Australia Bushfires: Black Saturday and Memorial Days

Australia Bushfires: Black Saturday and Memorial Days


For the first time Melbourne’s early morning walkers on this Friday 13 February 2009, were confronted with smoke heralding an dark orange sunrise, as ember alerts were issued this morning for Healesville residents.
Funerals will be the next thing.We’re just holding our breath and waiting to see what the next 3 to 4 weeks are going to be like”.Whittlesea Presbyterian Minister, Rev Prentice. (Herald Sun).
St.Patrick’s Cathedral was packed (yesterday) for the grandly titled,Mass for the Repose of the Souls of the Victims of Bushfire and Spiritual Support of Those who are Suffering


Even for those who do not regularly use liturgies,this one has an integrity about it that demands some reflection. Coming out of the experience of churches and people in one of the bushfire areas, our congregations could only be helped by it.  It begins

Leader:Out of our shock and fear
People:We cry to you O Lord
Leader:Out of our disbelief and denial
People:We cry to you O Lord
Leader:Out of our grief and sadness
People:We cry to you,O Lord. 

The readings come from:  Job 7:1-4,6-7, Lamentations 3:17-26,  Psalm 34 (responsively)or 146 (147), Matthew 11:25-30. 

And concludes with a prayer for those present which begins:

Hold our hands, Lord
Walk us through the painand the valley of our sorrows.
Hold on to us when we are too afraid
to think about the future.

While there were difficulties yesterday, its on the VCC site now: 

Paul Cliff’s poem, which won the 2007 Two Fires Festival Poetry Competition, begins: 

“The bush-brigade in butter-yellow fire-suits
lolls against their truck with folded arms
coolly watching the dribbling red, tip-toeing the heath-ridge towards them
slow-burning,tippling upward right-to-left,
like an artful sketch in poured napalm. 

and concludes 

A tangle of snowgums at their back forming a languorous,balletic mass:
dumb blondes,staring wanly back as the fire ankle-bites towards them,
and oblivious of any conceivable danger to themselves.
As if drifting inviolable above it all,
rather than being the dangerous fuel they are”.

C.Paul Cliff ( 


Prayer of Fr Mychal Judge OFM
Lord, lead me where you want me to go.
Let me meet who you want me to meet.
Tell me what you want me to say
And keep me out of your way. Amen.
–  Fr Mychal Judge (1933-2001), Franciscan Priest, Chaplain to New York Fire
Department, first casualty of World Trade Centre disaster, New York,