tridentine Mass:

31St ANNUAL PERE RECEVEUR COMMEMORATION, Sunday, 18th February, 2018
The first annual commemoration for the bicentenary of Père Receveur’s death occurred on Sunday , 14th February, 1988. It took the form of the Latin Office of the Dead (Officium defunctorum) chanted by a Gregorian schola. This Office was mandatory at funerals in the navy of the ancien régime* and may be presumed to have been said by the Abbé Mongez as well as a Requiem Mass some time after the death of Père Receveur on 17th February, 1788.

Thw annual Commemoration has occurred every year since 1988.
The 2018 annual Commemoration took the form as usual of the ancient traditional Latin rite of Mass which was universal in 1788 and the only rite known to all members of the Laperouse Expedition. Following the mandate of the royal Ordonnance of 1765 for the Marine that chaplains were obliged to say Mass on Sundays and feast days except when bad weather prevented it can be inferred that multiple Masses were celebrated by the two priests of the Laperouse Expedition at Botany Bay up until the death of the Conventual Franciscan friar. His death would have occasioned a Requiem Mass more likely aboard the Boussole than ashore before the interment as that Mass could probably have been followed by the crews of both ships if moored sufficiently close together.

Mass in the traditional rite was celebrated this year on the verandah of the Laperouse Museum by Father Erik Ladner SSPX who preached the occasional sermon before a greatly increased congregation since 2017. Confessions were heard before and during the Mass and the ashes from Ash Wednesday were imposed on those who had not yet received them. In 1788 Ash Wednesday fell on February 6th eleven days before Père Receveur’s death. A garland of flowers was placed on Père Receveur’s grave.

Frank Carleton
Convenor,
PERE RECEVEUR COMMEMORATION COMMITTEE
• Jean Boudriot Le Vaisseau de 74 canons: traité pratique d’art naval. L’équipage, la conduit du vaisseau. Grenoble: Editions des Quatre Seigneurs, 1977 p.156

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