Mass for the World Day of Prayer for the Sick

Mass for the World Day of Prayer for the Sick

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE SICK AT MERCY PLACE, PARKVILLE,ON FRIDAY, 10TH FEBRUARY 2012 AT 2.00 P.M. INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, Together with Pope Benedict, I am grateful for the leaders and carers of Mercy Health and to all of you at Mercy Place. I wish to renew my spiritual nearness to all the sick, who are in places of care, who are looked after in their families, expressing to each one of them the affection of the Holy Church. In sickness we follow the example of Christ, who bent down before the material and spiritual...

Mass at Sacred Heart College, Oakleigh for the opening of the school year



My dear young friends,

Today we come to bring before our God our work together as teachers, students and families of Sacred Heart, so that filled with the love of Jesus Christ we may grow strong in all that Jesus can give us for our studies, our development and our preparation for life.

Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Your College is dedicated to the love of Jesus Christ. For a year from Pentecost Sunday this year our bishops are asking us to focus all that we do on Jesus Christ, following the invitation which Pope John Paul II gave to all of us at the end of the Great Jubilee Year in 2000. The two-fold challenge of knowing the person of Jesus more fully and then launching out for a 'catch' can be the watchword which accompanies our studies this year.

When we know Jesus as a person, are one with him in prayer and follow him, then we discover who we are; the gifts that God has given us, the capacity to grow, the ability to forgive and to reach out to others and the ability to discover anew what great possibilities are offered here at Sacred Heart. Indeed, in the wide range of subjects which you study there is but part of what the College community offers, because in sport, music, debating, relating with others, working with them, getting to know them, we have a great capacity to know ourselves and grow in confidence in what we can be and achieve.

When Saint Peter said that we are to "show to the world the reason for the hope that is in us" he challenged us to engage in inquiring and questioning minds with our teachers. He invited our teachers to share their knowledge with a caring love of young people. He showed us that the more we can work together respecting each other and developing our talents, even in those things that require more than usual hard work, we will grow to be the people that Jesus has called us to be.

When we, like the Greeks in the Gospel, say "we wish to see Jesus" (John 12:21), we see that as believers we have to learn of Jesus, to know him, and then to show him to others. That is why prayer and our faith are at the centre of all the other subjects we study. They give us an awareness of who we are and of the unique gifts God has given to other people as well as to us.

Your College has a remarkable record for developing young people's gifts and sending them confidently into the world. My prayer this year is that you will realise that this will happen when we give ourselves wholeheartedly to all that Sacred Heart College offers us.

We are glad because we have seen the Lord. We know that he will never desert us. Let us pray for each other in this Mass that with enthusiasm we will embrace the challenge and the hope that God alone can give us.

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus fill you with his love.

+ Denis J. Hart,

Blessing of new facilities at Emmaus College, Vermont South



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am honoured to be with Mr. Tony Hirst, your Principal, and all of you as we bless these new College facilities.

It is timely that at the beginning of a new year new opportunities will be offered for a wide range of activities which will continue the work that Emmaus does so well, preparing young people to engage as solid contributors to the life of family and community now and as they emerge from Emmaus College.

This is a moment of thanksgiving, reflection and challenge. I rejoice with you in what has been achieved.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Some weeks ago, as I was preparing this homily, I reflected on the name of your College 'Emmaus'. The Emmaus story of disciples being cast down because they thought that Jesus in whom they had put their hope was lost and yet he accompanied them on the road to a point where finally they recognised him at the Eucharist in the breaking of bread at the end of their journey.

Emmaus is a very appropriate title for a College where young men are searching for their vocation in life. Education is a broad based preparation and the more that we can develop in all of the areas of life the better we will be prepared to contribute to what life gives us.

As I go round the schools I find quite an exciting array of options which are offered to young people. The traditional subjects of maths, English, languages, history, sciences, but also practical involvements in some schools in catering, woodwork, community outreach, technology and so on.

I congratulate you all at Emmaus because every activity which is conducted, whether by young people or the school or teachers or families, has to be founded on our common faith in Jesus Christ and our common dedication to walking with him. The Emmaus story of the disciples coming to the great discovery of who Jesus was for their life was enriching and challenging because suddenly life had meaning, suddenly gifts were appreciated, suddenly they came to the realisation that we have too, that Jesus walks with us at every moment. This not only nourishes faith, but it gives us great confidence in what we can be and achieve.

I have always admired schools in which the teachers' love of learning meets with inquiring minds, challenging questions, and works together on a great journey of discovery. I am sure the teachers you will remember after school are those whom you felt met with your questions, were interested in you and really sought to enrich your lives. Even in some mathematic and scientific subjects the results are less tangible, but they do give us a capacity for analysis and reflective thinking which will help us in all that we do throughout our life.

My prayer for all of you here at Emmaus on this great day of joy and celebration is that you will never be afraid to ask and to search. You will remember the wonderful response given to the disciples on the road to Emmaus when they discovered Jesus and saw what they could become because of his presence.

As young people in a Catholic College this means faithfulness to the Eucharist, contact with Jesus in prayer and allowing him to open your hearts to the great discoveries which can be made by people of faith, learning and hope. Saint Peter once urged us all: "Show to the world the reason for the hope that is in you."

At the beginning of a new year if we can engage with our teachers and our school community, if we can make Emmaus a common place of searching, mutual respect, confidence in what can be achieved, then indeed the College will rise to greatness beyond what might have been imagined or expected.

