Blessing of St George Preca statue, St Patrick's Cathedral

Blessing of St George Preca statue, St Patrick's Cathedral

BLESSING OF SAINT GEORGE PRECA STATUE AT ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 22 FEBRUARY 2009 AT 9.05AM.Dear Brothers and Sisters,I warmly welcome the President of Malta, His Excellency Dr Edward Fenech Adami, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tonio Borg, and their party, who are present today because after Mass we will bless the statue of Saint George Preca, the Founder of the Society of Christian Doctrine, recognising the remarkable work that he did for lay people in inspiring them to assimilate and study the Scriptures and the faith and also to...

Mass at St Patrick's Church, Murrumbeena



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am delighted to be with Father Barry Tobin to complete my time of visitation of your parishes.  I am deeply grateful to him, to all the parish workers, and to each of you for your lively faith, which you seek to live confidently and in a spirit of prayer and holiness.

Today’s Gospel challenges us with the cure of the paralytic to be instruments of care and healing for others and by our prayer and reverence to bring into God’s presence the needs of ourselves and our community.  What we can achieve with God’s Holy Spirit is truly marvellous.

Let us call to mind our sins that he will give us light and hope for the future.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The faith of the four men who carried their sick friend on a stretcher up onto the roof and then lowered him down into the gathering in front of Jesus is truly remarkable.  They looked at Jesus and saw what he could do as an earthly healer.  Jesus surprises us by giving an even greater relief in addition to the healing of his paralysis - the forgiveness and liberation from sin that makes us live full of hope in God and go forward to bear his light to the world of our time.

I want to speak about the parish and its importance to all of us. 

Worship, the celebration of Mass and the Sacraments, Eucharistic Adoration and Marian prayer are integral to the living of this faith in love and service.  Faith does give us a new vision, nurtured by a focus on Christ, constant prayer and search for holiness, and then a readiness to go forward launching out into the deep with possibilities that we did not imagine.  We are thankful for all the Lord has done over the long history of Saint Patrick’s Parish, as today we remember those who are and who were its members in times past.

While congratulating Father Tobin and all of you on what is being achieved here, I believe it is important for us to remember the purpose of our parish.  It is simply this: to bring us closer to God and to lead us in worshipping him, in knowing about him and in reaching out on his behalf to other parishioners and to those in the community.

1. Our parish is a place of holiness.  The high point of our search is of course in the Mass, where we are united with Jesus Christ in his gift of himself to the Father at the Last Supper and on the cross, and it is the same risen Christ whom we receive in Holy Communion.  The Sacraments are meant to nourish our spiritual life as we make our journey. 

We are invited to reflect on God’s living Word, which provides Christ in action for our daily lives. 

I am grateful that your church is a place set apart for worship, for direct contact with God.  I urge you not to neglect the complement of the sacrifice of the Mass, namely prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen described adoration of the Eucharist as the radioactive cobalt that burns out the cancer of sin and Saint John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, reminded us that in prayer God and our soul are like two pieces of wax; they are warmed by mutual love and become one.  In these busy days it is vital for us to stop and ponder and make personal the great acts of love we perform in the Mass. 

Similarly important is devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.  Because she is a good Mother, through her Rosary and other forms of prayer she leads us to know Jesus her Son in a personal, loving manner, so that our religion involves our whole person.

2. Our parish is meant to teach us the faith.  This is most obvious in the wonderful work of our school and in the instruction of converts.  However, it is also important for each of us to be ch

Visit to Sunshine Mosque


My dear Friends,

Together with your Imam and community leaders I come to be one with you in our prayer to the Creator of all that he will walk with those who have suffered so much in the bush fires and walk with us in our community as we seek to remake the devastated areas.

It is an opportunity for me to speak also with esteem of your strong traditions of belief in the Creator and of tireless dedication to constant prayer.  When we pray regularly to God we take on the plans and the mind that he has for humanity; we are one in his will, we know his protection.

I join you in praying today, as I have said, for the bush fire victims and those shattered communities who are seeking to rebuild.  In my visits to Whittlesea, Healesville, Yea, Alexandra and Kilmore in recent days I have seen tremendous courage in the face of devastation and loss.  I am in full admiration of all that emergency workers; fire fighters, police, and the Red Cross and so many community volunteers have done.  It says much for the spirit of Victorians to which the Muslim community is making an increasingly important contribution.

