Mass celebrated at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne for Lourdes Day

Saturday 3 December 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,



Today with joy we come, united with our brothers and sisters who are sick, to touch the hope that our God offers us as we prepare to welcome him at Christmas.  The integrity and faithfulness foretold by Isaiah, the justice and fullness of peace for which we pray in the Psalm and the invitation of John the Baptist to ‘prepare the way of the Lord’, that all people may see the salvation of God, ring in our ears, as we enter this special moment of pilgrimage.



The pilgrimage is entitled, Lourdes Day, because of the blessing with holy water from Lourdes, which will occur at the end of Mass.  Pope John Paul, himself ailing and a pilgrim, went to Lourdes some years ago and his words are great comfort to us as we celebrate this Mass.



We ask Mary, who carried the Saviour in her womb with love beyond all telling, to help us to ponder God’s love in our lives; through the Cross, through the hope it gives and through the call to resurrection.  Truly with the Pope we can say, “We wish to learn from the lowly handmaid of the Lord an attitude of docility and openness to the Word of God and a generous commitment to welcome Christ’s teaching into our lives.”  (Lourdes, 14th August, 2004.)



From the time when Bernadette first received the Holy Mother in the grotto at Massabielle she began a dialogue between heaven and earth, which lasted through time and continues to this day - a procession, which asks that the Blessed Mother journey at our side along the pilgrim way of faith, hope and love.



In this Year of the Eucharist we remember that at Lourdes for more than a century Christian people have faithfully walked each day behind Christ in the Blessed Sacrament and each night amid songs and prayers in honour of the Lord’s Mother. 



Like John the Baptist, who proclaimed the need to come to the Lord, we pray together with Bernadette, “Good Mother have mercy on me; I give myself entirely to you, that you may give me to your dear Son, whom I wish to love with my whole heart.  Good Mother grant me a heart all aflame for Jesus.”



Similarly, in whatever way we participate in the oneness with Christ offered by his Church, whether as a teacher, a worker, someone specially called, or those who are called to prayer and suffering and thereby witness to him, we might well remember in the words of the Holy Father at Lourdes, “Christianity is truly a fountain of life, and Mary is the first guardian of this fountain.  She points it out to all people, inviting them to renounce their pride and to learn humility, so that they can draw from the mercy of her Son and thus work together for the dawn of the civilisation of love.”  (John Paul II, Angelus Message, 15th August, 2004.)



In the Advent hope of the Saviour, challenged by John the Baptist, nurtured by Mary, we now go forward to profess our faith and honour our God, active and present in our lives.



+ Denis J. Hart,



Archbishop of Melbourne.



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