Homilies

Mass for the Ordination to the Diaconate of three Divine Word Missionaries

Mass for the Ordination to the Diaconate of three Divine Word Missionaries

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE ORDINATION TO DIACONATE  OFSANG BOK SON, FERDYNANDUS LERING AND KASMIR NEMA, DIVINE WORD MISSIONARES,AT THE SACRED HEART CHURCH, PRESTON, ON SATURDAY 26 MARCH 2011 AT 6PM.INTRODUCTIONDear Brothers and Sisters,I am honoured to be with Father Tim Norton, Provincial, Father Bill Burt, Parish Priest, and my Divine Word friends, as we celebrate the Ordination to Diaconate of John Bosco Sang Bok Son, Eddy Lering and Kasmir Nema.This time of Lent is a joyful contemplation of the implications of our baptism.  Today with the remarkable missionary...

Mass for the Final Profession of Sr Anila Isaac RSM

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SACRED HEART CHURCH, SANDRINGHAM, FOR THE FINAL PROFESSION OF SISTER ANILA ISAAC, R.S.M., ON SATURDAY 26 MARCH 2011 AT 11AM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Family Members, Friends of Sister Anila and Sisters of Mercy,

I am honoured to be with you to participate in the Final Religious Profession of Sister Anila Isaac as a Sister of Mercy and especially to welcome her parents, Isaac and Hannah Gill.  This religious commitment reflects the openness to God which she professed on the day of her baptism, and which she has lived with increasing desire and fervour with a joy that comes from a personal friendship with Jesus Christ, accompanied by the prayers of Mary, our Mother of Mercy.

On this day of Profession we rejoice humbly in the wonderful gifts which God has given to those who profess religious vows in his Church, as we call to mind our sins and once again prepare for the coming of Easter when we too will profess the love of Jesus Christ in renewing our baptismal promises.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we come in prayer and rejoicing to support Sister Anila Isaac, who makes a lifetime profession of love of Jesus Christ and his Church in the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy.

Catherine McAuley was born on 29th September 1779 in Dublin and by the time of her death in 1841 at sixty-three years of age she had founded the Sisters of Mercy which grew to be the largest single Order of Sisters in the world.

Catherine transmitted her great faith in Christ and compassion for the poor from her father and from her mother; good manners, courtesy and culture.  What distinguishes the Mercy Order is a fresh blending of the contemplative spirit with a compassionate heart.

Here in Australia we are lucky that a friend and associate of Catherine McAuley, Sister Ursula Frayne came first to Perth and then to Melbourne in March 1857.  Thence many foundations flourished.  After initial work in teaching, nursing and social welfare, and at the time of the Second Vatican Council, a great variety of works were attempted in the spirit of compassion for the poor and active contemplation.  The Mercy mission in Pakistan proved to be a tremendous outreach in service of the people of that country.

Sister Anila who was born in Rawalpindi received her education there, taught at the Presentation Convent and Saint Mary’s High School in Rawalpindi, was Principal of Saint Philip’s Primary School and was involved in the Mercy works in Pakistan.  Since September 2009 Sister Anila has worked with McAuley Community Services for Women, Regina Coeli Community North Melbourne, in the Learning Support Department of the Academy of Mary Immaculate, while at the same time, already having Master of Arts and Bachelor of Education, she is completing her Master of Education and Master of Theology.

We are indeed privileged that Sister Anila is bringing her considerable gifts to Melbourne as part of the works of the Sisters of Mercy.  Difficulties in her own country can mean that like some of the first Sisters of Mercy here who stood out in the country with nowhere to lay their head, Sister Anila is a reminder that the commitment to the Gospel is a total openness to the will of God with regards to one’s whole person and activity.  The vows of chastity are a complete consecration to Christ, the Giver of all good gifts, of poverty to placing everything at the Lord’s disposal, and obedience to be ready to respond generously to the imperative call of the apostolate.

As we celebrate her Profession may Sister Anila generously embrace the love of Christ, publicly professing it as life-giving for the world and embrace, as did Catherine McAuley, the love of prayer and the care of those who are poorest and most needy. 

Our Lady of Mercy, pray for us.

