MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE WELCOMING OF THE WORLD YOUTH DAY CROSS AND ICON IN SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON FRIDAY, 25TH APRIL 2008 AT 6.00 P.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have just welcomed to Saint Patrick’s the World Youth Day Cross and Icon, powerful symbols of the limitless, redeeming love of our Saviour, and of the faithfulness of his Mother. We recognise the presence also of the Aboriginal Message Stick
In this Mass we will adore Jesus as our God. As we listen to God’s Word and pray with love beyond all telling in union with his Mother, let us ask the Lord above all that he will touch our hearts during this pilgrimage and lead us to allow the Cross to guide our life, to see where truth is found and united with Mary’s prayers to find true peace.
As we call to mind our sins, let us ask the Lord for pardon, light and strength to continue our journey.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Cross is the principal symbol of the reality of our Catholic faith. God so loved the world that he sought us out and when we were burdened by Original or personal sin he came to make the ultimate sacrifice – to die for love of us.
In the midst of insult and torment, when he was crucified like a criminal, Jesus was silent, except for very few words: “Father, forgive them. They do not know what they are doing.” And “Into your hands, Father, I commend my spirit.”
Mary, the Mother of Jesus, accompanied by the two other Marys, followed Jesus to his Cross, as she had followed him in life. She invites us to join her in a similar following.
Tonight is our opportunity to thank Jesus for his death, to see in this large wooden cross the life giving shadow of what Jesus did coming over our lives, giving them hope, so that we will offer hope and strength to others.
Since 1983 the Cross has travelled around the world spending the last year before each World Youth Day in the country where World Youth Day will next be celebrated. Since last July the Cross and Icon have journeyed around Australia, accompanied by the Aboriginal Message Stick, highlighting the message of faith that they bring. Since 2003 the Icon of Our Lady, salvation of the Roman people, accompanies the Cross.
It is a way when together, as we receive the Cross and Icon from the Diocese of Sale as the young people and the Bishop of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, we are united in our journey to World Youth Day and in the invitation which Pope Benedict has given us: “You will be my witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes.”
From today until 11th May when we will hand the Cross to the Archdiocese of Hobart at Station Pier, before embarking on the Spirit of Tasmania, the Cross and Icon will be present in our public places, our parishes and communities. It will provide inspiration that God’s love is with us, his care touches us, his inspiration and invitation to faithfulness, as Mary was faithful, is with us at every moment.
Pope Benedict recently stressed that we are saved by hope because of the reality of all that God has done and continues to do in our lives.
World Youth Day 2008 is an invitation to every young person here to say ‘yes’ to Jesus Christ, to love him and follow him with a renewed heart and to witness to him in the service which we render to the communities in our city and suburb.
“We adore you O Christ and we praise you, because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world.” It is in the Cross that we find salvation and hope. Whether in the large cross we c