Fifth Sunday of Easter

Fifth Sunday of Easter

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE,ON SUNDAY 22 MAY 2011 AT 11AM.INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters,On this fifth Sunday of Easter we are reminded that we are a people on a journey; that Christ came to save us and return to the Father to lead us to our true home.  If we wish to keep our faith we must remember that it is Christian; we do not believe in a faceless God.  God has shown his faith in Jesus Christ, we recognise him, who has returned to the Father and we see him in the suffering faces of our brothers and sisters.As we offer this...

Mass for the centenary of Our Lady Help of Christians, East Brunswick



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am deeply honoured to be with Father Michael Casey and with all of you for this celebration of the Centenary of the Parish of Our Lady Help of Christians, East Brunswick.

On this fifth Sunday of Easter we learn that a Centenary is but a beginning of another hundred years.  Jesus’ own words:  “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me”, (John 14:6) is a constant reminder that while we celebrate with thanksgiving a Centenary we move as the bearers of a mystery into the next hundred years.

With joy and thanksgiving let us call to mind our sins.


“I tell you most solemnly, whoever believes in me will perform the same works as I do myself; he will perform even greater works because I am going to the Father.”
(John 14:12)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This is a moment of thanksgiving and hope.  We stand tall on the shoulders of those who have preceded us.  In January 1911 Archbishop Carr appointed Father Joe King as first Parish Priest of this parish.  On 22 January of that year he celebrated the first Mass on an altar made of packing cases in the Excelsia Hall at 767 Nicholson Street.  Immediately a decision was made to build a church/school and five years later the decision to build a permanent church on the quarry site was announced.  Two and a half years later on 19 May 1918 (Pentecost Sunday) Archbishop Mannix blessed and opened the incomplete church and a week later the first Mass was celebrated.  However, sadly on 21 July 1935 Father King died aged 61 years and was buried in the grounds of his beloved, but still incomplete church.

Many of us have admired the wonderful statue of Our Lady Help of Christians.  Since 1852 Our Lady Help of Christians was approved by the Holy See as Patroness of Australia and when in 1911 the parish was dedicated to Our Lady Help of Christians, Father King encouraged parishioners to continue this devotion with monthly prayers, medals for newborn babies and a Novena up until recent times in the days prior to 24 May.

During the renovations of the church between 1992 and 1994 the statue was re-covered in gold leaf and while it was on the ground people were able to see its beauty.  It has been a landmark to the people of Melbourne for over a century.

Similarly, the beautiful painting of Our Lady Help of Christians, which is a copy of the original painted by Tomaso Lorenzone in the Cathedral of Turin, done by Melbourne artist John Hennessy but it does have certain Australian colour, a representation of the Church and of the Southern Cross. This painting has been here since 13 November 1921 and it was renewed and restored in 1992. Likewise, the bell named Mary was installed in 1923 and the stained glass windows, the first of nineteen, were installed between 1923 and 1963 from Munich and additional windows were added in the porch in 1994.

Many of you will remember the groups and sodalities, the love of Our Lady, the wonderful work of the schools; Our Lady’s school, which was originally near Barkly, Holden and Dean streets from 1918 was moved to its present site in 1938, a second church and school, Holy Family in Nicholson Street, operated between 1927 and 1986 and since 1930 until 2005 Saint Joseph’s Marist Brothers’ College operated.

There are many stories of faith and life and love and today as we gather for this Centenary it is important for us to remember all of them.  I am sure that many of you will continue the telling of stories, perhaps with a good deal more artistry than I can do over the afternoon tea which will follow.

Dear friends, I congratulate you on the Centenar

Blessing of land for Southern Cross Care Village, Keon Park



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am honoured to join you for this blessing of land, which will become a unique village for the elderly established by Southern Cross Care.

The increasing demand for proper accommodation where older people can be cared for in a truly Christian and Catholic spirit and surrounded by love and support in their declining years is indeed a magnificent contribution.

Each of us here comes in this prayer service to thank God for all that he has given.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The fact that I, as Archbishop, have been invited to the blessing of this site is a reminder to all of us here that the primary purpose of the care that we give to each other is to live in the faith, hope and love, which comes from God and that the primary relationship of each of us comes from God who has given us the gift of life with our parents, the same God to whom we will most certainly return.

The clients who will come to this village are largely people who have a deep experience of faith and who have come to a time of life when they need the support of each other.  The frailties and weaknesses of old age can sometimes be a big challenge and that is why the establishment of a Christian village where prayer, Mass, Sacraments, Christian friendship and the warmth of Christ’s love are paramount is a highly significant need in the community.

I believe it is absolutely vital that appropriate area be provided exclusively for a chapel and that it be in a quiet part of the village so that people can freely go and pray, that it be equipped with beautiful images and comfortable seats so that Mass, Adoration, prayer, honouring of Our Lady, the Rosary, and so on will become part of the life of the village.

May I pay tribute to the initiative of Southern Cross Care and for all those who have worked, not merely in the important stage of construction and envisioning, but also the most important time of employing staff and training them in the truly Catholic ethos of compassion and care.

May Southern Cross Care, Keon Park, be a place of inspiration and care, of faith, hope and love, where Jesus and our Mother, Mary, are at the centre of the life of this very special family.

