Feast of Christ the King

Feast of Christ the King

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2008 AT 11AM FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF CHRIST THE KING. INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, The Readings today challenge us to think about the end of our life, our destiny to be with Christ, and the extent to which we have responded to that call. Christ is the divine shepherd who seeks to invite us to eternal life.  We must be prepared by deeds of justice and truth and true repentance for our sins. Let us ask the Lord for pardon that we may journey with integrity...

Mass for the Vietnamese martyrs



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am delighted to be with you and with your Chaplain as today we celebrate the feast of the martyrs of Vietnam - Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and companions.  Martyrs are constant witnesses to the faith of Jesus Christ in our own day and in our own country. 

Just as Jesus often spoke of his constant need to fulfil the will of his Father, which was his crucifixion and resurrection, so too through our contemplating the martyrs we accept the crosses of past and present, inspired by the constancy of the martyrs so that we will rise to the resurrection of new life with Jesus, our Lord and Saviour.

So that we may grow in his love, let us call to mind our sins.


My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Regularly in the celebration of the martyrs we sing, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.”  We remember the outstanding courage and faithfulness, which motivated so many of your countrymen and women to stand firm in the face of paganism and hatred, to witness to Jesus Christ.

Saint Augustine tells us that the death of martyrs is precious, both in our sight and in the sight of him in whose name death took its place.

When Jesus drew near to his own death, he remembered, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”  We know that Jesus is the great martyr because on the cross he brought us our redemption.  The martyrs are the fulfilment of what Saint John says, “As Jesus laid down his life for us, so we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

We recall with honour that Pope John Paul II canonised Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and ninety-six Vietnamese martyrs.  Thirty-seven of these were priests, who fulfilled their ministry of giving the Sacraments of life unto the giving of their blood.  The remainder were lay people of various situations, both male and female, of whom the majority were fathers of families, some were catechists, seminarians and soldiers, who lived according to Christian principles and bore witness to baptism in water and the Spirit.  All of their sufferings showed that they preferred to accept the cross rather than to reject their holy religion.

I join you with humble admiration at the deeds of these men and women in the face of savagery.  So great was their love for Christ, so great was their faith in the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, that they chose to remain constant rather than give themselves over to earthly success or comfort. 

There is a continuity of course between the martyrs and so many of you here present who have escaped from Vietnam because of your love of Christ and wanting to live in the way which our Saviour established for us. 

Many parents and grandparents have done this to give the gift of new life to their children after the pattern of Jesus Christ, in whom is found true peace and happiness.
The martyrs received a gift from God of knowing the redemptive power of our Saviour, that his love has brought our redemption and from death has come resurrection.  The martyrs by entering into death have similarly gone through a transformation, which will bring a flood of God’s love for the Church. 

Indeed, already in a comparatively short time many young Vietnamese men and women have followed the call of Jesus Christ into the priesthood and into religious life.  Many Vietnamese families are emphasising here in

Blessing of the Yarra Valley Mausoleum and Stations of the Cross, Lilydale Cemetery



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am honoured to be present with the Committee of the Lilydale Cemeteries Trust for the blessing of the Yarra Valley Mausoleum and Stations of the Cross.  The way of the cross leads us to meditate upon the life of Our Lord, who died and rose to give us life.  We live in the strong faith of eternal life for those whom we love and for ourselves.  We underline the respect and honour we owe to our dead.  We are one with the cemetery authorities and so many friends in blessing this special place of remembrance and prayer.

The European custom of mausolea shows us that people are not lost to us when they die.  The love we had for them in life, the remembrance that we make now, the prayers that we offer, are all a sign that everything we have has been received from others who have gone before.

May this place be a haven of light, peace and remembrance of the goodness of those who have passed from this life.


"We want you to be quite certain brothers about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope.  We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus:  God will bring them with him." (1Thessalonians 4:13-14)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The blessing of this mausoleum made possible by the generosity of the authorities of Lilydale Cemetery is an important focal point in our understanding of death.  We are aware that when we die we come face to face with God, who will accept the choice we have made according to the good or evil that we have done in the body and our persevering intentions concerning that.

So many of the people buried here in this mausoleum will be loved parents and relatives, whose goodness has shone out and for whom we remember and pray with undying affection.  Indeed, in a Christian vision of death those loved ones whom we have lost have passed through death to life.  Our hope is in eternal life for them and that is why we can pray for them, just as we hope too that one day we will be reunited.

The ability to visit the mausoleum, to remember so many personal, small or larger things about them, is an invitation to us to see the value of remembrance as a means of thanking them for all that they have been and are to us and how their memory and their gifts inspire us and occasionally challenge us, but also to fulfil our primary Christian duty of praying for them that they may be freed from their sins and come swiftly to be with God.

It is most appropriate that we gather to make the way of the cross and to come and pray for our loved ones.  These unite us with Jesus in his desire that we may have life and remind us of the power of prayer for our own lives.

We know that God is all-perfect.  Nothing imperfect can come to be with God.  After death in the time of our preparation or purgatory we depend upon the prayers, love and charity of our brothers and sisters who remain behind and with whom we wish to be reunited in the kingdom of heaven.

