13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

13th Sunday in Ordinary Time

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT ST PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL, MELBOURNE, ON SUNDAY 28 JUNE 2009 AT 11AM.INTRODUCTIONDear Brothers and Sisters,Despite the frailty and many challenges of life we are invited to come to Our Lord knowing that he is the author and giver of all life, the great healer who calls us to be vigilant and watchful, realising that this life is but a preparation for the great life with Jesus which will occur after our death.We too have to show to the world the reason for the hope that is in us, as we call to mind our sins, the marvellous power of Christ and the...

12th Sunday in Ordinary Time



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s Gospel story of the storm illustrates the fear of the apostles despite the fact that they are with Jesus.  We are challenged that in our life we too can find peace and serenity if we walk with Jesus no matter what may be the challenges and problems of our daily living.

At the beginning of the 21st century there are many storms, doubts, challenges, hatreds.  Living with Jesus means that we will not only live out the storm, but offer light to a troubled world.

Let us call to mind our sins that the Lord will give us light and strength.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Many of us have had the experience of driving a car in the midst of a storm.  If it is particularly bad and if there are hailstones people will pull off to the side of the road or if you have to step out into the rain the raindrops come at you like stinging pellets and you feel very insecure.

Out on the sea with tumultuous waves and tossing craft we see that our security is threatened.  The shore is distant and there is no escape.  Jesus rebukes the wind and calms the sea.  This is a reminder of how Jesus is equal to the storms and challenges of our life and the only way to address these challenges is to have faith in him.

What is significant in the Gospel story is that Jesus initiated the crossing of the lake.  When the sea became rougher and rougher and the wind stronger and stronger and the rain almost unbelievable, we see that in calming the storm Jesus showed his divine power to bring the apostles and each of us to a response of faith.

So often we can depend upon ourselves and when things go wrong the last person we turn to is Jesus.  Yet, the same Lord who rebuked the apostles for their lack of faith challenges us as to what we place our faith and trust in.  Faith is believing in God and entrusting our lives to him because he is God, because what he said is true and because he will never desert us.  It may be small comfort to us that the apostles were so frightened that they forgot who they were.  If they had taken the lesson that Jesus taught them again and again of the fact that he and God the Father are one, that he is come to give us life more abundantly and that he has emerged as one who claimed to bring us to our destiny, then it is illogical for the apostles to be afraid if Jesus is there with them in the boat.

This can perhaps be a challenge to us too because if we receive Jesus frequently in the Eucharist, if we believe that he is God, the only Son of the Father, then we can be quite sure that we will never be tried beyond our capacity to endure and that faith in the risen Lord and in his power in our lives is the thing which will motivate and carry us through whatever we may undergo on our journey.

Like the apostles we can be struck with awe and say to one another:  “Who can this be?  Even the wind and the sea obey him.”  (Mark 4:41)  The challenge, however, is deeper to realise that God is God, he has given us the gift of faith, he has made us heirs to his promises through baptism and through Christ and his Church we will be sustained for the whole of our life and beyond.  It is significant too that one of the utterances Jesus used most of all was ‘do not be afraid’.  This highlights for us, as it should have highlighted for the apostles, that if Christ is with us, as Saint Paul says, ‘who then can be against if the Spirit of our God sets us free?’

This dramatic Gospel story is not merely an illustration for two thousand years ago, it is a reminder of the constant presence and power of Christ in our lives so that when we emerge from this Church Jesus will be in our heart, on our lips, in our mind and strengthening our will.

+ Denis J. Har

Mass for 120 years of Genazzano College, Kew



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am deeply honoured to be with the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus, with your Principal, Mrs. Patricia Cowling, the staff and alumnae and pupils of Genazzano College, as we celebrate 120 years since the foundation of the College in May 1889.

The word ‘fidelis’ on the College crest underpins the desire to accomplish God’s will with fidelity in all things, and the crown indicates the devotion to Jesus of all at Genazzano, united with Mary and the women who stood at the foot of his cross.

