On a beautiful spring Sunday morning in October, a small group of people from different walks of life gathered at Brown Hill Creek Reserve in Mitcham for a unique spiritual experience—a Mass in the bush and a spiritual walk.
The morning began at 8am with a short prayer, following which the group embarked on a gentle hike through the Mitcham waterways. Surrounded by lush greenery and the soothing sounds of nature, participants followed a path that would lead them to moments of introspection and spiritual connection.
The focal point of the journey was the use of the Caritas Australia ‘Walking with God’ resources which provided a framework for prayer and reflection.
As they walked in silence, reflecting on the prompts shared, the walkers found themselves drawn into a world of quiet contemplation. The rustling leaves, the babbling stream, and the chirping birds served as a harmonious backdrop to their thoughts and reflections. Each step felt like a step closer to inner peace and spiritual awakening.
The journey eventually led the group to a lush green clearing in the valley where Father Justin Durai Raj CP, a Passionist priest, stood ready to celebrate Mass. The stump of a giant Stone Pine tree planted in 1891 and knocked down in a 2018 storm, served as a makeshift altar, and the participants took their seats on the forest floor and logs.
“It’s so special that this ancient tree, one of the original ‘seven pines’, of which only four remain, is remembered once again this morning as we use its stump as an altar. That’s so respectful, so special,” said Ron Bellchambers, a participant and Brownhill Creek Association Community Engagement officer.
The Mass itself, held amidst nature, was a deeply moving experience. The magpies, ducks and koalas provided a melodious choir and the nearby stream added its gentle hymn.
“Communion, taken amidst these serene surroundings, felt profoundly spiritual. It was a moment of communion not only with the divine but also with the natural world, a reminder of the interconnectedness of all life,” said another participant, visibly moved.
Following the Mass, the group gathered for refreshments. Conversations flowed freely over the cups of tea and coffee enjoyed with homemade nibbles like lemon and orange cakes and delicious cookies. As the participants shared their thoughts, experiences, and reflections from the walk and Mass, friendships were forged, and a sense of community blossomed.
The Mass in the bush and the moments of reflection left a deep impact on everyone present. “It was a reminder that amidst the chaos of the world, there are moments of stillness and spiritual connection waiting to be discovered — moments that rejuvenate the soul and reaffirm our place in the grand tapestry of existence,” said one participant.
Meanwhile, on Saturday October 7 a group of nine young people joined Sabrina Stevens, Caritas Australia’s youth coordinator, for an ecological spirituality walk in the Mitcham hills. Designed by Sabrina and supported by the Catholic Office for Youth and Young Adults, the walk aimed to connect people to the wonder and awe of God’s creation through prayer.Jump to next article