A club for people that like reading or want to get back into it
What happens on the last Sunday night of each month? The parish book club.
Suggested by Julian, the very first book club was lead by Allan. A dozen parishioners gathered. To get things rolling they shared brief details of what they have been reading.
Michael finds that most of what he reads is on the internet. It’s immediate and pretty much everything is there. If you have an interest or question, through web-sites and videos a mass of material is easy to find.
Theresa reads the Gospels. With Chinese as her first language reading in English is not always easy. However, reading the Gospels, Theresa feels the presence of the Holy Spirit. The Gospels come alive on the page.
Across the book club there are thriller and murder readers, history readers and papal document readers.
The comment was made that with so much written about our faith it is hard to sift through it all to find what speaks to us. Julian had generously bought a host of books that have spoken to him. Books that have been a complete joy in the midst of hard times. Books that have opened up new revelations.
Is there a book that has stood out for you as pure inspiration? Maybe there is a book that has challenged you. Share what you’ve been reading at the parish book club. Or, maybe it has been a while since you had a really good read. It is interesting to hear what other people have been reading, reason to get back into reading.
Feel free to join in on the book club. It is held on the last Sunday of each month at 6pm, after Mass, at Holy Cross.
HOW TO WRITE A HOMILY
Fr Paul comments that the biggest part of his week can be preparing his Sunday homily. He aims for 900 words and ensures it is tightly timed.
The Catechism talks of the magisterium of the pastors of the Church in talking on moral matters. In preaching there is an emphasis on illuminating theology and spirituality to ensure that from generation to generation the guidance and virtues of our faith in Christ are passed on and that we continue to be drawn to charity.
Of all his work as a priest Fr Paul finds preaching a highlight.
No homily will please everyone. In passing the faith on from generation to generation some try to dress it up, others try to skirt around the sides almost hiding its truth in order to find popularity. Fr Paul likes to go straight to the point of the Gospels. He doesn’t see the need to dress up or skirt around, he aims to hit bulls eye every time.
Some people like a quick Sunday Mass, some people are in no hurry and don’t want anything rushed. Fr Paul asks people to think about how they use their time during the week. Giving an hour a week to Sunday Mass and being open to whatever it might deliver might not be so hard.
Before leaving for New Zealand Fr Paul was told that his ministry would be one of maintaining the faith. Having been here for a year he says it has been different to what he had been expecting. There is much opportunity to grow the faith.
Like a good knife, we need to keep our faith sharp and we need to use it regularly, least it become blunt and rusty.
Do you like to read? Here are some great books you might like to try.
Occupations - The pictures in this book for each saint are full of hidden clues about the saint. Read about the saint and what they did then find the clues to learn more about them. The book will help you see in the lives of the saints what sort of job you might like to do.
Lion Treasury of Children’s Prayers- this book is great way to pray with mum and dad. Good times to pray with them are before going to school, dinner time and bedtime.
The Beginner's Bible - this version of the Bible has all the great stories of the Bible with helpful pictures. It is easy to read and will get you thinking about all sorts of important things
REMEMBERING THE INFLUENZA PANDEMIC
1918 was the year of the Influenza Pandemic. This is the same illness in several countries at the same time. In May a new strain of influenza swept through Europe. It was called the Spanish Flu because, in May 1918, King Alfonso XIII caught the Flu and became seriously ill. It was international news. He survived his illness but the label stuck.
The second wave reached New Zealand at the end of September, early October. A number of people, mainly school children and the elderly, caught a weak strain of the Flu. Military camps and boarding schools were the most affected. There were few deaths and the patients generally recovered after a week’s illness. The Wellington Mayor John P Luke approached the Health Dept for advice as he wanted to prepare the city in case the flu got worse. The Health Dept told him it was none of his business.
Then came the third wave of the Flu in early November. This wave was much more serious. On 8th November there was a premature announcement of the Armistice and in many towns people gathered to celebrate. Then on 12 November the real armistice was celebrated with dancing in the streets all over the country amid large spontaneous crowds of revelers. New Zealand was experiencing an unusually cold and unsettled Spring. November 12th was cold, windy and showery. So coughing and sneezing in crowds was common. These were fertile grounds for spreading the disease.
People who caught the Flu became very ill very quickly though it appears that those who had caught it earlier had immunity to this wave. The patients suffered headaches, a high fever often to 104 degrees, sweats, chest pains and coughing. Many of them experienced long nose bleeds and then recovered. Others developed delirium or pneumonia which led to death. If people in a house were ill they hung a white cloth, usually a towel, at the front door or at the gate as the sign that help was needed. Scouts answered this sign to hear what was needed. Adult Volunteers then delivered medicines or groceries or soup from the Soup kitchens set up to feed the sick. Where possible, volunteer nurses went into the homes of local people who caught the flu to nurse the patients and care for the families. Many volunteers became victims. The best treatment was to give aspirin, keep up fluid intake and frequently sponge the patients to lower their fever. Many single men in boarding houses died without help.
