Mass for the candidacy to priesthood and diaconate

Mass for the candidacy to priesthood and diaconate

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR CANDIDACY TO DIACONATE AND PRIESTHOOD AT CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, CARLTON ON SATURDAY 24 MAY 2008 AT 9AM. INTRODUCTION My dear friends, Today we celebrate Mary Help of Christians, Mother of the Saviour and Mother of the Church. We ask her to bring us to Jesus as we admit Aurelio Fragapane and Frank Cumbo as candidates for Diaconate and Priesthood and offer ourselves in prayer and deed. Let us call to mind our sins.   HOMILY My dear friends, Today we celebrate the feast of Mary, Help of Christians.  She is the Mother...

Feast of Corpus Christi



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ or Corpus Christi.

The Holy Eucharist is the gift that Jesus gives of himself, revealing to us God’s infinite love for every person.  This is the greater love that made him lay down his life for his friends, loving them to the end.

As he showed us the way to service by the washing of the feet, so in instituting the Eucharist just before he died he showed that his presence in this wonderful and mysterious way brings us salvation, remains with us, cares for us when we are sick and leads us as the medicine and comfort for eternal life.

Let us call to mind our sins that we may celebrate it well and be one with Jesus who is present.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The feast of Corpus Christi has always reminded me how real and close is Jesus when present to us.  In the sacrifice of the Mass what he did on the cross in death is made present again and the bread and wine consecrated become his Body and Blood, the food and medicine for our souls.

I have often said here that whether in the celebration of Mass where we prepare by listening to God’s Word and then the bread and wine are changed so that Jesus becomes really present, we are drawn into unity with our God in a marvellous and wonderful way, which will never end.

As we celebrate the Mass we ought do so with full heart and voice joining in and silently pondering as the priest prays the Eucharistic Prayer.  Our God is present just as really as the person next to us.

In writing about the Eucharist in 2007, Pope Benedict says:  “With deep human insight Saint Augustine clearly showed how we are moved spontaneously whenever we encounter something attractive and desirable.  Asking himself what it is that can move us most deeply, the saintly bishop went on to say: ‘What does our soul desire more passionately than truth?’  Each of us has an innate desire for ultimate and definitive truth. The Lord Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, speaks to our thirsting, pilgrim hearts yearning for the source of life, our hearts longing for truth.  Jesus is the truth in person drawing the world to himself …… In the Eucharist Jesus shows us the truth about love which is the essence of God.  That is why the Church, which finds in the Eucharist the very centre of her life, is concerned to proclaim to all that God is love.  Because Christ has become for us the food of truth the Church turns to every man and woman inviting them freely to accept God’s gift.”  (Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, 2)

In this mysterious way Jesus Christ chose to be with us in the Church until the end of time.  We can say that the Eucharist is a mystery of faith because it is a personal encounter with Jesus, an encounter and a presence which is real and continues as long as the species remain, so that we can ponder Jesus through adoration in the Blessed Sacrament.  Celebration, adoration, thanksgiving are all an essential part of our contact with Christ because the Eucharist is a mystery to be lived.

Today we remind ourselves of the reality of God’s presence.  We bow our heads in adoration because it is through the Eucharist that we are saved and brought to the peace of God’s kingdom.  Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Sequence says:

“Christ willed what he himself had done should be renewed while time should run, in memory of his parting hour: thus, tutored in his school divine, we consecrate the bread and wine; and low &nda

Blessing and opening of the John R. Hannah Aged Care Facility, Mulgrave



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Together with all at John R. Hannah Aged Care Facility, I am truly pleased to be with you at the Blessing of these new facilities.

Care for the aged is a recognition of the dignity of every person and encouraging people in their frailer and later years.

In the celebration we remember the builder and architect, those who provided inspiration, and all who work with such dedication to care for our residents.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today as we come to bless these new facilities we thank God for all who have given work to its construction.  Beautiful buildings are facilities for use by people made in the image and likeness of God.  Indeed, quoting Saint Irenaeus, the late Pope John Paul II said:  “The glory of God is human beings fully alive.”  In his most recent Encyclical Letter, Pope Benedict stresses that “we are saved by hope, 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.”  (SS, 1)

Further, the knowledge that everything that happens to us in our lives is covered by God’s Providence:  “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me I am awaited by this love and so my life is good.” 

Our Catholic faith is an ongoing personal encounter with Christ.  We are ready to see Him active in the lives of other people.  When I see staff and medical personnel treating our elderly people with compassion, I see that they perceive the face of Christ in those who are suffering and sharing in his passion through sickness and old age.  This is why the Church gives the spiritual consolation of anointing of the sick, to support the broad based human care which is provided by all at this facility.  It means that as volunteers or professional personnel or members of staff we see Christ suffering in those for whom we care. 

On the part of those who are here as residents a word, a prayer, a smile, all these things see Christ caring for us in those who walk with us in life.  Every one of us can enrich this beautiful place and make it reflect the image of Christ, the joyful hope that we have until God comes and takes us home to be with him. 

Jesus brings us an encounter with the living God and with a hope stronger than the suffering.  Or to put it another way, faith is standing firm in what one hopes, being convinced of what one does not see.  It is not merely a reaching out for the future, but it brings a serenity and an acceptance that we will endure, even though the future is unknown to us.

I want to thank all here at John Hannah for the compassionate care which is provided and for the contribution which each of you makes to the life of this facility. 

May the Lord, the gentle healer of all, bring us his strength, courage and hope to continue our journey into the future.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne




Dear Brothers and Sisters,

For the past sixteen days we have been reminded by the presence of the World Youth Day Cross and Icon in Melbourne of the whole mystery of the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, which has saved us.

On many occasions after the Resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples encouraging them to pray and on this day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came with power upon the disciples to give them the mission of teaching all nations.

Today, as the Spirit breathes in our hearts and comes particularly upon those who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at this Mass, we pray that the Spirit who is the fire of love, the light of truth and the warmth of God’s presence will accompany and stimulate us on our journey this year.

Let us call to mind our sins that this may be a point of growth.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Prior to Jesus’ Ascension he asked the Apostles not to depart from Jerusalem but to wait for the promise of the Father.  This gathering in prayer with Mary in the upper room would prepare their hearts for the coming of the Spirit.

Whether in the faith or in our families or in our work situation the Lord does ask for us to collaborate, but before anything else his initiative is necessary.  It is the Spirit who is the true protagonist of the Church and our being and our action are in the wise and provident silence of God.

At Pentecost we think of the Apostles being transformed from terrified, silent men afraid of the Jews to ardent protagonists of the Gospel.

This Pentecost God wishes to give to the Church a new zeal for witness to the reality of his presence and to the power of his love.  Each of us here in the Cathedral is invited to know that God is near, filling our hearts, kindling in us the fire of his love.

This has very practical ramifications in the life of our society.  The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth.  We are invited to renew our commitment to the truth taught by the Church as the essence of human life.

Human pride and egoism creates division and indifference, hate and violence.  The Holy Spirit makes us capable of understanding the language of all, as he re-establishes the bridge between earth and heaven.  The Holy Spirit is love.  Here we witness in our home and in our street to the fact that love is far more powerful than death.

At the Last Supper Jesus had said that he would go, but that the Holy Spirit must come.  This, as Pope Benedict said in 2006, is the mystery of Pentecost:  “The Holy Spirit illuminates the human spirit and by revealing Christ, crucified and risen, indicates the one way for us to become more like him, that is to be ‘the image and instrument of the love which flows from Christ’.”  (Deus Caritas Est, No. 33)

Today among us we will witness the candidates for Confirmation receiving the seal of the Holy Spirit for wisdom and understanding, right judgement and courage, knowledge and reverence, and with the spirit of wonder and awe in God’s presence.

My dear friends, we seek to know that God is near and humbly to extend his reign in the world providing consolation and strength and the Church gathered with Mary and her birth implores, come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne

Address at the Schools Board Conference


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Thank you for coming together for this Conference.  It is an important involvement in the work of our parish and secondary schools.  I am grateful that you bring your experience as parents, as community leaders and above all as Catholics to the functioning of our schools.

The primary purpose of the Catholic school is the formation of people who know their faith and believe it and, because of that, faith becomes an integral part of their lives; they are prepared also for everyday life through excellence in all their efforts. 

We are still in the time of Easter, invited to be witnesses to the resurrection.  This means the fact that Jesus died and rose is life changing for each of us.  We acknowledge that it is important for each of us to have a personal relationship with Jesus in prayer, through faithfulness to Mass on Saturday night or Sunday, and through Christian living, so as to give leadership to those who are being formed to be the adult Catholics and leaders of families of tomorrow.

In opening this Catholic Schools Board Conference – ‘Thinking and Acting Strategically’ – I would like to acknowledge the important work undertaken by members of School Boards in support of these aims.

There are many challenges to faith and to life in our society.  Indeed the secular society has sought to drive religion to the periphery so that it can indulge its predilection for doing what feels good, giving people what they want without any commitment to ethical principles or to truth.

Our schools are founded on the principle that humanity is made with a definite purpose, with complementarity of male and female.  The family is the domestic church and the basic unit in society.  The gifts given by God to the family to nurture and guide young people are the basis of all that we do.

For the Catholic school, mutual respect means service to the Person of Christ.  Cooperation is between brothers and sisters in Christ.  A policy of working for the common good is undertaken seriously as working for the building up of the Kingdom of God.  A Christian community expresses its Christian faith not only through religious practice, but also through the cultivation of Christian habits and virtues in everyday activity.

Even if we operate in less than ideal circumstances, where some have suffered broken marriages, or there may be other complex situations, in Catholic schools we have a responsibility to be faithful to the truths of the Gospel, which Christ entrusted to the apostles, and to the teaching responsibility of his Church.

In 1993 Pope John Paul wrote on the Splendour of Truth, acknowledging that only God is the one who is good.  (Matthew 9:17)  He says:  “To ask about the good in fact ultimately means to turn towards God the fullness of goodness.  Jesus shows the young man’s question is really a religious question and that the goodness that attracts and at the same time obliges man has its source in God himself.  God alone is worthy of being loved ‘with all one’s heart and with all one’s soul and with all one’s mind’. (Matthew 22.37)  He is the source of man’s happiness.  Jesus brings the question about morally good action back to its religious foundations to the acknowledgement of God who alone is goodness, fullness of life, the final end of human activity and perfect happiness.”  (Veritatis Splendor, 9)

Often we hear discussions about the primacy of conscience, which ignore the fact that our conscience is only a proximate norm, which needs to be focussed o