+ Den

Mass for the blessing of St Mary's Church, Kinglake

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE BLESSING OF SAINT MARY’S CHURCH, KINGLAKE, ON SUNDAY 27 MARCH 2011 AT 2.30PM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this third Sunday of Lent when the Gospel recalls the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman whom he initiates into the way of faith leading true adorers to the Father, we come with joy and hope to bless the new Saint Mary’s Church.

Over the years of the three churches on this site your example has been one of tremendous faith and constancy.  God and you alone know what you have suffered; all of us, I think, see this as a tremendous moment of help so close as it is to the feast of the Annunciation to Mary that the Lord is coming to save his people.

As disciples of the kingdom, as we sprinkle this church with holy water as a sign of blessing, comfort and hope, let us open our hearts, as Mary did, as true servants of the Lord.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“Give me living water that I may never thirst again.”

I am honoured to be with you, dear brothers and sisters, as we re-open Saint Mary’s Church as a reminder that God’s love and presence are constantly with us.

Many of you will remember that Jews and Samaritans never mixed.  Jesus went to meet with the Samaritan woman as an indication of the universal mission of Jesus and of us in the Church to reach out to all kinds of people, to bring them to encounter the Gospel.  Jesus’, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me”, is a reminder that he has a mission in which he invites us to participate.  This is only possible if we are reconciled with him and with his perfect fulfilment of what God the Father wills.

There is a telling lesson for us in our times when Jesus meets with a woman who is not only from the wrong nationality, but also by Christian standards was a woman of immoral life.  She came to draw water when few people would brave the noon day sun.  Through her encounter with Jesus she begins to drink the water of life.

We notice that Jesus meets her not in the superficial pleasantries about weather, sport or things that interest us, but in the deep meeting of her own sin and facing the reality of its consequences.  She was humble enough to be willing to be exposed to the truth, was graced with the desire to repent and to invite Jesus into those places in her life where he alone can make a difference.

This deep meeting between Jesus and the woman is a reminder of the level at which Jesus wishes to meet us and to meet our lives.  He offers us hope, as he offered the woman in the Gospel transformation.

Once again, I wish to pay tribute to the generosity and faith which support all of you, particularly in the face of terrible losses of family, loved ones and property.  Yet we realise that Saint Peter’s invitation to show to the world the reason for the hope that is in us means that we come together as people wanting to do our best to build the kingdom of God and its goodness and justice and virtue in people’s hearts.  So this building is a sign both of the total openness of Mary to the Lord’s plan and also of our readiness to see what we can become.

I congratulate Father O’Neill and all of you, not merely for pressing ahead with the reconstruction of the church, but for your own practical works that you have done to bring us all to this day.  I pray that this day will be a beacon of hope to the people of Kinglake, that they will help us to know that the Lord and his Blessed Mother are with us in our tears and trials, but also especially in this moment of hope and joy.  May Saint Mary’s lead us to love of Jesus, faithfulness to his plan, as today we entrust all our loved ones to the One who loved us in a way beyond all telling.  Jesus wants to meet each of us to offer encouragement and hope, the livin

Third Sunday of Lent

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 27 MARCH 2011 AT 11AM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s Gospel recalls the meeting of Jesus with the Samaritan woman, whom he initiates into the way of faith, leading true adorers to the Father.

In the Real Presence of Jesus when we come to the Church and prepare and in the Eucharistic celebration, Jesus invites us to acknowledge that we are sinners and gives us the means and the encouragement to overcome our own particular weakness. 

Let us remember those ways in which we fail God and others and resolve with his help to make our lives new.

HOMILY

“Give me living water that I may never thirst again.”

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Many of you will remember that Jews and Samaritans never mixed.  Jesus went to meet with the Samaritan woman as an indication of the universal mission of Jesus and of us in the Church to reach out to all kinds of people, to bring them to encounter the Gospel.  Jesus’, “My food is to do the will of the one who sent me”, is a reminder that he has a mission in which he invites us to participate.  This is only possible if we are reconciled with him and with his perfect fulfilment of what God the Father wills.

There is a telling lesson for us in our times when Jesus meets with a woman who is not only from the wrong nationality, but also by Christian standards was a woman of immoral life.  She came to draw water when few people would brave the noon day sun.  Through her encounter with Jesus she begins to drink the water of life.