This mausoleum made possible by the generosity of the cemetery authorities is that place of charity.  People are no longer dead, lost, forgotten.  Rather they have passed through death and into life supported by our prayers.  We remember their goodness and we thank our generous and merciful God for all that they did, so that we might successfully continue our journey and like them pass through death to life when our inevitable call comes.

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today as the Church Year comes to an end we are reminded that each of us is called to use our gifts in order to achieve the Master’s happiness to which we can be called.

Imagination, initiative, dedication, responding to the challenge of Christian life, is never more poignant than it is at the present time in the modern world.

As we are united with those who will come to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, let us ask the Lord that he will give us light and strength to continue our journey and to do so with faith and love.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In 1973 an oncologist wrote in a New Zealand newspaper of her experience with cancer patients.  “Cancer makes people start thinking about the quality of their lives … in fact, some people never become completely human beings and really start living until they get cancer; we all know we are going to die, but cancer makes people face up to it.  Cancer patients live with a lot of extra enjoyment because they have faced their fear of death.  Cancer patients aren’t dying, they are living.”

The Readings today remind us that we all live under the sure spectre of death.  The busy wife, the respect and fear of the Lord, the uncertainty of times and seasons, the use of talents – all of these things remind us that our time is limited and yet precious.  I would not want you to be living today out of fear of what might be.  Rather, I would want each of us to treasure the life and the gifts that God gives us as something precious, which he invites us to share, arising from the wonder of God’s love and care for us.

Indeed, William Barclay said of this Gospel that, “There can be no religion without adventure” and that “God can find no use for the closed mind”.  However, we do remember that our gifts are different.  God does not demand from us abilities which we do not have, but he does ask each of us that we use to the full, confidently filled with God’s love, the gifts that he has given us.  Whatever talent we have, be it little or great, we must lay it at the service of God.  The person who is punished is the one who will not try; the person who did not lose his talent, but did nothing with it. 

That is a reminder that we must see in our lives the possibilities that God sees.  We must dare to trust ourselves to him and in our daily life and in the valuing of what we can be and do, nourished by prayer, by the word of God and a constant relationship with him, then we can enrich and build up our world.
Today some of our adult candidates will come forward to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.  Whether for them or for us who have been confirmed many years ago, they are the gift of the Holy Spirit to make us more like Christ and more perfect as members of the Church.  They give us power in the Church to witness that Christ is the centre of the life of each of us. 

It is not merely a stage in life, not merely a moment that we pass through, but a real invitation that God is entering into us and will remain with us at every moment of our life.  He gives us wisdom, understanding, right judgement, knowledge, courage, reverence and wonder and awe.

Christ gives varied gifts to the members of the Church and I do invite you to share them with others, remembering above all that it is one relationship which is vital in our life, that which we have with our Lord and Saviour, Jes

Mass for the 130th anniversary of Christian Brothers' College, St Kilda



Dear Christian Brothers and Teachers, Students and former Students, Friends of the Christian Brothers and Parishioners of East St Kilda,

I am deeply honoured to be with you, as we gather to thank God for the 130 years of existence of Christian Brothers College.  The College has provided a significant contribution to Catholic education far beyond the confines of this parish, has brought many vocations to priesthood, religious and other aspects of Church life and has inspired many young men as members of one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church with the faith that comes from the apostles.

In this they have been supported by the particular gifted charism of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice, whom we also honour today. 

So many of those who have filled the last 130 years have completed their journey.  Our pilgrimage, however, must continue as we call to mind our sins, repent of them and ask the Lord for pardon, light and strength.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we gather in wordless thanks to God for the many blessings offered through Christian Brothers College, St Kilda, in the 130 years of its existence, through the example of its Brothers and teachers, the high ideals and many gifts of its students, the support of Chaplains, friends and parishioners.

During the 1870s Father James Corbett, later the Bishop of Sale, as parish priest of St Mary’s, East St Kilda, called a public meeting of prominent Catholics in St Mary’s Church.  With great enthusiasm they raised the money necessary to support the Brothers in St Kilda and rented a house for them in Wellington Street, where they began teaching.  This was the first Christian Brothers School in St Kilda and opened its doors on 26th July 1878.

In the first days in 1878 Brother Corbett (no relation to Father Corbett), along with three other Christian Brothers, commenced their work following the charism of Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice.  After Edmund was widowed and found his merchant life unsatisfactory, he was challenged to look at the words of Isaiah:  “The spirit of the Lord has been granted to me, for he has anointed me.  He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.”

A mid-life decision made by Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice in 1802 provided the dynamic enthusiasm and giftedness, which has characterised the Brothers and their collaborators here at East St Kilda.  One may well choose to measure success by buildings; the property on Westbury Street, the Corbett and McCartney Wings, the Logue Hall, the Francis McCarthy Creative Arts Centre and the recent multi-million dollar refurbishment.

However, a much clearer vision of the College is shown in the four crests which have been used in the College’s history:  The first motto, Signum Fide, the Sign of Faith; the second, Virtus Sola Nobilitas, Virtue is the Only Greatness.  Each emphasise strongly the spiritual mission in union with the Church, which this College has proudly borne.

We remember that the colours of the College are dark blue for Mary, the Mother of Jesus, green representing Ireland, the birthplace of the Order, blue for Mary, the Mother of Jesus, to whom Edmund Rice had great devotion.  The College itself is dedicated to Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus.

In this major anniversary of a College it can be said that we stand a