Homilies

Mass for the dedication of the St Ignatius Chapel, Loyola College, Watsonia

Mass for the dedication of the St Ignatius Chapel, Loyola College, Watsonia

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT ST IGNATIUS’ CHAPEL, LOYOLA COLLEGE, WATSONIA, ON SUNDAY 16 AUGUST 2009 AT 2.30PM. INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, Welcome to Saint Ignatius’ Chapel as we celebrate the dedication of this church to the permanent worship of God. In particular, I welcome Mr. Joseph Favrin, the present Principal of the College, and so many of the staff and predecessors, together with Bishop Gregory O’Kelly of Port Pirie and Father Stephen Curtin, the Provincial of the Jesuit Order. In December 1934 this Chapel was set apart as the Novitiate and...

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Annual Mass for Marriage and the Family)

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 16TH AUGUST 2009 AT 11AM, MASS FOR MARRIAGE AND THE FAMILY

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Our Lord’s great discourse on the Eucharist which has extended over three Sundays concludes today, underlining the necessity of the Eucharist for unity with Jesus and with each other.  When we gather for the Mass it is our oneness in Jesus which influences every detail of our life.  Today because of the self-giving love of Jesus once again we celebrate the Eucharist which is the promise of eternal life.

We welcome especially couples who are celebrating sixty, fifty, forty and twenty-five years of marriage.  Union with Christ implies union with each other and it is in the context of family life and love that we come to begin and continue the journey along which the Lord has invited us.

Let us thank God for our own parents and family members, bring their welfare to the healing power of Jesus, as we remember that we are sinners and ask the Lord for pardon, light and strength.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You and I know that all of our great moments are celebrated by coming together for a common meal.  At these times our individual differences are forgotten and the central purpose of our coming together is the thing which unifies and provides vision for the future.  When we human beings invite others into our home or share a meal with them it shows that our lives are intertwined. 

Jesus did this at the Last Supper when he looked forward to the sacrifice he would offer on the cross.  Taking bread and wine separately to remind us of his death, at the Last Supper he invited his apostles to share in his mission of saving the world.

Many years before that the Book of Proverbs had used the thirst for wisdom and knowledge being fulfilled as an invitation to a great banquet where we would learn the truth of God’s love for us and united in that love walk in the path to lasting happiness and eternal life.

Today we hear the ringing words of Jesus in the Gospel:  “I am the living bread which comes down from heaven.  Anyone who eats this bread will live forever …, the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world …, my flesh is real food, my blood is real drink.  Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.”

In a particular way we are united with faith-filled couples who have lived for many years in marriage, enriching the world with the gift of their love in children and living as witness to the unity which Jesus wanted all to have.

It is in the family circle that we come to know God’s love reflected in the goodness of our parents; where we are fed and clothed and educated, where we come to believe in Jesus and Mary and walk with them our life’s journey leading to eternity.

Today with thankfulness we remember in the lives of so many couples here.  “The family is itself based primarily on a deep interpersonal relationship between husband and wife, sustained by affection and mutual understanding.  It receives abundant help from God in the Sacrament of Marriage, which brings with it a true calling to holiness.”

In a modern, secular society we repeat the words of Pope Benedict at Valencia in Spain on 8th July 2006 when he said:  “The family is a necessary good for all peoples, an indispensable foundation for society and a great and lifelong treasure for couples.  It is a unique good for children who are meant to be the fruit of the love of their parents.  To proclaim the whole truth about the family based on marriage as a domestic church and a sanctuary of life is a great responsibility incumbent on all.”

Further we can say, with strong families trained in respect for each other the community of believers will enrich our society

Mass for the Centenary of Blessed Mary MacKillop's death

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, FOR THE CENTENARY OF THE DEATH OF BLESSED MARY MACKILLOP ON SATURDAY 8 AUGUST 2009 AT 10AM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the centenary of the death of Blessed Mary MacKillop.  Her towering sanctity in the face of great suffering and adversity, her constancy in the love of Jesus Christ, and her apostolic zeal to bring knowledge and love of Jesus Christ to all areas of Australia and New Zealand shines as a beacon for us in the way we live our faith.