We notice that Jesus meets her not in the superficial pleasantries about weather, sport or things that interest us, but in the deep meeting of her own sin and facing the reality of its consequences.  She was humble enough to be willing to be exposed to the truth, was graced with the desire to repent and to invite Jesus into those places in her life where he alone can make a difference.

There are many people who struggle today with the teaching of Jesus.  The Church will always continue to put before us the ideals of the Gospel, supported by the natural and divine law.  Through her priests the Church wants to reach into the depth of our soul, so that we will there meet Jesus and be encouraged in our struggle, not to give up, to know the hope of a life made new, the living water of baptism, the purifying forgiveness of the beautiful sacrament of reconciliation and the power of Jesus to transform us if we are willing to do so. 

We may not know how to do it or how to lay aside our burdens and sin.  We may be too ashamed to tell anyone and yet it is Jesus who can unlock the pain and suffering and struggle that we have to face.

Jesus, give me the living water which comes from your heart.  Help me to adore you in truth, in your sacrament.  Strengthen me to take up again the journey of your way, trusting that you will stay with me as you stayed with the disciples on the road to Emmaus.  In your sacrament of the Eucharist you are really present here and nourish me.

+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

Address at the Youth Gathering for the visit of the relics of St Don Bosco, North Brunswick

ADDRESS GIVEN BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT THE YOUTH GATHERING AT ST MARGARET MARY’S CHURCH, NORTH BRUNSWICK, FOR THE VISIT OF THE RELICS OF DON BOSCO ON SATURDAY 19 MARCH 2011 AT 2PM.

My dear young Friends,

I have always found Don Bosco a warm and encouraging person.  My friendship with the Salesians would go back to what my father told me nearly fifty-five years ago when he used help at the Eucharistic Festival at Sunbury.  Don Bosco and his Salesians have always taken a positive view of young people and seem to have remarkable success in the encouragement which they provide.

All this of course is because of Don Bosco’s real secret.  In 1841 he had gone to Turin and noticed that many of the young people coming to the city were orphans without families and that is why he established an oratory, a place of prayer, which developed as a place to play and make friends, a school, an employment service and a home.

Don Bosco found jobs for his boys, called on them at work to ensure they were working well and were being treated properly.  He visited their homes and found them places to stay.  He put all this work under the patronage of Saint Francis de Sales, a saint known for his remarkable patience and gentleness.

Don Bosco’s gifts have had a remarkable attractiveness, even fascination, for modern Christians.  He seemed to be able to know the future of individuals, what they were thinking, to cure sickness. 

When he was nine John had a dream of himself with a crowd of local boys; many were fighting and swearing.  He told them to stop and then started to fight himself; this made no difference.  Suddenly a stranger, a noble gentleman, appeared, telling John he needed to use kindness not blows to win over these young people.  The man said he would give him a teacher; a majestic lady showed up.  She instructed John to watch and the boys turned into wild animals.  This is your field of work she told John, make yourself humble, strong and energetic so that you will be able to do for my children what you will see now and the beasts turned into gentle lambs.

In time he came to understand that it was by gentleness, respect for the dignity of people, and walking with them that God’s purposes would be achieved.

Later whenever Don Bosco related his dreams they fascinated his listeners; not only was there usually an interesting storyline, and Don Bosco was a great story teller, but from the experience they also knew that these dreams revealed truths about themselves or about the future.

His memoirs and the records of the Salesians recall many moments when Don Bosco met with young people, worked with them and helped them to grow spiritually to the saving of their souls. 

In visiting Salesian schools I have had a particular experience of the remarkable relationship between Salesians and the young people with whom they teach and work.  They have always entered fully into respecting and working and recreating with young people as John Bosco did. 

Today as we are in the presence of Don Bosco’s relics, may we know that his belief in young people inspires us to discover that we are all unique and valuable, to see what we can become and to rejoice in the presence and gifts of those around us.

Let us pray together the Lord’s Prayer and the prayer of John Bosco.  Let us pray:

O God who raised up the priest, Saint John Bosco,
as a father and teacher of the young,
grant, we pray, that, a flame with the same fire of love,
we may seek out souls and serve you alone.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

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