Mass of Dedication of St Catherine of Siena Church, Caroline Springs, 22 September


My dear Brothers and Sisters,
This church of Saint Catherine of Siena is set apart as a place of wonder.  The dedication indicates that it is permanently endowed with beauty and skill, renewed and prepared for this permanent celebration some seven years after the beginning of the parish.  It will be a constant and beautiful reminder of the presence and love of God among his people.
Already remarkable faith has been dedicated to the diversity and energy of this community, nourished by Father Tollan and is something for which we thank God.
Vocations to priesthood and to the religious life have come from this community for the service of the Church.  Truly it can be said that this church is the house of God and the gate of heaven, the place where God is worshipped, his Word is preached, his Sacraments ministered, and where God’s holy people can humbly come to worship him, united with the prayers of our Blessed Mother, Mary, and of the saints.
Already we have sprinkled the people and the church with holy water.  Each of us is a temple of God and immediately after this homily we will profess our faith and call upon the saints.  This reminds us that the Church is people.
We gather in this church under our parish priest, Father Tollan, and we thank God for what has been achieved in the construction and renewal of this church, bringing it to the point of consecration.  I ask you to watch carefully during the Consecration Ceremony because it spells out that this church is “filled with the presence of the Lord, who will extend his hand to all who call upon him.”  (The Opening Prayer) 
After the Litany we will pray, “May this building be a house of salvation and grace where Christians gathered in fellowship may worship you in spirit and truth and grow together in love.”
Relics of the saints are placed in the altar because it is in the united tradition of love and service of God shown by the saints that we are called to follow.

The long Prayer of Consecration reminds us that God is “source of holiness and true purpose”, as we dedicate this church to his service.  The Church, the people of God, are meant to be the instrument of holiness; from the tree of the cross to be the instrument of grace, to be the place where God lives on earth, to be a light to the whole world.
We ask the Lord, “Send your Spirit from heaven to make this church an ever holy place.”  It is through coming to Baptism that we become members, through gathering at the altar that we are fed at the table of Christ’s Word and his Body, through prayer God is begged for the world’s salvation and peace is given.
The anointing of the altar and the walls of the church with the Oil of Chrism used in our Confirmation are reminders that just as we are God’s holy people, so this place is set apart.
Incense, a sign of worship and fragrance, is used in the altar and in the Church as a sign of this setting apart and then once the altar is closed the candles are lit to remind us that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World.
The Mass then continues and after Communion the Blessed Sacrament is placed in the tabernacle as the permanent place where God lives among his people.
 May I pay tribute to all that has been achieved here at Caroline Springs over recent years.  I recognise especially the obvious faith and love with which this parish is rich and I encourage you in your faithfulness to Jesus Christ, your unity with Pope Francis and with all God’s people to continue the journey, which has been begun so well.  I congratulate your parish priest, your builder, all who have shared so much in the preparation of the parish for this day. 
May the Lord bless you and may the light of the Holy Spirit fill your hearts and kindle in them the fire of constant love and zeal to spread the Gospel.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.
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