We join to praise and thank God.  Remembering our humanity, however, we call to mind our sins that we may be transformed into what our God wishes us to be.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with esteem and joy that I as archbishop join with you in celebrating the 120 years of Genazzano College.  The ideals, which have endured through all this time, are illustrated clearly on the College crest.  The shield shows that school days prepare us for the battles of life.  The word ‘fidelis’ that we are always to accomplish God’s will with fidelity.  The word ‘Genazzano’ links to the patronage of Our Lady of Good Counsel at the town named after her in Italy.  The use of the scroll gives the commitments of the Faithful Companions of Jesus to education, retreats and missions.  The crown shows fidelity to Jesus Christ, quoting the words of Saint John in the Book of the Apocalypse:  “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life.”

Genazzano thus is a College inserted into the heart of the life of the Church.  Its call is to be constantly faithful to Jesus and to the Church which he founded, in union with her Magisterium and nourished by the love and self-giving of Mary, her Mother.  The history of the College reflects all of these things.

Most of you will know that Mother Marie Madeleine D’Houet founded the Sisters, Faithful Companions of Jesus, in Amiens, France.  Following the death of her husband she was inspired by the desire of founding a religious community, which she did in 1820.  By the time of her death in 1858 twenty houses had been established in England, Switzerland, Italy, Scotland, Ireland and Belgium, and at the end of the 19th century there was further expansion to North America and Australia, Canada and the U.S.

On 1st June 1882 twelve Sisters arrived and started work in Richmond.  By 1888 there were thirty-four Sisters in the community and in the following year, 1889, eight Sisters moved to the new convent/boarding school, which became Genazzano.  The 1880s were really boom years when our city was known as “marvellous Melbourne” with bright hopes for the future.  Grand public buildings were begun and there had been a demand for more schools.  Kew was a gracious suburb of prosperity.

It is not surprising that right from the beginning the F.C.J.’s spirit of intellectual inquiry and aspiration to excellence in education was present.  The first Head Mistress, Mother Stanislaus Stock, was an excellent teacher, a good disciplinarian, and already had many years experience in the classroom, knowing F.C.J. convents across Europe and their devotions and practices.  The Sisters were involved in schooling both for the poor and for those who were better off, following what Mother Madeleine had established in France in the 1840s.

We are gathered in one of the most significant buildings designed by the architect, William Wilkinson Wardell.  It is not surprising that the same architect was chosen by the F.C.J. Sisters for the convent and school in Kew.  The story of the College is one of increasing prosperity and high standards.  I believe it is absolutely essential to see for the past, present and

Vespers for the opening of the Year for Priests


My dear brother bishops, priests and deacons,

Dear seminarians,

Dear brothers and sisters,

The great Feast of the Sacred Heart shows the constant goodness and compassion of Jesus Christ.  It is a fitting day for us to inaugurate the Year of the Priest because a priest is another Christ and is called constantly to bring Christ to others.  This afternoon we are united with Pope Benedict, who will be celebrating Vespers in similar circumstances in Saint Peter’s.  We come to place our priests under the special patronage of Saint John Mary Vianney, the Parish Priest of Ars.   As in this Feast of the Sacred Heart we see the riches of God’s love, the generosity of one who was divine, sharing our human nature and lifting us up to the glory of God the Father, so too, the priesthood consists in sharing “in a spiritually intense new life and in a new lifestyle which was inaugurated by the Lord Jesus and which the apostles made their own.”

We know that priestly ordination creates new men who are bestowed with the gifted office of sanctifying, teaching and governing.  Because we are human beings, there is an indispensable struggle for moral perfection which has to live in every authentic priestly heart.  Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster said, on the day of his installation:

“Saint Paul was a zealous believer in God.  His conversion was not to belief in God, but to God’s full presence in Jesus Christ.  This fact is important to us all.  Through life-long belief Paul was already open to the things of God, ready to recognise the touch of the divine in the unexpected ….  From Paul then we learn that the inner life of each one of us is crucial for our well-being.  In our hearts we need the same openness to God as he had.  This is expressed in daily moments of tranquility and prayer when we regain a true sense of proportion, recognising afresh that God alone fulfils our deepest yearnings.  Without such moment we quickly lose a sense of who we truly are.  It is before God that we gather here today that he may touch and heal us." (Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Installation Mass, Westminster Cathedral, 21 May 2009.)

