BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT
PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 22ND
FEBRUARY 2015 AT 2.30 P.M.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the Gospel to which we have just
listened Jesus goes for forty days into the desert, disciplines his body by
prayer and fasting and emerges with a commitment to his role as our Messiah and
In him God comes to our human hearts
and lives, challenges himself to prepare for the mission God gave him and then comes
as our Lord and Redeemer to open heaven for us when he went to the cross and
rose from the dead. God’s limitless
self-giving for us is a reminder of the challenge we face, as this Lent we
continue our journey towards Easter.
For many of you from today your
journey will be different. For many
months you have shared in the prayers, talks and reflections of the
Catechumenate. Today we gather in the
Cathedral, the mother church of our diocese, with the bishop who is the chief
teacher and shepherd, to receive from the Church an official recognition of our
choice and approval as a candidate for Baptism.
Together with your priests and
catechetical teams you have deliberated on the step which you have taken and
they have recommended to me that I accept you as the elect, chosen for
Catechumenate, accompanied by your Godparents.
From today you are together asking for and aspiring to receive the
Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist, means by which Christ
welcomes you into the Church and gives you the life by which we live in the
gift of the Holy Spirit. You are to be
given the light of the Gospel.
election is an official step on behalf of the Church, which recognises all that
you have done, and highlights the new significant step which you are
undertaking on your journey to Baptism or to reception into full
communion. Jesus Christ through the
Church calls you out of darkness and uncertainty into his own wonderful light. You are accompanied by people of great faith
and love from your parishes who have brought you here and you are united with
the bishop and priests and deacons of the Church, with all the elect, in moving
to Baptism or Reception.
Those who have accompanied you are
charged with a sacred charge. In their
lives they have to be faithful to the teaching of the Church in every
detail. They have to communicate their
love for Christ through the Church and they have to lead you to the
understanding and knowledge which accompanies faith and brings you to be ready
My dear friends, I wish at this
special moment to assure you that in making this election I undertake the
responsibility of praying for you that you may be ever deeper in your love of
Christ and his blessed Mother, of the Church, its holy people and its saints,
so that Jesus will lead you along the mysterious journey, reassuring you of his
love for you and of his constant support through life’s journey.
May I thank those who have accompanied
you as sponsors, whether for Baptism or Reception, the Catechumenate leaders in
your parishes and the members of the Catechumenate team from the Archdiocese.
Today is a moment where we are called
from darkness and uncertainty into the light that comes from Christ. We frail human beings, uncertain about
ourselves, know that our God has a unique love for us, which is common to every
one of us, yet personal and gifted and calling us into everlasting life.
‘Your ways, O Lord are love and truth
to those who keep your covenant.’ In a
mysterious way the Lord calls us into a special friendship as we prepare for
Baptism. It is a hope that reaches
throughout your lives, a support of prayer and faith, which leads you on a
journey to life eternal. We do not live
on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. May this life-giving word and the love and
support of those who surround you help you to know that your affirmation of
faith enriches the Church, challenges us in the journey forward, until the day
when we will all be united with Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world now
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.