Mass for the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy at Corpus...

Mass for the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy at Corpus...

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART FOR THE AUSTRALIAN CONFRATERNITY OF CATHOLIC CLERGY AT CORPUS CHRISTI COLLEGE, CARLTON, ON WEDNESDAY 22 JUNE 2011 AT 5.30PM. INTRODUCTION Dear Brother Bishops and Priests, I warmly welcome you to Melbourne, as today we celebrate the martyrdom of two remarkable defenders of the Catholic faith; the Bishop, and later Cardinal, John Fisher, and the Lord Chancellor of England, Thomas More.  Their peerless example of faithfulness to their vocation, to the Gospel and to love of the Church is inspiring as we gather for this annual meeting. Let us call...

Feast of Corpus Christi



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This is a threefold celebration; in the Eucharist which we celebrate, in the Sacrament we receive, and in the reality that Christ is really, truly and substantially present among us.

As we thank God for the reality of his presence with us on our journey, let us call to mind our sins that we may worthily celebrate this Eucharist.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At every time of the day and night a priest or a Eucharistic minister offers the body and blood of Christ to others with the words: “the Body of Christ”. This is the reality of Christ’s presence with us and we are invited, not merely to believe in the one whom we are receiving, but to know that he is present with us at every moment.

In the Old Testament the manna, God’s gift from heaven, which would sustain the body of the faithful, was regarded as being unsatisfactory food. It was even scorned by the bored Israelites because it was ordinary and regular. Yet, in the Eucharist the food of Christ is never ordinary. It is our God who loves each of us as if we were the only person in the world. Christ is truly present among us as we celebrate the Eucharist. We are led beyond our human awareness to the great spiritual awareness that God is with us. If we do not believe Saint Paul condemns our eating and drinking the body and blood of Christ as just going through the motions.

So Corpus Christi is a wake up call to the wonder and reality that God meets with us, that he enters into us, and that he wants our love. The gift of the Eucharist is a sharing in the life of Jesus. He says: “I am the living bread”. As bread Jesus provides the food not for earthly life but for eternal life, but this did not happen before he was broken on the cross. As he gave himself in suffering and sacrifice he gave himself to us that we might have life.

As we share in the body and blood of Christ we become members of his Church and we too are called to suffer, to struggle, to die, to rise again. Saint John Chrysostom says: “What is the bread actually, the body of Christ. What do communicants become, the body of Christ. Just as the bread comes from many grains, which remain themselves and are not distinguished from one another because they are united, so we are united with Christ.” 

As we celebrate the gift of the body and blood of Christ, we celebrate the gift of Christ to one another and one another to Christ. Jesus is our life. Jesus is our living bread. It is him that we can trust. May Jesus live in our minds and hearts forever.

+ Denis J. Hart,

Episcopal Ordinaton of Most Rev. Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this Vigil Mass of Saint John the Baptist, the great precursor of the Lord, I welcome you to the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Vincent Long.

Together with his parents, Quang and Mung, his brothers and sisters, and so many friends, we stand in the presence of the Lord who has called Bishop Vincent to be a successor of the Apostles.

We are honoured by the presence of Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio, whose presence shows the loving care of Pope Benedict, Archbishop Philip Wilson, President of our Bishops’ Conference, together with Australian and visiting bishops and priests.

In a special way we thank Father Marco Tasca, General Minister of the Conventual Franciscan Order, his Councillors and members of the Order, who have nurtured Bishop Vincent and freely given him to the service of the Church. 

As brother priests and people from near and far, with humble joy we remember our weakness and the transforming power of God as we call to mind our sins.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We have come from near and far to share in the Ordination of Bishop Vincent Long as a successor of the Apostles chosen by Christ.  The laying on of hands confers the Sacrament of Orders in its fullness, so that the work of our Saviour lives and grows in our time.  The Readings speak of the choice of Bishop Vincent, chosen in love with God’s Word in his mouth to build and plant God’s holy people, nourish and strengthen them by his word.

From his birth forty-nine and a half years ago in Gia-Kiem, Vietnam, the love of Jesus Christ has always filled Bishop Vincent with hope.  The Spirit of Christ and attendant sufferings accompanied him as he entered the Minor Seminary, faced its closure and escaped to Australia.  He then joined the Conventual Franciscans, where he was ordained and has served with great distinction as a Pastor, Formator, Leader, and Assistant to the General Minister.

He has lived the love of Our Lord in the spirit of Saint Francis of Assisi; in obedience, chastity, without anything of his own, serving God and his Church in humility, simplicity and with gladness of heart.  A similar openness to God and to the Church has characterised Bishop Vincent’s call to be a bishop to serve the people of God.  He has been supported by his brothers in the Conventual Order in their readiness to give one of their number to meet the needs of this great Archdiocese.

In welcoming Bishop Vincent among us I assure him of the love and support of the bishops, priests and people of Melbourne and of the Church.  Every bishop is part of the Apostolic College who, in communion with and under the successor of Peter, teach, sanctify and govern the people of God.

Bishop Vincent, in your great service of the Church Universal and of the particular Church of Melbourne, you will bring a contemplative outlook and a compassionate heart “entering into communion with the men and women of our times for whom you are to be the witness and servant of hope”.

