Hunters Hill

Emeritus Mayor Richard Quinn urges residents to respond to Pope Francis’ haunting and lone address

Thousands of Christians across The Weekly Times territory watched an extraordinary and haunting coronavirus address by Pope Francis on Friday as he stood alone under darkened skies on the steps of a deserted St Peter’s Basilica.
Hunters Hill Emeritus Mayor Richard Quinn, pictured right, was among the many Catholics who watched the Pope’s address and he stressed his desire for people to respond to the papal message by showing care and kindness to isolated neighbours.
“It was quite an extraordinary address from Pope Francis and quite courageous because he would certainly fall into the vulnerable category himself, all the more so with impact of the virus on the City of Rome,” Emeritus Mayor Quinn said.
“I wholeheartedly welcome the Pope’s appeal that we should reach out to one another and help one another, especially in Hunters Hill which has a significant community of aged and frail people.
“Even small gestures, like leaving a letter in a neighbour’s letterbox offering help means so much and helps break down social isolation.”
(8hm s/c)
The Emeritus Mayor recently stood against Lane Cove MP Anthony Roberts in the local state election campaign and Mr Quinn mentioned that Mr Roberts phoned him (where he works at St Joey’s Catholic College) during the first weeks of the virus outbreak.
“Mr Roberts phoned me offering to help supply hand sanitisers for our students and that kind offer is very much appreciated,” he said.
A Weekly Mass from the Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Hunters Hill is available on YouTube via the link:   bit.ly/hnomhuntershill
Pope Francis appeared frail as he gave his address in St Peter’s Square alongside the 15th Century Miraculous Crucifix of San Marcelo, which had been paraded through the streets of Rome during the Black Death and is believed to have eventually helped save the eternal city.
With thousands of people dying in Rome and other Italian cities, the Holy Father spoke about “weeks of darkness” as storm clouds gathered over his head and a heavy mist descended on the darkened Basilica Square.   
“For weeks now it has been evening and thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by,” the Pope said.
“We feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. 
“We find ourselves afraid and lost.”
There have been reports from Italy and Spain of hundreds of isolated elderly people and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions dying alone and without care.
“One of the things that hurts us and our families most when we hear it said is: Do you not care about me?,” the Pope said.
“It is a phrase that wounds and unleashes storms in our hearts and it would have shaken Jesus too, because he, more than anyone, cares about us.”
The Pope said the virus exposed the vulnerability of people who thought themselves safe.
“The storm exposes our vulnerability and uncovers those false and superfluous certainties around which we have constructed our daily schedules, our projects, our habits and priorities,” he said.
“In this storm, the façade of those stereotypes with which we camouflaged our egos, always worrying about our image, has fallen away, uncovering once more that blessed common belonging, of which we cannot be deprived: our belonging as brothers and sisters.”
He ended his address with a blessing.
“From this colonnade that embraces Rome and the whole world, may God’s blessing come down upon you as a consoling embrace.”

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