Mass for World Youth Day pilgrims

Mass for World Youth Day pilgrims

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE PILGRIMS FROM WORLD YOUTH DAY IN SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 5 OCTOBER 2008 AT 3.30PM. INTRODUCTION My dear young friends, Welcome to Saint Patrick’s, our church, where together we praise Jesus, acknowledging the wonderful events of Days in the Diocese and World Youth Day. I am tremendously encouraged by your youthful enthusiasm as today we remember that it is Jesus whom we seek in our life.  It is he who will give us light for our world, will lead us beyond our hopes and desires and help us to make a new...

27th Sunday in Ordinary Time



My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today the Church proposes for us the very realistic fact that the Church can be a sign of contradiction.  She was founded on Jesus the rejected cornerstone.  The people of the everyday world wanted to go their own way and yet Jesus was the foundation that remained firm. 

We are invited in the liturgy today to found our lives on him and to open our hearts to being his instruments in whatever he wants to achieve through us.

This requires a conversion of heart as we call to mind our sins and ask him for light and strength.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Both the first Reading and the Gospel use an agricultural image to underline the challenge of faithfulness, which is given to each one of us; in the same way as a farmer or a gardener needs to work hard to grow plants or fruits, in a similar way that a householder cares for the house, prepares meals, does the washing and cleaning, in the same way as a student remains faithful to study and to what they are called to be.  So today the Word of God invites us to be faithful to God in whatever may be the path of life that we are invited to follow.

Pope Benedict spoke recently to priests and seminarians in Bressanone, asking them as I know he asks us to look at how our day is structured so that we do have opportunities for God to have access to us, so that we continuously receive the breath of the Holy Spirit.  He says:  “If we do this then something happens to us.  The day acquires a form and its light shines from us because it mirrors our soul.”

We have to remember that faith does not involve only a supernatural aspect.  It rebuilds us, bringing us back to humanity.  It is based on the natural virtues of honesty, joy, the willingness to listen to our neighbour, the ability to forgive, generosity, goodness and cordiality among people.  Human virtues show that faith is truly present, that we are really with Christ, so that by carrying out our human tasks well and correctly, in respect of our neighbour, being concerned for others, is the best way of existing for ourselves.

Today in Rome the Pope is beginning with selected bishops of the Church a Synod on The Word of God.  Friends, we know that the Eucharist and the Scriptures - the Word of God, are the two bases of our Christian faith.  Both are essential and the purpose of this meeting of the Pope and bishops is to try and get us to appreciate, celebrate and use the Scriptures reverently and effectively so that God’s Word really will touch our heart. 

This is what I mean by being faithful.  The will of God for us now, his plan, our way to holiness, is the particular state in life that he has given us, the use of the particular gifts he has given us, the way in which we see them as a service to others.  There is a contrast between the faithfulness of the landowner at the start of the Gospel and the first Reading and the ruination which follows if we turn away from God.  God’s Word is there to prune and re-focus us, to remind us that our whole life is a journey of conversion, of turning from self to Jesus and to others, of growing in the appreciation of who God is as Lord of our life and what we can do to serve generously and enrich the lives of those around us.

The Gospel Acclamation reminds us that we are God’s friends and his love for us, as the prayers says, goes far beyond all our hopes and desires.  By knowing conversion, turning to God, knowing we are forgiven, then we will be given a peace and a hope which is not merely

"Mary, Star of Hope" in the Encyclical, Spe Salvi

ImageVolume 19, Issue 18

On 30 November, 2007, his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI released his second Encyclical, Spe Salvi – “In hope we are saved”. In this and the next three issues, I wish to use this column to reflect on several aspects of the Encyclical.

Dedication of the Altar at St Paul the Apostle, Endeavour Hills



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the short twenty-eight years of its existence the parish of Endeavour Hills has had a remarkable and expansive history.  After Father Frank Martin and Father Gerard McKernan, Father John Pearce became your parish priest in 1998 and the Passionists have continued the nourishing of parishioners with the Eucharist and with the Word of God.

In this Year of Saint Paul it is very fitting that we should celebrate the dedication of the altar in your parish church.  The altar represents Jesus Christ because just as Christ died on the cross and won our redemption, so through his passion the altar is the place where the fruits of redemption in the life-giving power of the Eucharist are brought to us.

As we begin this celebration filled with thanksgiving and focussed on the loving power of Christ, let us remember our baptism as we are sprinkled and the altar is sprinkled with blessed water.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

All that takes place in this church tonight will remind us that we are members of the community of the faithful called to new and everlasting life.  A parish is not merely buildings; priests, religious, pastoral associates, lay people have made a tremendous contribution and the progressive work on the church and the large attendance are an eloquent testimony to the life of faith and hope sustained by so many of you.  I congratulate you and thank you for all that you have given.