In imitating Christ, the Good Shepherd, you will face the anxieties and expectations of today’s world by announcing a word of truth and love and by fostering activity which goes to the heart of humanity and to its needs.  By being united to Christ and faithful to his Gospel and in openness to this world you are to be the harbinger of hope.

I know that here in Melbourne as a teacher of the faith, whole and entire, as a sanctifier and leader in worship, in accordance with the authentic tradition of the Church, and as one who governs and unites God’s people in love you will find your true vocation.

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Mass for 25th anniversary of Cursillo, St Brigid's Chruch, North Fitzroy



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Together with your Chaplain, Father Delmar Silva, and your President, Lucy Correa, and all of you, I wish to celebrate this Mass thanking God for the blessing of twenty-five years of the Hispanic Cursillo Movement in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

To live Cursillo is to discover and experience Jesus Christ.  We are part of a great Movement to build a world founded on love and friendship, discovering the spreading of the love of Christ worldwide in more than sixty countries.

As we begin this Mass, let us ask the Lord for pardon, light and strength.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We come to thank God for twenty-five years of Cursillo in the Archdiocese.  The deep experience of Jesus Christ and the effort to bring his love and peace to the world are remarkable gifts, not merely to your organisation, but through you to the whole Church.

We know that after its Spanish origins the first Cursillo was held in the United States in 1957 and eight years later the Movement was established in Leichhardt in Sydney.  Almost at the same time from Armidale University, the Movement expanded.  Later four Spanish Cursillistas who could speak English agreed to go on team and came to Melbourne.  Together with a Spiritual Director the first English-speaking Men’s Cursillo in Armadale in July 1965 and Women’s in December in 1965 spelt the beginning of the Movement.  By 1966 the first men’s and women’s weekends were held in Melbourne with the women’s team coming from Sydney and the men’s team coming from Sydney and Canberra.

Today we reflect on the great gift of Cursillo, which helps people to discover themselves and their relationship with Christ and with others.  More than ever in this particular time the Cursillo message shows how the Gospel can be lived in everyday life by providing the support of brothers and sisters to enable the carrying of the Gospel into the life of family and community.

Today it is important also for us to remember the fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to get to know God, self and others.  We have to remember that Jesus did not come simply to re-state what was already taught by the Pharisees or the Mosaic Law.  Today we are in the world of the new evangelisation and traditionally the work of that new evangelisation is to help people to engage with the Gospel, to bring non-believers into the Christian community and to provide a living, vibrant life for all of us.

What is unique to Cursillo is the need for people to be continually energised for Sacraments, for spiritual life and for mission.

Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict believe that the new evangelisation is completing the mission of Christ and revitalising the members of the Church by leading those who do not know Jesus normally into a deep, personal relationship with him.  As the process of conversion begins with someone who already claims to know Jesus and be his follower, so the focus of the Cursillo Movement and of the new evangelisation is our deeper conversion to Christ and consequently to the Gospel he preached. 

In the life of each of us there are deep corners where the light of the Gospel has not yet penetrated and we discover by fostering a deep personal relationship with Christ that we can overcome these.  When Pope John Paul said in Redemptoris Mission, n. 3:  “I sense that the moment has come to commit all the Church’s energy to a new evangelisation and to the mission for all peoples.  No believer in Christ can avoid the supreme duty to proclaim the Gospel.”  Indeed the Synod on the New Evangelisation which is to come next year will remind us of this. 

We want to deepen our relationship wi

Trinity Sunday



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity, remembering that God invites us to be drawn into the love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We need to remember that God is not an abstraction, but a Trinity of persons who love and give for each other in such a powerful way that that love is poured into our lives and our hearts.

As we call to mind our sins, let us ask that we will live in love echoing the perfect giving of the Trinity and helped by the grace that they give us.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am always touched by the words at the beginning of today’s Gospel:  “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost, but have eternal life.”      This indicates clearly to us that God is a real person who wishes to relate to us and to invite us to belief. 

Today as we celebrate this Mass we have to believe above all in God’s love for us and in the grace which he can give us.  If we say yes to the invitation then we will live a full, alert, grace-filled life of ready generosity for God and others.

The constant living of our faith reminds us that God is three persons, really distinct, but united.  We make the sign of the Cross – in the name of the Father, the Son and Spirit – in whose name we are also baptised.  When we come to the Eucharist we receive Jesus, whose privilege was always to do the will of the Father and when he was about to return to heaven reminded his disciples that a little time and he would be with them and then he would leave them for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  That reminds us powerfully that the love of Father and Son is a real thing, mirrored in the real love of parents and children.  What is the difference of course is that God’s love does not remain within the family circle so to speak.  The love of God is poured into our hearts by his Holy Spirit who is given us. 

So when we receive the Holy Spirit in Confirmation it is because of the love of the Father and the Son.  When we come to Reconciliation it is Jesus who forgives us in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit.  In anointing when we say: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit.  May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up”, again this reminds us of the activity of the Trinity in our everyday life.  God is not an abstraction.  When we come to Eucharistic Adoration we are in the living presence of Jesus and after Confirmation our bodies are the living temples of the Holy Spirit.

So God cannot be remote.  God is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  Let us remember that wherever we may be, whatever we may be doing, God is near to us, involved in our lives and carrying us forward to eternity.

+ Denis J. Hart,