Mass for Our Lady of Victories School Centenary, Our Lady of Victories...

Mass for Our Lady of Victories School Centenary, Our Lady of Victories...

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT OUR LADY OF VICTORIES’ CHURCH, CAMBERWELL, ON SUNDAY 20 FEBRUARY 2011 AT 2.30PM, FOR THE CENTENARY OF OUR LADY OF VICTORIES’ SCHOOL AND THE BLESSING OF THE SCHOOL EXTENSIONS. INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, I come to celebrate Mass and to congratulate you on the Centenary of Our Lady of Victories’ School and to bless the new extensions. Today’s Mass stresses the power of love and mercy in our lives and in our school.  It underlines the special dignity of every person.  These are the clear objectives of our Catholic education.  We seek...

Mass for Catholic Fundraising's golden jubilee



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Together with many friends I welcome you to this Mass of Thanksgiving for the Golden Jubilee of Catholic Fundraising.

Over 50 years the dedicated staff of Catholic Fundraising, the priests and people of our parishes, and so many people have become involved in a magnificent collaborative effort to provide the Church with resources for worship, teaching and service, which are essential to the proclamation of the Gospel.

With humble thankfulness for God’s gifts of people, though unworthy, we come to praise him who is the Giver of every gift in this moment when we realise how much he has given.

As we call to mind our sins let us ask the Lord that he may make us increasingly generous of spirit, filled with wonder at what he can achieve through open hearts.


“Ask and it will be given to you.  Search and you will find.  Knock and the door will be open to you.  For the one who asks always receives, the one who searches always finds.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today with the current Director, Michael Keogh, the staff, and so many friends, we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Catholic Fundraising.  While Saint Matthew is speaking about effective prayer and the abundant goodness of God, our Fundraising Service for all these years has helped us to reflect on the true meaning of Christian giving.  In the same way that we can ask God, who is the Giver of all good gifts, to help us in our family life and the work of the Church, so too our Fundraising Service helps us to place before people the needs of the Church in preaching the Gospel.

Indeed, Saint Paul says at the beginning of chapter sixteen of 1 Corinthians:  “Every Sunday each one of you must put aside what he can afford so that collections need not be made after I have come.  When I am with you I will send your offering to Jerusalem.”  (1 Corinthians 16:1-3)

The spirit of giving for the needs of the Church; local, diocesan and international has thus existed from the earliest times and has been planned - i.e. put aside, considered – a set amount, proportionate – as we can afford, and cheerful – because God loves the cheerful giver.

In 1961 Archbishop Mannix coined the phrase ‘sacrificial giving’, which reflected completely our unity with the Mass.  We believe that Christ made the perfect sacrifice in his passion, death and resurrection.  His giving was total and it was effective.  Our sacrificial giving was similarly a gift of ourselves, even with some challenge, to be likewise effective in supporting the work that Jesus came to do, that all may be baptised and come to the knowledge of the truth.

Later on the name changed to ‘thanksgiving’ because the Mass is the perfect sacrifice of praise with which we are associated as we bring our lives to the Father.  Everything we have and are comes from a loving God and our generosity helps us to return it in thanksgiving.

About this time we asked Catholics not only to review their financial support for the parish and the Church, but also to look at commitment of time and talent.  Everything we have is a gift from a loving God.

Still further the important realisation of Christian stewardship has developed over the last couple of years.  As Christian stewards we are custodians and not owners.  Everything is given us by God and our sacred duty is to improve on our inherited legacy so that we can pass it on to future generations.  The faith given in Baptism is a personal gift to be used by word and example in drawing others to the Gospel.  By using our God-given gifts of time, talent and treasure we can make a great difference.  Those three related conc

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Mass is always an encounter with God.  We give thanks to the God of gentleness and love.  He made Christ the Son of justice rise for all men – he who gave his life for his enemies - and every time we take part in the reconciliatory sacrifice the Spirit comes to change our hearts from hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.

As we call to mind our sins, let us ask the Lord to give us pardon, hope and light for our journey.


Dear Brothers and Sister,

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) can often seem an impossible ideal. This implies a whole way of thinking and living. The Gospel reminds us of a whole lot of ways of how we can be perfect before God and others. In what does holiness consist?  Commandments, church attendance, prayer, fasting, almsgiving, as in the Scriptures?  Many religions have their own rules; for Buddhists, eight main points of righteousness, for Islam, five pillars, in India, good karma by observing non-violence, non-possessiveness and non-absolutism with good deeds.

Oscar Wilde enjoyed saying: “Always forgive your enemies.  Nothing annoys them more.”  We know The Beatitudes in Jesus’ teaching.  Saint Francis of Assisi said: “While you are proclaiming peace with your lips be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.”  And more recently Caesar Chavez added: “The non-violent technique does not depend for its success on the goodwill of the oppressor, but rather on the unfailing assistance of God.”

Holiness is a special relationship with God; being a transparent God-bearer, being the light of Christ to others, being human temples in which God dwells and the Spirit moves.

In my words I would put it that if we are open to God and open to others then we will gradually grow in both.  The primary relationship with God is a relationship of knowledge, worship and love.  That is why it is so important to learn our faith, to come to know it, to realise that faith is a relationship with the most wonderful person in the world and yet it lifts us to a level higher than any other relationship.  Jesus took it the other way when he said: “Love one another, as I have loved you.”  Or as we saw in the Alleluia this morning:  “Whoever keeps the Word of Christ grows perfect in the love of God” (1 John 2:5), shows that for us Christians the relationship with God is the basis of all our other activities and relationships. 

A person who really responds to God has a faith and a heart which is enlarged because God is perfect, which can then like God be kind and merciful.  When we say we all belong to Christ and Christ to God we are reminded that in belonging to Christ we have the epitome of love and we seek in our daily life to reflect that love with others.