Your dedication to prayer, your faithfulness to what you are called to be, and our common walking together in the community for the good of all Victorians are things to which I pay tribute in you and which I admire.

I thank the Imam for his warm invitation and I extend my wishes and prayers for all your leaders, as we seek to work and pray together.


Let us pray.  Creator and giver of every good gift, we ask you to be with us in this moment of suffering.  Give strength and courage to those who have lost family members or property.  Help them to see their future reflected in their children and the value which each one has as a person.

Help them in prayer, constantly to trust your almighty power to protect and encourage, to strengthen our endeavours to rebuild, which in these days have been enlightened by the courage and determination of so many others.

Stay with us, you who are most merciful.  Give us hope, constancy and strength to know that what we can do together under your protection will always be blessed and made new.

You live and reign for ever and ever.  Amen.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.

Expression of compassion, National Day of Mourning Service, Rod Laver Arena.

Dear Friends,

Pondering the magnitude of our loss, we stand with warm compassion alongside those who have lost family and friends, property and livelihood.

We turn to the great One – our Creator and Protector, who knows our need, and the valiant deeds of those who saved us.

The human face of so many people; patient, compassionate, suffering with us, reminds us that our great God, who leans down to us, is very near, whom Christians know in Jesus Christ.

We hope in the Lord, trusting in his word (Ps 130) as we find the courage to support each other. Our common hope is our ability together to rebuild communities, families and friendships. This is our constant resolve - to live full lives with each other.

We will value each other. We will rebuild our lives and communities. We will be messengers of hope.

+ Denis J. Hart,

Mass for the opening of the school year of Ave Maria College, Essendon



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Together with your Principal, Mrs. Olwen Bell, your Chaplains and staff, I am truly delighted to welcome the young people of Ave Maria College for your Annual Mass for the Opening of School Year held this year here at Saint Patrick’s.

Your coming here reminds us that Ave Maria is a Catholic school; one with Pope Benedict and with me as your Archbishop, united in teaching the Catholic faith and preparing young women to take their place in society with generosity and skill.

As we come humbly into the presence of our great God, let us call to mind our sins and ask the Lord for pardon, light and strength.


“I am the servant of the Lord.  Let what you have said be done to me.”  (Luke 1:38)

My dear young friends,

Ave Maria College by its recognition of the role of Mary as the one who brought us Jesus, the Saviour, and as the Mother of all in the Church, is very clearly marked in providing Mary as the model of all who study here.

In Mary’s own life there is the realisation of rejoicing because she was so highly favoured by the Lord being with her.  There followed puzzlement at the announcement that she was to give birth to the Saviour and yet a total humble commitment to whatever God’s plan was for her.

Still later in her words, “My soul glorifies the Lord.  My spirit rejoices in God my Saviour”, Mary is aware that by fulfilling his own purposes God has indeed done great things for her.  In this she said:  “The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.”  (Luke 1:49)

As young women and staff members of Ave Maria the model of Mary’s acceptance of God’s plan for her, realisation that what God wants in our life is best and then exultation at what we are able to achieve is something, which is at the essence of what your College brings.

You come to begin another year at a time when people in our world are challenged by economic hardship.  Families are burdened by struggles and some families are divided.  The one great constant in family and personal life is that God loves us and wants the return of our love in the midst of all our trials and challenges.

My wish for Ave Maria this year is that you will have a clear vision of what you are meant to be as a Catholic College and that in the two-way process of being teachers and pupils you will contribute readily to a similar realisation of your abilities, of your faithfulness to God and the authentic preparation for life which alone a full Catholic education can give.

Recently I met with the Premier and other Church leaders and I emphasised that our religious faith is not merely something associated with the important activity of going to Church, but it embraces the whole of our life, living according to principles which reflect an authentic humanity and carry us forward on a journey which will indeed enrich our contribution to society, enable us to have a deep awareness of ourselves and lead us onward to eternal life.

Five points I would stress are essential in Ave Maria as a Catholic College:

1.  That it is inspired by supernatural vision:
Pope John Paul II said in New Orleans on 17th September 1987:  “The work of properly evaluating and transmitting the full truth concerning the human person created in God’s image and called to life in Christ through the Holy Spirit.”

2.  Founded on a Christian understanding:
Our understanding of a person as a child of God, developing all that is human, proposing Christ as the perfect human being as the model.

3.  We come alive by communion and community: