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.
I have attended five World Youth Days: Rome, Toronto, Cologne, Sydney and Madrid. I have found them a remarkable experience of the generosity and love of youth and their desire for the Good News of Jesus Christ.
In the Year of Mercy we rejoice with our young people on pilgrimage and pray that God’s mercy will be with them and with us always. World Youth Day is a life-changing opportunity and I honour our young people who are going joyfully on pilgrimage. May it bring them and us many blessings.
July is traditionally the month when older priests of Corpus Christi Seminary were ordained. A large group of Corpus Christi priests will gather at the end of the month to remember their priestly service and seminary training. It is a time for us to thank God for the gifts of the priesthood and for the constant, generous, loving, self-sacrificing service of all of our priests. They have our gratitude and are in our prayers.
Our Church has many gifts. In February 2015 I attended a meeting of the Pontifical Council for Culture, which studied the culture of women and recognised the gifts of teaching and inspiration, motherhood, religious leadership, missionary spirit, courage and limitless generosity of women as a tremendous enrichment to the people of God. Let us not forget the great women in our diocese and parishes, who use their gifts for the Gospel and show us the love and mercy of the heart of Jesus.
Many women and men over my lifetime have responded to the call to consecrated life, to witness through celibate love, prayer and contemplation, active involvement in schools, hospitals, parishes and social ministry to the all-embracing love of Jesus Christ, which leads us to reach out to those in our community and beyond.
Pope Francis invites us to go to the furthest extent of our world and its people. The dedicated service of religious and consecrated people is a tremendous example of what can be achieved and how one’s life is enlarged and enriched by the gift of one’s self to Jesus Christ.
The call given by the Lord to all of us is one of service. Jesus himself said: ‘I come among you as one who serves.’ As we thank God for the gifts of our youth on pilgrimage to World Youth Day, of our women, our priests and of those called to consecrated life, let us remember that each of us has unique gifts in which we can come to serve and love our brothers and sisters.
May this service be the watchword of the way we live our faith in the city of Melbourne and beyond this July.
† Denis J Hart
Archbishop of Melbourne