My dear friends, may you discover Jesus in the breaking of the bread of the Eucharist, present walking in your live

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The seeming hopelessness and frustration of Job in the first Reading highlights the extent to which God reaches into the hearts of those who hope in the Lord and know his great strength and power to heal. That power is dynamically illustrated in the story of the cure of Peter's mother-in-law in the Gospel and the absolutely determined challenge of Saint Paul who sought to serve everyone so as to win them to Christ.

Hope is an essentially Christian virtue and our Holy Father has constantly taught that it is our mission in family, community and society to bring hope to the world because we are in touch with a reality that is imperishable - God's love for us and his determined will to save us.

Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The author, Joseph Conrad, recently wrote to the philosopher, Bertrand Russell: "I have never been able to find in anyone's book or anyone's talk anything convincing enough to stand up for a moment against my defeatist sense of fatality governing this world. The only remedy is the change of hearts. But looking at the history of the last two thousand years there is not much reason to expect anything. Even if man has taken to flying, man does not fly like an eagle, he flies like a beetle."

These words written in 1991 pick up the starting point of today's Readings. In the first Reading Job seems unable to plunge any deeper into despair until he forgot himself and his struggles and began to listen to God. When Jesus came among us he offered the same hope; in him, in God, for salvation, healing and forgiveness.

Jesus continues to illustrate his power over evil by setting aside the laws of nature and by giving remarkable cures. One thing that is significant in Jesus' life is that his works were all prepared with prayer. He would often go to a lonely place where he could communicate with his Father and thereby offer them the love of God that enables them to hope. Paul, of course, was a determined messenger of God's Word.

Cardinal Leon Joseph Suenens said in 1974: "I am a man of hope, not for human reasons nor from any natural optimism. I believe that the Holy Spirit is at work in the Church and in the world even when unrecognised and unnamed. To hope is to turn dreams into reality."

In his Encyclical Letter on Christian Hope, published in November 2007, Pope Benedict makes the telling remark: "We have been given a trustworthy hope by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal." (SS1)

Saint Augustine is even more realistic. He says: "In some way we want life itself, true life, untouched even by death; yet at the same time we do not know the great thing towards which we feel driven. We cannot stop reaching out for it and yet we know that all we can experience or accomplish is not what we yearn for. This unknown thing is true hope, which drives us and by the fact that it is unknown we can despair because we seek worldly and human authenticity." (SS12)

As we begin another year the Pope reminds us: "Man's great true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God – God who has loved us and who continues to love to the end, until all is accomplished ... from faith I await eternal life, the true life which is whole and unthreatened in all its fullness."

Saint Augustine's own life was filled with ordinary things lived with great hope because of the love of God. "God is the foundation of hope: the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His kingdom is not an imaginary here

Mass in honour of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the feast of Blessed Alojzije Stepinac, the Archbishop of Zagreb and martyr of Croatia.

His constancy of faith in the face of Communist demands to rent asunder the Catholic Church in Croatia, his imprisonment in Lepoglava on trumped up charges, and his house arrest for more than eight years in Krasic are an eloquent invitation to each of us to follow the way of Jesus Christ.

Brothers and sisters, let us acknowledge our sins and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today in Blessed Alojzije Stepinac we celebrate the heavenly victory of a remarkable bishop and martyr for the Church and for the other victims of persecution of Communist Yugoslavia.

His whole life from birth on 8th May 1898 to his death on 10th February 1960 and his Beatification on 3rd October 1998, is one of remarkable faithfulness to the Lord's will.

The challenge for each of us and for your families comes from the example of Blessed Alojzije's mother, Barbara. She was a woman who prayed daily and fasted three times a week, so that her son would become a priest. She never told him and when he was ordained she would fast even more that he became a holy priest. This for us is a reminder of the power of prayer in family life and invites every family here to be constant in Sunday Mass, in daily prayer and in faithfulness to Jesus Christ. Archbishop Frane Franic said that his courage to resist the violence later in his life came from his mother's prayers.

Before Ordination he had been conscripted in the First World War and had studied in Rome to be ordained in Santa Maria Maggiore. At 36 in 1934 he was appointed the youngest bishop in the world and on 7th December 1937 Archbishop Stepinac took over the diocese. The present Pope, Benedict XVI, wrote, "Alojzije was well aware of the difficult circumstances facing the Church and the Catholic faithful in Yugoslavia. In the Yugoslavia that was created as one country after World War 1 there were mutually opposite parts with a strong anti-Catholic attitude."

He knew that his service as a bishop meant sacrifice to renounce one's self and placed himself in God's hands. Throughout his life he raised his voice against any injustice, staunchly resisted Fascism and Nazism. With his own personal advocacy he managed to save at least seven thousand Serb children and personally saved ten percent of the Jewish population in Zagreb.

In May 1945 Croatia once again became part of Yugoslavia under a Communist Government. On 17th May Archbishop Stepinac was arrested and in the next month Tito demanded that the local Church be separated from Rome.

In the ensuing conflict with the State he asserted that he had done everything to resolve the conflict in a peaceful way, but if martyrs are necessary 'I am the first to be prepared to suffer. I do not intend to attack the Government for any political motives, but solely to defend the Catholic Church and faith'.

Throughout his imprisonment and later house arrest in his home village he showed a strong determination to live and speak for the truth. While imprisoned in Lepoglava he said, "I am pleased to suffer for the Catholic Church. I am prepared to die for her at any moment", and all this he did to his last drop of blood because of his constant burning love of Jesus Christ and of his people.

In Blessed Alojzije Stepinac and the martyrs of Croatia we have a shining example put before us that faithfulness to God, to our religion, to prayer, to family life and to truth are the only things which will bring us happiness. No matter what the consequences he was prepared to suffer because it was God's will for hi