Document 16621

DEC 2011
Heart Beat
Pregnancy Assistance Frankston
PH: 03 9770 6226
We Care
Fr Denis’ reflection
PAF’s latest stats
President’s Christmas report
Thoughts from a volunteer
Christmas customs in Vietnam
PAF’s 3rd anniversary retreat
Congratulations to the mums who
welcomed their newborn babies -
Baby Births September November 2011
A boy
Lillee and Liam
PAF and Christmas: The Nativity of the Lord shines its light on PAF
St. Augustine boldly said of
Christmas, "God came to share our
humanity so that humanity might
become God."
Christmas is about a wondrous
exchange of natures: God takes
on himself our frail humanity,
though without its sin, and we
become partakers of the very
nature of God. The joy of
Christmas is not just that a child is
born, but that a whole new
humanity is born. This new
humanity is not disconnected from
the old, but is radically renewed
and redeemed. Just as in Adam,
all die, so in Christ shall all be
made alive.
Christmas is about the destiny of
the human person. In the Book of
Revelation, is the promise of the
Risen Christ to His faithful disciples:
"I will give the victor the right to sit
with me on my throne" (Rev. 3:21).
Thrones, at the time of the New
Testament, characteristically
allowed more than one person to
sit on them. In heaven, we will not
only see God's throne, or gather
around God's throne; rather, you
and I have a place on the very
throne of God!
Now, some want to give Christmas
a totally "this-worldly" meaning:
kindness, goodness, the
importance of family, joy, and
giving; all good things, but the
Christmas message goes far
beyond this, and talks about
where we are ultimately going,
and what kind of destiny awaits us.
Moreover, our faith teaches us that
this destiny begins even now. "He
who believes has eternal life" (John
offered through the birth of a
child, and through our birth into His
life by our faith. Christmas illumines
the value of every human person.
In the light of the manger, we see
every human person as one who is
called to share the Divine Nature;
called to sit with Christ on His
Is it possible for someone to
accept the Christmas message,
and then to turn the other way
when human life is despised and
destroyed? Can a Christian stand
idly by when those same human
beings are thrown aside by
abortion, or whose dignity is
diminished by euthanasia?
The Christmas hymn, "O Holy
Night", sums up this lesson in the
words, "Truly He taught us to love
one another; His law is love, and
His Gospel is peace. Chains shall
He break, for the slave is our
brother, and in His name, all
oppression shall cease."
Let’s not forget the depth of the
Christmas message and its
implications for what it means for
our humanity and its implications
for the work and witness of PAF. A
child is born, and His birth immerses
us in the defence and celebration
of life!
Fr. Denis Stanley
Stop Press!
Fundraising Sausage Sizzle
6/12/11 raised $912
Christmas is about the Gospel of
Life; about the hope of eternal life
P r e g n a n c y
A s s i s t a n c e
F r a n k s t o n
PAF Statistics: 1st September to 1st December
48 phone enquiries which were pregnancy related and some of these were for post abortion support.
97 visits to the centre for support were mainly pregnancy related: for emotional and material support
and mothers (sometimes fathers) coming in to show their new babies.
21 pregnancy tests
It is exciting for everyone when one of ‘our young women’ visits with her newborn, and a great
opportunity to have a photo shoot of the proud family with their new baby.
We have had several mothers coming in to breast feed, or to warm a bottle and change their baby's
nappy. As the babies grow, the mothers may return for a supply of larger clothes or for an emergency
supply of nappies or baby formula. Several of the younger mothers call in quite regularly to see us
when they are passing to tell us about their baby’s progress.
President’s Christmas Report Wow! What an amazing first six months it’s been for
me as President.... Thank You, Lord, for holidays!
Things have certainly picked up as far as community
awareness of the PAF Centre goes. It seems that the
more people come to use our services and refer
others onto us who require our assistance, the
quicker the word spreads within the government
agency and hospital sides, as well.
Our team of volunteers is slowly growing and we
may be able to extend our opening hours in 2012 ...
watch this space! We are developing subcommittees to delegate the various areas of need:
House Committee; Fundraising Committee; Public
Relations Committee; New Mums’ Assistance Roster.
If any of these areas is your speciality please call the
Centre and leave a message. We promise to get
back to you. Many hands make light work!
Our dinner dance was a huge hit, both fun-raising
and fund-raising! The net profit was a very
creditable $4,040. We want next year’s dinner to
exceed this figure, so please think about getting a
table up from your church, your parish, family
group, or whatever group of people you think
would enjoy the fun!
This newsletter is a bumper Christmas edition for you
to explore; thanks to Ruth Hilton and Paul Caesar for
working on producing it ... and while we’re on the
subject, ‘Thank You’ to all the wonderful volunteers,
contributors, members and benefactors who have
supported our Centre throughout 2011. May the
Christ-child bless you and your loved ones over this
beautiful season of new life, so that we ALL come
back in 2012 ready to go bigger and better for His
greater glory.
Denise De Graaff
Some thoughts from a volunteer
After retiring last year I was determined to find another
purpose in my life and explored all the options in
volunteer work. I saw a notice in the Church Newsletter
about the opening of the Pregnancy Centre in Frankston
and thought that would be a good place to start.