Romano Guardini said:  “Man is really just only when he seeks more than mere justice’ more not merely quantitatively, but qualitatively.  He must find a power capable of breaking the band of injustice, something strong enough and big enough to intercept aggression and disarm it:  that is love.”

Lord, help us to live the example of love we celebrate in this Eucharist that we may come to its fulfilment in your presence.

+ Denis J. Hart,

Whitefriars College Golden Jubilee



Dear  Brothers and Sisters,

Today on this 50th Anniversary of Whitefriars College, I extend a very warm welcome to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to your Principal, Father Paul Cahill, to staff, students, parents and friends of Whitefriars and to all who have come to thank God for the remarkable growth and care exercised in your College.

While its history is comparatively short, the dedicated pastoral care and tremendous growth of the College have inspired all associated with Whitefriars with a deeper love of the faith and respect for Mary, our Mother.  It is fitting that we celebrate the Mass of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, entrusting ourselves on our journey to Jesus to the care of Mary, our loving Mother.

Let us call to mind our sins, asking the Lord that he may give us pardon, light and strength.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Together we are celebrating the Mass of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in thanksgiving for the blessings given to Whitefriars College over the past fifty years.  I pray that this event will encourage your own memories of your time at Whitefriars so that your inner journey to self discovery will nourish your faith now and in the future.

This is an occasion of great importance when I, as Archbishop, am privileged to pay tribute to the work of the Carmelites from Father Frank Shortis, the first Principal, to Father Paul Cahill and so many collaborators and Carmelite families.

Since the twelfth century pilgrims from Europe had visited Mount Carmel, the place where Elijah, a reforming prophet of the true God, showed the power of God in human life through his miracles, prayer and preaching.  From that time Carmel has had a magnetic attraction.  It is fitting that the statue of Elijah outside your new chapel reminds people always to search for the true God as Elijah did.

Mount Carmel then provided the inspiration for the foundation of the Carmelite Order and devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel as the Mother of the Order, who provides the particular Carmelite spirit which inspires Whitefriars College.

After a number of years of reflection the Carmelite Order decided by 1961 to establish Whitefriars College and trained a number of younger members of the Order to staff it.

Many of you here have been the recipients of the very rich tradition and spirituality of the Carmelites, which has always been paramount in the College.  The living of the Catholic faith, especially through the Eucharist, and following the reforming spirit of Elijah and the loving care of Mary, our Mother of Mount Carmel, Whitefriars has emerged as a College with a particular spirit.

The College motto ‘Almae in Fide Parentis’ (which the College translates as ‘In the care of a loving Mother’) shows the significance of Mary in the Carmelites’ and in the College’s spirit and tradition.  I have always found that where a clear recognition of the part of Our Lady in our journey with and to Jesus emerges there is a great balance between rigorous intellectual learning and the warmth of faith and love which seeks to inspire a person.

Right from the beginning of 1961 with one Year Seven class through to the present total enrolment of 1160 boys emphasis has been on the Carmelite tradition in faith, prayer and integrity, respect and search for wisdom and the forming of community.  All of these things have enabled Whitefriars to have a distinctive and significant influence very diverse from other Colleges.

What was a very generous donation by the Carmelites of part of the Whitefriars Monastery property has now burgeoned into a state of the art College where particular emphasis is pla

Mass for Croatian community on the Feast of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have come 51 years after his death to honour Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, the Martyr of Croatia, whose deep faith, strength and defence of his people shines as a light to the way in which we should live our lives in the face of modern secularism.

As we begin this Mass in honouring him we remember our sins and the transforming power of God’s love, asking for strength of faith to love Jesus, fortitude to witness to him, courage to live fully Catholic life.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we have come to honour Blessed Alojzije Stepinac for his longstanding and courageous witness to the faith in Zagreb.  We are aware of his birth on 8th May 1898 in Bezeric, his studies for the priesthood in Rome from 1924 to 1931, his work as Coadjutor from 1934 to 1937, and his work as Archbishop.  He was a tireless defender of human rights in Yugoslavia and Croatia and courageously defended the rights of the persecuted Serbs, Jews, Gypsies and Croats.

From the time of his first arrest in 1945, to the shamefully fabricated trial in 1946, we see his tireless and constant witness.  After imprisonment from 1946 to 1951, he returned to Krasic where he remained until his death.  It is significant that his Beatification by Pope John Paul II was fifty-two years after his famous speech at his trial on 3rd October 1946.

The words of Cardinal Kuharic:  “I am deeply tied to Stepinac because I saw he was prepared to die for his faith, for the Church, for Our Lord, Jesus.  I was fascinated by his advocacy for freedom for God’s rights and man.”  The fervent prayers of his mother and his constant devotion to the shrine of Maria Bistrica gave him the courage to raise his voice against any injustice.  Even throughout the eight years of his house arrest in Krasic, he devoted himself to prayer, ministry to the parishioners and to defence of his people.

Today we honour a man who above all was faithful to God, to the Pope and to the Church.  His strength has enabled other Croatian bishops and priests not to lose courage in the face of terrible opposition.

Blessed Alojzije’s invitation to us is to value the faith that God has given us as a free gift, to live it fully and not to allow it to be snuffed out by materialism.  To do that we need the same weapons that Blessed Alojzije used; the Mass each Sunday and more often if we can, regular prayer, faithfulness and integrity of life.

In August 1958 he wrote:  “My health is still frail.  However, know well that our Church does not rest on people, but on Christ the Lord who will never disappoint us.  He is the one who through his successor, the Pope, masters the helm of the boat of his Church and no wind or storm can sink it.”
Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, pray for us.

+ Denis J. Hart,