Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Kew

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Kew

MASS CELEBRATED BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT THE CARMELITE CONVENT, KEW, ON THURSDAY 16 JULY 2009 AT 10.30 AM FOR THE FEAST OF OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL. INTRODUCTION Dear Brothers and Sisters, United with Mother Ellen and the Carmelite Sisters, today we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, remembering the special protection of the Blessed Virgin for the whole Carmelite Order and for those who wear the habit or scapular. The wearing of the scapular in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary provides special aid in the hour of death.  According to a Bull issued in 1322 Pope John...

16th Sunday in Ordinary Time



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Readings of the Mass we celebrate today speak of the integrity required of those who preach and teach to others and the way in which compassion has to be linked to any service we do.

As we call to mind our sins, let us ask the Lord that we will see our capacity to serve and do it wholeheartedly and generously while remembering our bishops and priests in prayer.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Readings we have just pondered underline for us how important it is that we be faithful to the calling which God has given us.  The Old Testament shepherds did not live up to the responsibilities which they had.  For priests this is the serious crisis of whether we draw people to the Gospel or turn them away.  For parents it is the leadership that we show and the consistent example which will draw others to following Jesus as Lord of all.

God’s compassion, however, by contrast, is limitless.  Even when people suffer he will raise up good shepherds because he himself is the Good Shepherd.  Jesus, our Lord, came to give of his all.  While keeping his identity as God he shared fully our human nature.

Saint Paul reminds the Ephesians that it is Christ who draws people together.  He helps people to see anew the life that they are asked to lead and other people who surround them.  Perhaps the most telling lesson of our Mass today is that we have to show a truly Christlike vision of others before we become able to serve them.  A second and important point is the value of prayer and reflection in the life of each of us.  Jesus saw when the apostles came back to tell him all that they had done how important some space, reflection, prayer and some peace from activity is if we are to fulfil our vocation as intelligent human beings and to be always consistent in the journey we tread among this world’s confusions.

The opening prayer highlights our human frailty when it asks the Lord to be merciful to us and to make us aware that everything we have, we have received from God, and for this reason we have to be eager to return it.

In the Australia of today where so much concentration is on individuality Our Lord invites us to know that he gives us gifts to be discovered, used and eagerly presented in service to others.

William Barclay in his commentary on this Gospel said:  “The Christian life is a continuous going into the presence of God from the presence of people and coming out into the presence of people from the presence of God.”  (W. Barclay, The Gospel of Mark, page 156)

We have to tread the middle course, allowing us to draw on the strength which comes from God and to bring it into every relationship we have with people.  We will only have strength for this if we search in quietness and lowliness for the presence of God.  But prayer and action are linked.  Prayer focuses on God and his plan for us.  Action is the fulfilment of that plan, knowing that he who gives the gift will guide us in the use of that gift.  He is compassion and love.  He always provides for his faithful.

+ Denis J. Hart,

15th Sunday in Ordinary Time



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s readings tell about the sending out of the disciples and the obvious sense of fulfilment with which they saw that they were instruments of God’s plan on earth.

Whether we are priests, religious or lay, Cardinal Newman reminded us that God has created us to do him some particular service.  From Baptism we are members of his kingdom, our particular gifts enrich and support the people of the world in which we live and bring us closer to God and to each other.

As we call to mind our sins, let us ask the Lord of all that he will help us to have confidence in our gifts, to use them in oneness with him and to trust the result.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

One of the most dangerous occupations in the world is to attempt to preach to others.  One spiritual writer suggested that God continues to call believers into the minefields of working with others.  Those who accept God’s call will know that their service is rigorous.  Indeed, it is dangerous to undertake to speak the truth where there is falsehood or to teach justice where injustice is going unchecked.

In our modern secular society there are often cries that Church people should stay in the Church and not seek to influence society.  On the contrary we argue that we as Catholics and our bishops and priests as teachers in the Catholic Church are committed to what is truest and what is best for the society and the world in which we live.

This is the point where the way we are living and our ideals collide.  We have to reflect on ourselves and present to others a God who is truth and light.  Pope John Paul wrote about the splendour of truth shining in the hearts of those who are one with God.  An automatic consequence of this, of course, is that where there is untruth, then we are on a collision course.

Notice, however, that when Jesus called his disciples to go out he sent them to places they did not know without even the basic necessities.  They were to rely completely on the welcome which they would receive.  For us Christians this is a vital concept.  That our faith in God is so strong that we will know that God will provide for everything they do.

When we listen to today’s second reading there is a tremendous list of God’s blessings.  He chose us, helped us to live through love in his presence.  He has let us know the mystery of his plans for us.  God’s plan for us is the best.  We have to keep on putting our hope in Christ.  These are the things which will sustain us in times when life becomes fragile.

Romano Guardini wrote:  “An apostle is one who is sent.  It is not he who speaks, but Christ in him.  Spiritually the apostle is seldom more than a little one; precisely this guarantees the purity of is role to be messenger.”

Like in the first reading Amos set aside his livelihood, his security and his personal preferences and went on a mission to a future that he had not planned.  Whether we are a family person, a single person, a religious, whoever we are, God’s plan for us is best even though it requires us to be flexible to what we had not imagined.

An American professor, Linda Klader, pointed out that: “A preacher may cast a vision and offer a challenge with the Word of God, but if that word does not resonate inside willing and welcoming listeners no growth takes place.”

You and I both have our role as we listen to the word of God and ponder its explanation each Sunday.  It is said that Jesus has no hands but ours to reach out to the sick, to the afflicted, to enter our homes, to be there for others.  This is the implication of being baptised; to be members of the kingdom, to be zealous for its spread, to be in love with its challenges and gifts

Slovenian Catholic Mission, Kew.