Pope Benedict has said that the effectiveness of a priest’s ministry depends upon his yearning for spiritual perfection.  Even more importantly the Pope said:  “The centrality of Christ leads to a correct valuation of ordained ministry.  Without priestly ministry there would be no Eucharist, no mission and even no Church.”

My dear brothers and sisters, I put before our priests, deacons and bishops the reality of the love of Jesus Christ which gave him his mission as Redeemer.  As priests we are called to share in that mission, to search out and to save what is lost, to be zealous for souls.

To do this, our moments of prayer and reflection are vital.  We need also, and this is where a special challenge comes to the lay people here present, the constant support in prayer and encouragement of our lay people.  Priests and religious seek after the perfection that is proper to theirs.  Lay people, living in the world have a similar goal.  Your prayers and encouragement and realisation of the absolute paramount nature of the priesthood in Catholic life, is so important for a new realisation of what the priesthood is.  In the same way as it was Andrew who said to Simon Peter, “We have found the Messiah” (John 1:41) and then he brought Simon to Jesus (John 1:42), so it is important for us to always be with Jesus.  We know from first experience when priests allow less and less time for being with the Lord, they lose, for all their often heroic activity, the inner strength that sustains them.

Today, my dear friends, we priests and deacons examine ourselves.  We invite you, as seminarians and lay people, to pray

Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Leslie Rogers Tomlinson



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

With joy at the outpouring of the Spirit which ensures that the work of the Saviour lives and grows in our time, I welcome you to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Les Tomlinson.  We are united with the Tomlinson family and people of the Archdiocese, as we thank God for the paternal love of Pope Benedict in giving us a new Auxiliary Bishop to teach, sanctify and govern God’s people with wisdom and love.

Pope Benedict’s care is made visibly present by the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzarotto.  We ask him to extend to the Holy Father our deep gratitude and our prayers.

My brother archbishops and bishops, priests and deacons, religious and laity, are here at this moment of celebration and sincere prayer.  It is in Christ that we live and have our being.  It is Christ that we proclaim as humbly we call to mind our sins.


“It is not ourselves that we are preaching but Christ Jesus as the Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.”  (2 Cor 4:5)

When Jesus entrusted to his apostles with the power of the Holy Spirit, the mission to teach and gather every race and people into a single flock, to be guided and governed into the way of holiness, he did so in such a way that there would be ensured an unbroken succession from one generation to the next, as a sign of his constant, provident care.

Over the two thousand years of the Church’s existence and throughout the 162 years of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, this loving service has been continued with distinction by my predecessors and those associated with them, supported by the courageous service of priests and deacons, first from Ireland then from Australia, and enriched by those born in a myriad of countries.  These come from diocesan priesthood and a wide range of religious orders.

The whole mission of the Church is that we be formed into Christ, nourished by Word and sacrament, and missioned to bring the Gospel to every creature.  In this evening’s Gospel reading, Our Lord prays especially for those he calls to be apostles and, in a particular way, for the Bishop-elect:  “consecrate them in the truth:  your word is truth.” (John 17:17.)

However, it is the image of Jesus the Good Shepherd, prefigured in the Ezekiel reading which is the primary point of reference for priests and bishop alike.  Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote:  “No one in fact can be considered a pastor worthy of the name unless he is made one with Christ through love.” (Saint Thomas Aquinas, on the Gospel of John, X 3.)

Pope John Paul went further in his final homily for the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2001, when he said “the ideal figure of the Bishop on which the Church continues to count, is that of the pastor who, configured to Christ by his holiness of life, expends himself generously for the Church entrusted to him, while at the same time bearing in his heart a concern for all the churches throughout the world (cf 2 Cor 11:28)”.

By ordination an auxiliary bishop becomes a member of the College of Bishops and shares in its function, united with the successor of Peter and in its pastoral powers of teaching, sanctifying and governing in collegial communion throughout the Universal Church.  From union with the College of Bishops derives union of an auxiliary bishop in mind and heart with the bishop and diocese to which he is appointed.

My brother Les, since your ordination to the priesthood on 18 August 1972 by Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, you have been a generous and exemplary priest.  You are well known to priests and people in Melbourne and Hobart for your patience and goodness, your love of the Ch