+ Denis J. Hart,

Address at the 75th anniversary dinner of Centrecare/CatholicCare


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Welcome to this 75th Anniversary Dinner.  There are so many friends and benefactors of our organisation gathered for an enjoyable evening of celebration amongst whom I acknowledge the presence of the Hon. Martin Dixon, MP, the Hon. Daniel Andrews, MP, the Hon. James Merlino, MP, the Hon. Michael Danby, MP, Ms Carol Schwartz, AM, and Mr Allan Schwartz, AM, and of course the Chairman of CatholicCare, Mr. Frank Swan.  It is not often that a 75th anniversary also brings about a change of name. More about that later.

When the Catholic Social Services Bureau was established by Archbishop Mannix in 1935 the country was in deep economic depression.  In these 75 years Catholic Social Services Bureau, the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau, Centacare and now CatholicCare has sought to reach out into the community in a Christ-like way to care for families and those in need to bring to them the compassion which Jesus wants them to have through the Church which he founded to be the instrument of his love and care for all people.  From 1935 the role of the Bureau was to assist the poorest families to continue to care for their children.  Although our times have changed the desire of families to care for their children has not changed and the needs in our communities are as great as ever.

I am particularly proud of the work done by Centacare.  There are still those who require assistance in relationship or marriage breakdown, mental illness, economic hardship, struggles settling into a new land, overcoming past trauma and hurt or dealing with the problems of substance abuse in their own home.  Indeed, we might say that the need for our care is even greater.  I pay tribute to the special developments in family and relationship counselling and particularly more recently through the Mary of the Cross Centre where modern cutting edge problems are addressed today with skill and compassion. 

I do thank you for your ongoing support and urge you to do what you can to assist this magnificent arm of the Church reaching broadly into society and providing consolation and help.

For some time we have been considering what will most appropriately express the work of the Church in society.  We have a proud record of going into those areas of care which no one else wishes to enter.  I think that the vision of Christ for people and for their needs is something that we must continue.  Modern times brought changes of time from the Social Services Bureau to the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau, and then on to Centacare, which is often confused with Centrelink.

In response to modern needs and to a feeling around the country it is most important that we should identify that this is the Church working in the community.  This is why I am proud to announce the change of name to CatholicCare, which has occurred since 1 April 2011.  I believe it will express our sense of vocation. Together with that, the name CatholicCare is being unified in a company formed by the Dioceses of Victoria and Tasmania to make us more able to work effectively with Government and other public agencies. 

So I hereby officially launch the new name and identity – CatholicCare.  I thank all those who have been involved over seventy-five years.  I know that CatholicCare will reach with compassion, grace and skill into the community for another seventy-five years.  Indeed, our story is not one of the past for which we thank God; it is one of the present and the future, where with your help we can bring great love and care and skill to meet the needs of our community.

+ Denis J. Hart,

Fourth Sunday of Easter (World Day of Prayer for Vocations)



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this day when the Church encourages each of us in our own chosen vocation to draw new strength from the courage of Christ our Shepherd on our journey to heaven, it is with pleasure that I welcome you to the Cathedral for the Annual Graduation Mass of Australian Catholic University.

Our young people with their families and friends recognise the priority of bringing their magnificent talents to God and finding strength and guidance as they embark upon their chosen career blessed by the Lord who holds each of us in his hand.

As we remember our sins, let us remember the transforming power of the risen Lord as with hope we go to respond to the call he has given us.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s Mass highlights the essential component of living the Christian life in modern society.  Because Jesus has come that we may live our lives to the full our relationship with Jesus in faith and the faithful practice of religion nurtures that relationship so that our life will be truly balanced.

This year at Australian Catholic University we have an ever increasing number of gifted and enthusiastic young people who are graduating and entering a wide range of professions.  Their skills range from academic study of philosophy and theology, preparation for teaching or nursing, a range of many sciences and activities, and an ever increasing list of gifts which show the rapid development of Australian Catholic University here in Melbourne.

For me, as Archbishop, it is a particular moment of pleasure to be united with Professor Greg Craven, the Vice-Chancellor, members of the University staff, Father Werner Utri who is coming to the end of his term as Chaplain at A.C.U. Melbourne, and you, your families and friends.

The readings of this fourth Sunday of Easter pick out particularly the relationship with Christ that is essential to every fulfilment of a career.  There is a passing reference in the Opening Prayer, which asks Almighty God to give us new strength from the courage of Christ, the Shepherd.  Living as a Christian in a modern, professional world is a daily challenge.  However, when we know the Lord is our Shepherd then nothing will be wanting; he who lets us in as the gate to the sheepfold where we can be nurtured by Christ is one who knows our human gifts intimately and rejoices in the great variety of achievement which is being marked by the Graduation Ceremonies at this time.

The fourth Sunday of Easter is traditionally the World Vocations Sunday.  Parish communities and all of us are invited to continue praying to the Lord for vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life.  I know you will join me in asking the Lord to give us dedicated young people who will think of entrusting their lives to the Lord who never fails them and being instruments of courage, grace and truth in our society. 

These points in the Holy Father’s message, in which he challenges us to be fervent in prayer, have their echoes in the work that we are commencing today.  The question that I would ask all of the young people here in Saint Patrick’s is – how do you consider the work that you are going to undertake?  Is it simply a fulfilment of your talents or a gateway to an adequate wage and standard of living or, like the invitation in the Gospel, do we see what we are about to commence in life as a real vocation?  Then we see it – Jesus saw it as what he could do to respond to his Father and after a full life of teaching endured a terrible death because he understood that what he did had its purpose despite the suffering. 

A vocation is a calling from God t