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am honoured to be with Father Cyril Bozic and each of you as today we honour your two great patrons, Saints Cyril and Methodius.

They are renowned throughout the world for their learning, their great missionary zeal and their love of Jesus Christ, which they carried to your own country and beyond.  God always chooses great witnesses as founders of faith.  It is for this reason that we pay particular honour to Saints Cyril and Methodius.

As we call to mind our sins, let us pray that our knowledge of faith will be deepened by their learning, our love of God will be strengthened by their sacrifice, and our zeal for the kingdom of heaven will remain constant amidst the challenges of a materialistic, modern world.


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

You are indeed fortunate to have as your patrons in Slovenia two great teachers of the Slavic peoples who were both outstanding figures of the 9th century Church. Constantine, whose name was later changed to Cyril, was born at Thessalonica in 826, the youngest of seven children.  His older brother, Methodius, also joined in his mission.  Cyril would later die at Rome as a young man of forty-three, while Methodius would live another sixteen years to continue their mission.

Cyril was a brilliant scholar with a talent for philosophy, a librarian, and professor in the university.  Methodius was a government official and later a monk at the monastery on Mount Olympus.  In 861 the brothers went to discover a relic of Pope Saint Clement the First, said to be on the boundaries of the Caspian Sea where the Khazars were hesitating between Judaism, Islam and Christianity.

In 862 Ratislav, the Duke of Greater Moravia, which includes present day Slovakia, wished to establish an independent church and sought to establish a Slavonic liturgy.  Cyril and Methodius, not only instructed the Slavs in their own tongue, but shared their great spiritual gifts and learning in union with Rome.  They had been invited to Rome by Pope Nicholas, who had subsequently died.  Pope Adrian II approved the Slavonic liturgy and ordained Methodius and some of their disciples.  However, during this visit to Rome Cyril became ill and took the monastic habit before his death at forty-three.  His body is finally buried at San Clemente in Rome.

Methodius continued the work that they had established for another sixteen years, returning to work among the Slavic people, promoting the Slavonic liturgy and guiding the people along the way of Jesus Christ.  The outreach of Cyril and Methodius to the Slavic peoples is considered so significant for the modern Church that their feast day has been observed throughout the Universal Church since 1888.

Their example to us is one of absolute fidelity to the faith that comes from the apostles and dedication to the Slavic peoples.  Theirs is an eloquent testimony of the strong faith that you know in Slovenia and which you have planted in this modern land of Australia.

Each of us is called to live the faith that comes from the apostles.  It is these two towering figures of Cyril and Methodius, their missionary endeavour, despite huge challenges, their loyalty to the papacy and their fundamental love of Jesus Christ that challenged them to give of their all, which shines like a beacon in today’s confused, modern world.

My dear friends, I am honoured to be with you on this day when we recognise the significance of these two men of great faith and striving.  We seek in our own lives to be faithful to that same gift, to that same initiative of God coming to meet us in Jesus Christ and carrying it to the world.

May the faith, hope and l

Address of Farewell given by Archbishop Denis Hart For Bishop Christopher Prowse


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

This evening’s Mass marks the end of a significant chapter in the life of Bishop Christopher Prowse as now he prepares for new responsibilities as leader of the Diocese of Sale.All that he has done here will find their culmination in his role as chief sanctifier, teacher and leader of the Sale Diocese with its rich rural history and burgeoning expansion in the western region.A close friend of mine is wont to describe it as 'God’s own country'.  I pray that this will be more so because of the work of Bishop Christopher.

Chris has always been known as a man of Christ and the Church.  I remember him as part of the great charismatic movement in the ‘70s.  Since his ordination by Archbishop Little on 16th August 1980 he has served as Deacon at Mitcham, Assistant Priest in Geelong and Moonee Ponds, Director of Vocations, Lecturer in Moral Theology at C.T.C.  He has resided also at Thornbury and been Parish Priest of East Thornbury.

His education gradually broadened from a Bachelor of Arts at Monash prior to Ordination, through to a Bachelor of Theology here, and in Rome a Licence in Moral Theology in 1987 and a Doctorate at the Lateran in 1995.  His ability as a teacher of Moral Theology led also to his directorship of the Catholic Pastoral Formation Centre and his work as media spokesperson for the Archdiocese.

Chris has always presented a priestly and Christ-centred vision in all that he has done.  He is a man of God and a man of prayer who has a great love of the Church and who has assisted me immeasurably as Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop.

Many of you will know his pastoral involvement in the southern and western regions, his encouragement of migrants, those involved in justice and social work and in the health apostolate.  He has initiated significant reflection on Catholic identity in our organisations and groups to enable us to come closer to a real understanding of what it means to be Catholic in these important fields.

Since 2003 he has made a gifted contribution to the Bishops’ Conference in Committees for Aboriginals, Ecumenical Affairs and Doctrine and Morals.  He is co-chair of the Anglican/Roman Catholic Dialogue, a member of the Executive of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania, and since 2007 he has been a member of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue.

We farewell him with a sense of loss because of the breadth of his contribution and the gifts of his personality.  We know because he is a man of God that the Church is richer because of his being among us.  Be sure, Chris, that you will be remembered with affection, esteem and regard by us in Melbourne as now you move to be our very dear neighbour in Sale.

May the Lord go before you in all that you do.  May you humbly convey his blessings to those you meet and may you always know that he is sufficient to whatever challenge may be given you.

Bishop Chris ‘ad multos annos’.

+ Denis J. Hart,