For Sister Josephine Dubiel, Provincial, and on my own behalf as the Archbishop of her birth place, I welcome you to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for this Mass of pondering and celebration.

We remember Blessed Mary MacKillop as a lady of sanctity, who can challenge and aid us in our search for holiness.  Let us call to mind our sins.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the centenary of the death of Blessed Mary MacKillop.  As Pope John Paul II said on the day of her beatification, 19th January 1995:  “She gave to her Congregation, the name of Saint Joseph, one who committed his whole being and life to God’s loving providence.  Joseph of Nazareth was a man of boundless trust.  Only in this way was he able to live out the unique calling he had received from God to be the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the guardian of God’s own Son.  In the history of the Church Saint Joseph has always been a special model of holiness.”

Pope Benedict has regularly spoken to us of the importance of the search for holiness, echoing the call of the Second Vatican Council and its teaching on the call to holiness, which belongs not only to religious and priests, but which belongs to all of us.  In his Christmas Address to the Curia in 2005, he made the particularly pertinent comment that there exists a continuity in the Church’s history and in her search for holiness.

What we can learn from Blessed Mary MacKillop is above all the journey to sanctity which is ever relevant and ever pertinent to our situation.  Our world may have changed, but God’s call to holiness in each one of us has not.  Were we to reduce holiness to mere humanism and companionship then we would be forgetful of the great love of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, which brought the fire of zeal to the life of Mary MacKillop.

A couple of hundred yards from this Cathedral on the 15th January 1842, Mary MacKillop was born.  The eldest of eight children of Alexander and Flora MacKillop, educated by her father until ill health forced him to return to Scotland.

Many of you know that Blessed Mary met Father Julian Tenison Woods while working in Penola as governess to her uncle’s children.  Here she learned the need for religious and secular education for outback children.  Although she worked elsewhere for a brief time as a religious teacher, in 1866 at the age of 25 she returned to Penola and took the religious name of Sister Mary of the Cross.  Together with Father Julian Tenison Woods she founded the first Saint Joseph’s School in a disused stable.  The link with the birth of the Saviour in the stable at Bethlehem is inevitable.  This then led to a story of which we are all much aware – in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and all parts of Australia.

I have always remembered and esteemed through the Cross the identification of the Sisters with the sufferings of people in the outback or inner city suburbs, of the magnificent contribution made to Catholic education and her humble acceptance of ill health, injustice and suffering borne without rancour.  Indeed, her own words:  “Many things that seemed unaccountable worries have proved indeed to be hidden blessings”, are a reminder to us that abandonment to the will of God in every situation is of

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 9 AUGUST 2009 AT 11AM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today once again we speak of the wonderful gift that Jesus has given us in the Eucharist. 

In Jesus, God draws us towards his Son.  God comes to us through his Son, the Bread of Life and the Word of God, who comes down from heaven, who shares his life with us before we have made a single move. 

As we begin our Mass, let us come with wonder to taste and see the goodness of the Lord, as we call to mind our sins and ask him to renew our lives.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the second half of June Pope Benedict appointed one of the foremost theologians of the Dominican Order, Father Augustine di Noia, to be an archbishop and to be secretary of the Congregation for Worship in the Vatican.  When he was asked about his knowledge of worship, he stressed “the Mass is about God, not about us”.

In this he wanted to show us that the Mass is the same sacrifice as Jesus undertook on the cross when he went to death for love of us.  When we re-enact this sacrifice, after listening to God’s Word and doing what he did at the Last Supper and on the cross, we see that it is because of Jesus’ death that we know in a very powerful way that God loves us personally and is close to our lives.

Last Sunday we mentioned that the priesthood is the love of the heart of Christ.  Today we think about the invitation which God gives to each of us to come to him, to hear the teaching of the Father and to learn from it and to walk with Jesus through our life, nourished by the Bread of Life, which is Jesus really present in the Eucharist.

Today a number of our congregation will receive the Spirit of Jesus in Confirmation.  The Spirit of God, the love poured into human hearts is sealed into them that he may transform their lives and make them walk with Jesus at every moment.

