Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul

Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT SAINT PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY, 29TH JUNE 2008 AT 11AM. INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, In honouring the holy Apostles, Peter and Paul, we remember especially Peter’s Confession of Faith with his life, and the tireless preaching of Paul throughout the then known world. This year we are beginning a special Pauline Year, which will last until 29th June next year, on the occasion of the two thousandth anniversary of his birth, which historians have placed between the years 7 and 10 A.D. It is fitting that we...

Address at the launch of Fr Flader's book, Question Time, at the Thomas More Centre


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with delight that I join you to launch Father John Flader’s, ‘Question Time – 150 Questions and Answers on the Catholic Faith’.

While preparing this talk I came to note that Father Flader was ordained a priest in the same year as I.  In the years I have known him he has always been a great priest, a wise presenter of the truths of faith, who would never shirk the difficulty of any mission, but whose only desire was that people would know their faith in a clear, concise way and be able to live it.

I am particularly pleased that the questions and answers published in temporary form, whether in the Catholic Weekly or in The Record, have now achieved a permanent status.  They have a conciseness, a freshness, and an openness to the riches of theology and are fully up to date with the most recent teachings of the Magisterium.

The book is a worthy successor to the anthologies of Doctor Les Rumble, M.S.C., in another place and time, whose replies also were a strong articulation of the faith.

As I read the book, for me the ease of style, the clarity of presentation, the constant references to The Catechism of the Catholic Church and other authentic sources gave me great confidence that what I was reading is presented in an intelligent and intelligible way.  It will be of great value to all who are involved in handing on the faith – priests, teachers, catechists, those involved in instruction of converts and the inquiring Catholic who wishes to know the answers to the questions.  His answers are rich in the Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church and his presentation is helpful and informative.  Even a quick look at the index sees a thorough treatment on many matters, which have been ignored in the last thirty years.  The teaching on salvation, the last things, Our Lady, the Real Presence, moral issues, prayer and devotion and the significance of the liturgical seasons.  All of these will challenge us constantly to reflect and by our questioning to come to a deeper knowledge of the faith. 

Faith is a relationship with God because of what he has revealed and entrusted to the Church to teach until the end of time.  The searching human intellect, always with an obedience of faith, must continue to grapple with the questions that arise and thereby come to a deeper understanding of faith and love.  Faith supports our questioning, truth guides it and brings it to the light.  This book, “Question Time” will be an invaluable help to all who sincerely wish to continue this journey in union with Jesus Christ and the Church, which he founded to guide and teach us for all time.

I would like to thank Father Flader for his friendship, his consistent priestly witness and for the magnificent work which he did here in Melbourne and in Sydney.  Indeed, I might have legitimately had discussions with the Archbishop of Sydney that we lost Father Flader from here far too early in my time as Archbishop. 

Thank you Father Flader.  May the Lord be with you in the work that you do and sustain you as a great and articulate teacher of the faith.  May your influence long benefit the Church in Australia.  I recommend ‘Question Time’ to you and I declare it officially launched for dissemination and sale.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne

Mass for the Dedication of the Altar at St Jude's, Langwarrin



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the course of my visit to encourage you in the faith it is my great privilege tonight to dedicate the new altar in Saint Jude’s Church.  This is intended to highlight that in our liturgy and in the public worship of the Church, Jesus Christ is central. 

As Jesus gave himself for love of us to the Father, even to death on the altar of the cross, so the Christian altar is the place where Christ becomes present and is given in an unbloody manner to bring us his salvation.  From the altar originates the very nature of this building as a holy place set apart for prayer and the worship of Christ present in the Eucharist.  The sacred species preserved in the tabernacle for adoration and for communion of the sick are a reminder of the constant presence of God among his people.

As we sprinkle this place and this altar with holy water, let us remember that as baptised we are members of the community of the faithful called to new and everlasting life.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With much joy we come, nourished by the Word of God, to dedicate this altar in Saint Jude’s Church.  The desire to provide a more permanent altar reminds us that Christ is permanently and in a stable way at the centre of all that we do.

Jesus Christ is the one true altar and his importance was prefigured in Noah and Abraham building altars in the Old Testament, as well as the sacrificial lamb which Moses killed to prefigure the altar of the cross, because Jesus went to die on a place that he made holy by the fact that he was God, so that our sins engulfed and forgiven in his blood are forgiven through the sacramental life of the Church.

The altar that we are about to dedicate is the place of Christ’s sacrifice.  The blood of forgiveness and the water of baptism are ushered in through the Sacraments of the Church as Christ’s joyful forgiveness, life and peace are given to us.

We are gathered around this altar as members of the baptised in praise and thanksgiving of Christ, our High Priest, who won redemption for us.

In a few moments we will ask the saints of heaven to join us in prayer as we prepare our hearts.  Relics of the saints are able to be placed under the altar.  This is followed by the prayer of dedication.

As you were anointed in Baptism and Confirmation and Father Wood and I were anointed when we were made priests, so too this altar is anointed as a place of holiness, mystery and life giving power for our lives.  The fragrance of incense placed around the altar shows that our prayers go directly to God who is the light of the world. 

After the clothing and lighting of the altar the candles are lit to remind us that Christ is our true priest, the light of the world, and from the altar of the cross comes holiness, thanksgiving and forgiveness.  Then we offer the sacrifice of Christ taking bread and wine separately to show that through his death we will come to eternal life.

We come to the table of the Lord knowing that the strength which comes from Christ lives with us and accompanies us now and forever.

