ADDRESS GIVEN BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT THE FAREWELL MASS FOR CARDINAL
ON THURSDAY, 27TH MARCH 2014 AT 7.30
Eminence, Your Excellency, Dear Brother Bishops and Priests, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Almost thirteen years from his appointment
as Archbishop of Sydney we gather to farewell Cardinal George Pell as he
prepares to leave us to be Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the
This step is taken in the way he has
always lived; as a man of faith and of the Church, of loving obedience to the
Holy Father and committing his considerable energy and talent to whatever will
further the work of the Church.
Each of us will have special memories
tonight. These will be precious as we
assure him of our esteem and prayers.
For fifty-four years I have known
George Pell and respected his friendship, his intelligence and gifts, his love
and devotion to the Church and his vision of a renewed Church with Jesus Christ
at the centre. All his endeavours here
in Sydney have been directed to that great goal.
His arrival in this beautiful city was
preceded by experience as pastor, leader of Aquinas Teachers College in
Ballarat, Seminary Rector, Auxiliary Bishop and Archbishop of Melbourne. Here in Sydney he has built on the priorities
he there established.
His vision is of full Catholic
teaching, worship and experience of Catholic life and a commitment to justice,
which he already experienced as a bishop working with Caritas. Among the Bishops he has been renowned for
his commitment to Catholic education, to doctrine and to furthering the
contribution which the Church can make to society in interface with civil
authorities, parishes, religious and organisations.
I have always found George Pell ready
to engage with all types of people. His
fostering and encouragement of youth, the provision of solid texts for
religious education, his support of the two universities and care of their
alumni and the remarkable initiative of World Youth Day followed the inimitable
example of John Paul II as a leader and father of youth inspiring the love of
Jesus as Lord of their life.
Accompanying his work has been a huge
desire to promote a clear and right understanding of our faith in its doctrinal
expression and to promote in young people a sense of vocation in their chosen
state of life. Especially dear to him
are the encouragement of vocations to the priesthood, the work of the Seminary
and the goodness of the young priests.
Perhaps less known are the people who sought personal counsel from his
wisdom, deep faith and resilience, and received encouragement from his
He has been singularly well equipped
by his readiness to engage at all levels in society and to carry the Church, her
message and life into the market place.
He does leave us with so many personal memories.
On your behalf I would like to assure
him of our deep sense of gratitude for all that he has done in his time among
us. He is a tremendous source of
strength and encouragement in the leading of our Catholic life and in
articulating it in society.
Tonight, as we farewell him, we thank
him for so much. We pray the
Intercession of Mary, Help of Christians, that she will be with him in his
important work and that he will never forget his friends in the Antipodes who
are grateful that he has done so much.
Cardinal George, thank you for your
leadership, teaching, holiness, goodness and wisdom. May the light of Christ be with you always to
lead you in your new service for us all and for the Universal Church. Ad multos annos.
+ Denis J. Hart,
ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.