In the Gospel today Jesus reminds us that the Eucharist is not merely a sign or a commemoration of God’s love.  As reasoning for this he says that the people of the Old Testament ate the manna from heaven and yet they died.  But the promise which Jesus gives us is that the Eucharist, Jesus’ living presence, will nourish us all our days until the moment when we come into the kingdom of heaven, because it is this food of the soul which brings us to God, the God in whom we live and move and have our being.

We would be forgotten completely if God were not mindful of us at every moment.  It is for this that we try and make our Mass here filled with beauty and love and reverence; trying to use human words, beautiful music and solemn ways of acting to show our reverence and wonder at God.  Jesus has given himself for us and brings us life.  He wants us to trust that he and he alone will gift us with lasting life and hope.

The important thing to remember is that God has loved us first.  He enters our life, he transforms it, he reassures us and has promised us that we will reach “the joy he has prepared for us beyond all our imagining”.  As we bow our heads in adoration knowing that we are in the presence of the living God, let us know also that his strength, light and hope will carry us into eternity.

+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 2 AUGUST 2009 AT 11AM.

INTRODUCTION

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s Gospel speaks of the Eucharist as our permanent and lasting nourishment for eternal life.

I welcome members of Serra, involved in promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and also family members and friends of priests as we celebrate the annual vocations week.

This year we celebrate the Year of the Priest, helping us to realise that the priesthood not merely makes Christ present, but is the showing of the love of Jesus Christ to each of us in our daily life.  When we receive Jesus we receive all that we need for life’s journey because we are made for eternity, imperishable.  We live on the Word of God, on the reality of his gift to us in the Eucharist, knowing that he will not desert us. 

Let us call to mind our sins.

HOMILY

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At Mass today, in this week when we think about vocations to the priesthood and religious life, we are joined by family members and friends of priests. 

On 19th June Pope Benedict established this year until the same date next year as the Year of the Priest.  He did it so that priests would realise that because we say that a priest is another Christ then he has to strive after personal perfection in life and to bring the love of Christ, his compassion and his forgiveness to people.  In this way we hope that the priesthood will be more known and that each of us will be drawn more directly to holiness of life, which draws us to God and gives us a new readiness to walk with our sisters and brothers in our common journey.

The many duties of the priesthood – offering Mass to bring people to God, baptising, marrying, forgiving them in the Sacrament of Penance, preparing them for major events in life, being with them when they are sick or dying, all because a priest is the human communication of Christ’s love to whom was given a special call to be another Christ.

In the materialism of the modern world priests can often be forgotten.  Saint John Mary Vianney went to a distant parish in his diocese where he died one hundred and fifty years ago.  It was a small, remote village, where the love of God had gone cold and the priest was shunned.  Over the years of his remarkable service it became a centre of God’s forgiveness and love where people travelled all over France to be with him.

Often priests have to suffer or endure pain, either because of their own weakness or because of the deeds of others.  Nevertheless, this sharing in the passion of Christ leads to a joyful realisation of the greatness of God’s gift, bringing them to be good pastors, afire with the love of God and of souls, and insightful, patient, spiritual guides.

Saint John Vianney even said:   “Without the Sacrament of Orders we would not have the Lord.  Who put him there in that tabernacle?  The priest.  Who welcomed your soul at the beginning of your life?  The priest.  Who feeds your soul and gives it strength for its journey?  The priest.  Who will prepare it to appear before God, bathing it one last time in the blood of Jesus Christ?  The priest.  And if this soul should happen to die, who will restore its calm and peace?  Again, the priest.  After God the priest is everything.  Only in heaven will he fully realise who he is.”

Saint John Vianney went to the village of Ars with 230 souls, being warned by his bishop:  “There is little love of God in that parish.  You will be the one to put it there.”  He chose the church as his home, entering it before dawn, and did not leave it until after the evening Angelus.  There he was to be found.  And yet he knew how to visit the whole of his parish, going to the sick and to families, organising missions, collecting a

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