Recent Addresses and Pastoral Letters

Address given by Archbishop Denis Hart at the Farewell Mass for Cardinal George Pell

ADDRESS GIVEN BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART AT THE FAREWELL MASS FOR CARDINAL GEORGE PELL

IN SAINT MARY’S CATHEDRAL, SYDNEY,

ON THURSDAY, 27TH MARCH 2014 AT 7.30 P.M.

 

Your 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 Holy See.

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 leadership. 

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.

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