I congratulate Father Wood and each of you on what has been achieved here.  I ask especially that this church may be a place of silence and reverence, that people be permitted the space and freedom to pray at all times and that you and I will know that Jesus is visibly present and active through what happens at this altar, through his living presence in the tabernacle and through the sacramental life wh

Mass for the 60th anniversary of the Cabrini Sisters at the Cabrini Hospital Chapel



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with great joy that we gather as Cabrini Sisters, members of the hospital staff and community, and strong and loyal friends to celebrate this Mass of thanksgiving to God for the 60th anniversary of the Cabrini Sisters’ arrival here in Australia.

It is a moment of truly great achievement, of recognising the special charism of the Cabrini Sisters and the remarkable development in medical science and care, which has characterised Cabrini Hospital.

As we call to mind our sins let us ask the Lord that we will be open to the grace and light that only he can give.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am delighted to be with you as we celebrate the special 60th anniversary for the Cabrini Sisters.  It is a recognition of their contribution to the life of the Church and especially to the sixty years in Australia.

Frances Cabrini had been born in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano in the Province of Lombardy in northern Italy on 15th July 1850.  Her father was a farmer and Frances was the tenth of eleven children, only four of whom survived beyond adolescence.  Her parents’ strong faith was passed on by word and example.  It was because of this that she developed a strong devotion to the Sacred Heart.

She boarded for five years at the school in Arluno to graduate as a schoolteacher.  Because the school was run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart she shared the Christian life of a convent where the Sacred Heart was the centre of devotion.

She asked to join the Congregation, but was not accepted because of her poor health.  In the same year, 1868, she received a teacher’s diploma and returned home beginning work in Bidardo in 1871.  Three years later she was asked to go to Codogno to undertake the House of Providence, a girls’ orphanage.  Five of her companions at the orphanage wanted to become religious sisters and they began a novitiate, leading to her profession at the age of 27 in 1877.

The Congregation spread to a number of countries and on 14th January 1948 the Sisters came here to Australia to take over the Saint Benedict’s Hospital which had been under the administration of the Sisters of Mercy.  A long journey from Rome to Greece, to Athens, to Baghdad, to Bahrain, to Karachi, to Calcutta, to Rangoon, to Singapore and Darwin, where they were met by two priests sent by Bishop Fox.  Later they flew to Cloncurry, Sydney and to Melbourne.

Doctor Mannix waited for them at the Cathedral and the ten first Sisters arrived at Saint Benedict’s at 6.30 p.m. on 24th January 1948, after a ten-day arduous journey.

The facilities they found were indeed limited.  There were many needs for patients, for operating theatres, for equipment.  Some of the Sisters painted beds and chairs, washed the walls and the linen, raised funds from raffles.  They worked hard to establish a facility that would be noted for the high standard of patient care. 

Ten years later in 1958 a larger hospital was constructed adjacent to the old building.  This work has been continued by all at Cabrini and entering the 21st century these services have expanded to what we know is the magnificent hospital of today.

Mother Cabrini’s vision was truly caring and missionary.  Despite the declining presence from the initial ten Sisters, responsibility for carrying the Cabrini spirit forward rests with the staff.  Cabrini is noted for a direct care, a culture of service, a building of the com

Address at the launch of the RE curriculum framework: 'Coming to Know, Worship and Love'


I join with Stephen Elder, the Director of Catholic Education, and Maria Kirkwood, Assistant Director, Religious Education & Pastoral Care, in welcoming you here today.  Today marks an important moment in the Archdiocese of Melbourne as the official launch of the Primary Religious Education Curriculum Framework: Coming to Know, Worship and Love.

The Framework has been developed to assist Principals, Religious Education Coordinators and Teachers in our primary schools with the continued implementation of the mandated religious education student texts: To Know Worship and Love.  I want to reiterate that the primary textbook for religious education in schools is the To Know Worship and Love series.  They contain what needs to be taught at each level of schooling.  Copies should be in the hands of the pupils and taken home.

The title of these texts gives an insight into the theology and the pedagogy contained in them. 
To Know means to come to an understanding of, to be engaged in a search for, and to come to appreciate the teaching of Jesus Christ unfolding in Scripture and entrusted to the Church.
To Worship means to join in and to celebrate the saving rites of the Church.  It means to come together to pray as a Christian community, to gather for liturgy and to receive the sacraments.
To Love means to be called out of oneself and to take the message of the reign of God to the ends of the earth.  To love is go out to others in Jesus’ name, because we have been anointed by God to bring good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the captives, to recover sight for the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. (Luke 4)

The religious education curriculum framework being launched today has a most important other word in the title: Coming.  This stresses that the Catholic school is there to provide an invitation to its community from Jesus to “Come follow me”.  It is the school’s role to present, nurture and celebrate the rich traditions of the Catholic Church and to do so in a way that engages and enriches its community.

In modern Australia religion and religious views and values are being pushed to the periphery.  Many in society proclaim that religion has no relevance, that religion does not present a moral and ethical stance that is of value, and does not have a message that enables young people to live a meaningful life.  The Catholic Church, and the Catholic School, are often a voice in the cultural wilderness that proclaims other truths.  As the Holy Father stated in his address to Catholic Educators in the United States in April of this year:

“Education is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News.  First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth”

Furthermore, central to the total life of the school is the responsibility of evangelisation.  A key component of evangelisation is the formal religious education curriculum and today we are launching a framework to assist schools in this central endeavour of using and assimilating ‘To Know Worship and Love’.

I want to stress that the religious education curriculum needs to be both Catholic and educational.  This framework is an excellent resource for teachers in that it provides what is essentially Catholic and contains educational processes best suited to the learning needs of students.  The framework gives clear direction on the doctrinal conten