The Final Word

The Final Word The Final Word

The Final Word

July 2016

July is a month of special memory for Catholics in Melbourne. Three hundred young people from Victoria will join Pope Francis in Krakow from 25 to 31 July, having made a pilgrimage journey on their way to Jesus Christ.

The Final Word

June 2016

One of the joys of my ministry as Archbishop is visiting our parishes. It is always so consoling to be reminded of how central parishes are to the flourishing of faith, community and mission for our lives.

Of course, we older Catholics who been around for a while very much understand our debt to the parish in our lives. We have been deeply formed by the nurturing experiences of our early years—when in the parish we were initiated into the Sacraments and the family of God.

The Final Word

May 2016

Recent attacks like the ones in Brussels and Lahore can increase a climate of suspicion in our society. They can create fear, resentment and alienation, which in turn make us more protective of ourselves and less open to outsiders, particularly those who seek safety and protection at our doors. 

This has been true of our nation’s response to threats of terrorism. While Australia prides itself on being a diverse, multicultural, inclusive and generous nation, it has increasingly displayed symptoms of what Pope Francis calls a ‘throwaway culture’ in respect of those who come to seek shelter from harm. These symptoms are attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalisation. They are also shown in punitive and harsh policies and conditions to which people seeking asylum are being subjected. As disciples of Jesus, we are committed to building a better, a more humane, welcoming and inclusive society, not by giving in to fear and suspicion, but by fostering a culture of encounter, respect and acceptance.

The Final Word

April 2016

Recently, as part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, we celebrated a prayer vigil of 24 Hours for the Lord in St Patrick’s Cathedral.

It was wonderful that so many Archdiocesan groups prayed holy hours during the vigil before the Blessed Sacrament. Numerous people prayed for mercy for refugees, the sick and aged and all those in need of compassion.

It was particularly inspiring to see our own Missionaries of Charity from Fitzroy pray a special holy hour, asking the Lord for the canonisation of their Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

Mother Teresa was one of us and a very human follower of Jesus. Today, accounts of her fragile humanity and struggles sometimes surprise people. A while back, commentators expressed shock at the ‘revelation’ a holy person like Mother Teresa experienced darkness, doubts and trials in her faith journey.

The Final Word

March 2016

Lent is an important season for us Christians insofar as it reminds us of the need for conversion. We cannot live life to the full if we gloss over the inconvenient truths about ourselves. We cannot grow to full maturity if we ignore the obstacles that prevent us from reaching our potential. Pope Francis always asks people to pray for him because he says he is a sinner. It is characteristic of a true Christian who recognises the darker side of himself and seeks metanoia—a change of heart. 

Lent is our spiritual exodus—a journey away from all that alienates us from God, towards inner freedom. The 40 days of Lent remind us of the 40 years that God’s people wandered in the wilderness before reaching the promised land. It was an unpleasant but necessary experience, for they were purified and cleansed of all that was unworthy of God. They grew in their understanding of who God truly was and what it truly meant to be his people. The 40 years in the wilderness helped them live as more humble, patient and faithful people.