At my first visit I was warmly welcomed and provided with
all the information about PAF and so I decided that kind
of work was going to be good for me. After 20 years
working in Finance, I knew I was an organised person with
good listening skills, so I felt confident that I could
contribute and help if I was needed.
I migrated to this country many years ago and was
without any support or contacts, so I was sometimes
struggling to raise my children. I had lost my first baby
and always wanted to be around children. I knew how
important it is for expectant mothers to have all the care,
understanding and support that they deserve. It was also
important for me to give something back to society, and
by doing this worthwhile work I felt there was more than
enough reward.
I enjoy the work at PAF and I’ve met many friends who,
like me, want to share their experience of life with those
who need it.
New mums appreciate our support and quite often pop
in to show off their new babies, and these are moments
of great joy.
Barbara Walker
P r e g n a n c y
A s s i s t a n c e
F r a n k s t o n
Christmas Customs in Vietnam
Vietnam is a Communist country, and so religion is suppressed; publicly, Christmas is suppressed. There are many
Catholic communities, however, who celebrate Christmas exuberantly! The Vietnamese people celebrate with energy,
bustle, excitement, noise, colour and a great sense of community, even though there is no exchange of gifts
Each Catholic parish consists of between three and five small communities containing between 1500 and 7000 souls. As
well as the small parishes with a small church building, there is a large parish church where Christmas celebrations also
take place. Everyone in the small communities goes to the large parish church to decorate it. One special custom is to
make a ‘gateway’ for the Christ Child to enter. Some of the decorations are constructed in the form of an archway,
consisting of letters cut from styrofoam, and painted bright colours. They spell out, in Vietnamese,’ Glory to God in the
Highest, and Peace to People of Good Will.’
On Christmas Eve there is the traditional Midnight Mass, which lasts from two to two and a half hours. Before that, scenes
from all parts of the Nativity are played out, culminating with a living Crib scene. Many carols are also sung before
midnight. Even the animals ‘cheer’ when the Christ Child is born; people make the noises of roosters and other birds,
cows and other animals. The celebrations include comedians, carol singing, playing music and dancing. Children don’t
go to bed early then get woken for Midnight Mass – they stay awake the whole evening!
A custom which causes much excitement is competitive camping, the idea being to see who can make the best
temporary shelter for Christmas Eve out of bamboo, trees, or other wood. There are prizes, but they are just for fun! A
week before Christmas every family makes a star with lights to hang on top of the house. Imagine Christmas Eve in the
Catholic community full with stars on every house looking like the night sky. Every family also makes a small decorated
crypt at home, containing the Nativity scene.
At 7am on Christmas Day, there is another Mass, before which the whole community marches from the Presbytery to the
Church, to the beating accompaniment of a massed drum band with up to fifty drummers, who have practised every
night for a month before. A choir also rehearses for more than a month, and when they sing, they are accompanied by
trumpets and other instruments. After mass on Christmas Day, everyone goes home via the market, where they buy
food for the day’s feasting; no-one prepares food beforehand.
In the days between Christmas and Epiphany, Mass is celebrated every morning and there are evening prayers, during
which people pray in front of the Crib.
Even on Christmas Day, however, the Communist education system stills holds exams, so sometimes, students do not feel
inspired to join in the celebrations. Some parishes are forbidden by the government to keep Christmas, and if they do
celebrate, the parish leaders are summoned by the local government officials for questioning.
Please give thanks for religious freedom in Australia; never take it for granted, and keep Vietnamese Christians in your
prayers; please pray for religious freedom in Vietnam.
Minh Tran, SFX Seminarian
PAF’s THIRD ANNIVERSARY Retreat Day - 4th October 2011
I can think of no better way to celebrate an anniversary than
through a Retreat! So on a cold Tuesday in October, guests,
volunteers and friends of PAF gathered at Our Lady of Lourdes
Church, Carrum, for a day of friendship and reflection. Opportunities to come together as a group are few and far
between, so this was a special time for meeting and praying
together. Our day began with the Rosary followed by Holy Mass
celebrated by Fr Gerard Dowling OAM. A beautiful and
thoughtful homily reassured me and answered the questions
racing through my mind – Are we doing enough? Are we
doing too much? Is this God’s work and where will all this lead? “Pray continually and never lose heart” were comforting and
wise words from Luke 18:1 with which Fr Dowling eased my
The saying of the Angelus announced 12 noon and after a
delicious lunch, our second guest speaker, Lynda Reid, assisted
us with our afternoon’s Lectio Divina session of peace and quietness and openness to God.
We ended the day by saying the “Litany for Life” and the words of the prayer were alive with answers to help me
along in my journey of life and faith. Thank you Fr Gregory Pritchard for inviting us to the church of Our Lady of Lourdes and Kevin Dwyer for his warm
and friendly welcome. Thank you to our special guests Fr Gerard Dowling OAM and Lynda Reid. It was a beautiful
Sue Hyde
P r e g n a n c y
A s s i s t a n c e
F r a n k s t o n
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Pregnancy Assistance Frankston
14 Young Street, Frankston Vic 3199
ABN 71 659 195 700
Thank you
for your support.
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