Wellington was in great difficulty. Many doctors and nurses were serving in the war. The Health Minister G W Russell and senior members from the Dept of Health had gone to Auckland where the Flu hit first to see what was happening. Many GPs were the first to get sick. Dr Matthew Holmes had been at Gallipoli. He was invalided home and worked as a GP here. He died at 42 having worked himself to collapse. Dr Barclay the Superintendent of Wellington Hospital began preparations to cope but was one of the first to fall ill seriously. Dr Watt, the senior Ministry of Health officer here was also very sick. Wellington had no medical leaders.
GPs and their nurses went from patient to patient travelling all over the city. The town Hall became the centre to dispense cough medicine and prescriptions were filled there. Temporary hospitals were set up in Wellington such as the one at St Patrick’s College in Cambridge Tce. This hospital was set up in the boarding school premises after the Marist priests had sent the students home. Here volunteer nurses cared for the seriously ill patients, 40 died. The same system was used at Wellington College where 82 died. The Public Hospital was overwhelmed by patients. The high density pop meant increased flu spread. Hairdressers, tram conductors, shop assistants caught the flu quickly. People who recovered were wobbly and shaky and weak for weeks and needed a long convalescence. On 12thNovember the Government ordered all schools, offices, pubs, exhibitions and movie theatres closed as a precaution against spreading the disease. Inhalation chambers were set up round the city. These helped public morale but were useless in fighting the disease. Cough mixture was popular because it had alcohol in it and pubs were closed.
Here in Kilbirnie Sr Mary Chanel of St Catherine’s began her work in the epidemic by visiting the local homes where people had the flu. When St Patrick’s hospital opened she worked there, walking there and back each day. In November, while nursing flu victims there, she caught the flu and died on November 30th.. Her death was described in the NZ Tablet newspaper as ‘she fell victim to overstrain brought on by her strenuous labours to alleviate the sufferings of influenza victims. On Thursday she suffered heart failure and pneumonia set in. She died at 11pm on Saturday’. Sr Chanel was buried at Karori cemetery after a solemn Requiem Mass at St Patrick’s Church in Kilbirnie at 9am. Sr Mary Chanel was born in Ireland and emigrated with her parents to Marlborough. There she attended the Sisters of Mercy convent school in Blenheim before becoming a nun. She was a Sister of Mercy for nearly 30 years, teaching at Lower Hutt, Newtown and Kilbirnie schools and had been in Kilbirnie for seven years. She was known as a sympathetic woman who was always ready to help those in distress and sorrow.
In October and November the death rate in Kilbirnie and Lyall Bay was 15.6% with a population of just 2,237 people, the highest death rate in the Wellington area.
How did the dangerous Flu reach New Zealand? In late October the Niagara docked in Auckland. The Prime Minister William Massey and Finance Minister Sir Joseph Ward were on board returning from London. The ship stopped in Vancouver and San Francesco in late September before the Flu arrived there, Honolulu for a day but no flu there. By the time the ship got to Suva there were 83 mild cases on board, mainly crew. Three days out from Auckland the Captain reported 12 serious cases. It was suggested the ship be quarantined but the Health Dept said no as flu was already rampant in Auckland. Passengers dispersed throughout the country. Most of the sick passengers had recovered so passengers were just sprayed as they disembarked. Twelve crew were isolated in hospital. A week later 3 crew died but they were not the first deaths in Auckland. Many people later blamed the third strain on this ship’s arrival. But 2 large troopships also arrived that week and hundreds of returning servicemen went home to all parts of the country. The troopships’ arrival was not publicised because of wartime restrictions. It is possible that many of the returned servicemen carried the Flu with them.
Here in New Zealand nearly 9,000 people died in 6 weeks. Those least likely to catch it were children 5 – 15 years old. The most likely to catch it were adults 20 – 45 with the highest number of deaths in the 25-34 age bracket. The total number of European New Zealanders who died was about 6413, the Maori deaths totalled about 2160. Six hundred and five soldiers in New Zealand camps died and an unknown number of NZ soldiers also died overseas. These numbers are approximate as not all who died of the Flu had that as a cause on their death certificates. Shops finally opened in mid December. Schools didn’t open till February. This was an event that altered the population of New Zealand for ever.
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