With much joy we come, nourished by the Word of God, to dedicate this altar in Saint Paul’s church.  It will remain forever as a focus of the Year of Saint Paul and of the unitive power of Word and Sacrament to sanctify and nourish us as God’s people.  The desire to provide a permanent altar reminds us that Christ is permanently and in a stable way at the centre of all that we do.

I have mentioned earlier that Jesus is the true altar.  Noah and Abraham built altars in the Old Testament.  Moses killed a sacrificial lamb to show that the altar of the cross was the origin of our whole Christian religion and because Jesus went to die on a cross he made it holy by the fact that he was God, so that our sins engulfed and forgiven in his blood are remitted through the sacramental life of the Church.

The presence of the Passionist Fathers in this church, and here I pay tribute to Father John Pearce who is concluding his time as pastor, and Father Timothy O’Toole who will assume the reins in January, show us that the passion is central to our Christian life and that the cross far from being something which burdens and scars us is a means of accepting our own limitation and seeking forgiveness and new life through the power of Christ, carrying our crosses as he carried his. 

Having come from a parish run by a great Christological religious order I was delighted in 1998 to be able to secure the work of the Passionists here in Endeavour Hills.  I know that almost immediately you realised what a tremendous gift they are and have been to the life of the parish.  I pay tribute to them, I acknowledge the work that they are doing and I urge you to pray for them and support them in the special work that they do.

The altar that we are about to dedicate is the place of Christ’s sacrifice.  The blood of forgiveness and the water of baptism are ushered in to the Sacraments of the Church as Christ’s joyful forgiveness, life and peace are given to us.  We are given, gathered around this altar, as members of a family of the baptised to praise and thank Chri

Mass for the clergy assembly, Geelong



My dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

With joy at our common vocation, as we have gathered to take strength for our future priestly ministry, we celebrate the feast of Saint Jerome who was a gifted and articulate exponent of the Word of God.

The Word of God shows itself in a variety of ways, culminating in the mystery of the Incarnation, where the word who was with God became man through the power of the Holy Spirit.  He is the living one, the one who has the words of eternal life.

As we seek comfort and strength for our priestly ministry, let us call to mind our sins and open our hearts to his word.


My dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

As disciples of the kingdom we turn again to learn from the rich treasure of God’s Word that we want to nourish our ministry on the intrinsic connection between the Eucharist and the Word of God, since the Church must receive nourishment from ‘the one bread of life from the table of both God’s Word and God’s Body’.  (Vatican II, Constitution on Divine Revelation, 21)

When we reflect on the Word of God we encounter Jesus the Lord present in the sacred Scriptures and the Eucharist.  In the words of Saint Jerome:  “The Lord’s flesh is real food and his blood real drink; this is our true God in this present life: to nourish ourselves with his flesh and to drink his blood in not only the Eucharist but also the reading of sacred Scripture.  In fact the Word of God drawn from the knowledge of the Scriptures is real food and real drink.”  (Saint Jerome, Commentary on Ecclesiastes, 313)

Forty years after the Second Vatican Council we will recognise the biblical renewal in liturgy, theology and catechesis, the extension of the biblical apostolate, the efforts of communities and ecclesial movements and the increased use of instruments of the media.

This week we are one in mind and heart with a representative group of the Church’s bishops who will come to Rome next Sunday for two weeks to celebrate the Synod on the Word of God.

Just as the bishops will be seeking to spread and strengthen encounters with the Word of God by thoroughly examining its doctrinal underpinnings so that we will come to experience the Scriptures as the source of life in everyday circumstances, devising true and readily available ways in which Christians and all people of goodwill can listen to God and speak with him.

Particularly in the context of our seminar on ‘What Priests Do’, we go to the two-fold sources of the Eucharist and the Word of God.  In the Eucharist we know the Pope has invited us to be men of the Church so that the daily Eucharist celebrated in union with the Church and in accordance with its requirements submitting ourselves to the vision of the Church is nourished immeasurably by the Word of God.  We still have much to do both in our liturgical celebration with reverence and also in leading to an appreciation and deep love of Scripture, to renew the listening to the Word of God in the liturgy and catechesis through forms of Lexio Divina duly adapted to various circumstances and to offer the Word of God as consolation and hope for the world.

In thanking you for all that you are doing I would like especially that under the patronage of Saint Jerome we would foster the strong link between Word and Eucharist in the unity of the sacrifice, that we would encourage those who read and proclaim the Word to have a greater understanding of what they read and to encourage all our people to reflect upon it so that we as priests will use th


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