Media and Communications Office
As Catholic Education Week draws to a close, culminating with St Patrick’s Day celebrations on Sunday 17 March, thousands of students from primary and secondary schools throughout the Archdiocese gathered for Mass in St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Archbishop Peter A. Comensoli was the principal celebrant and was joined at the altar by Bishop Mark Edwards, Vicar General Msgr Greg Bennet, Dean Fr Werner Utri, Fr John O’Reilly and Cathedral Master of Ceremonies Fr Linh Pham.
Following a colourful, bagpipe-led procession of proudly flown school banners, students squeezed eagerly into the pews of the cathedral as they awaited the Archbishop’s opening remarks.
However, Archbishop Peter’s first action was to traverse the alter and introduce himself to the many students sitting in areas with obscured views relying on television screens to get a glimpse of the action.
During his homily, the Archbishop continued to surprise and keep students on their toes as he descended from the pulpit to be closer to his congregation and test the capabilities of his wireless microphone.
‘I’m going to go for a wander,’ he said smiling, ‘especially for the students here today, hello to you all.
‘I was rather impressed by the banners you carried into the cathedral today. What really impressed me was how many saints appeared in the names of your schools. What a wonderful vision.
‘It showed us that saints are among us, but I wonder if you’ve thought about what a saint is. What makes a saint? You might tell me that a saint is a holy person and you’d be right,’ said the Archbishop as he slowly paced down St Patrick’s nave. ‘But what is a holy person? Well here’s a short answer and it’s only four words. Someone found of God.’
Archbishop Peter then introduced himself to several students, explaining they had each been found by God. He declared each student a saint.
‘For all of us, even me of all people, we have been found by God. All of us are saints. But how do we then live that life? How might we build a friendship with God? Jesus extends a hand to each one of us saying “you are my friend”. Are you willing to put your hand out and meet him?’
‘Today we celebrate St Patrick who is truly a Saint with capital S. We’re just saints with a lowercase S. Patrick was someone who went to Ireland as a migrant and made it his home,’ said Archbishop Peter before asking those who had been born overseas or whose parents had been born overseas to stand.
The Archbishop told the congregation that whether standing or not, ‘we’re all here now. We’ve been sent by Patrick to go to someone else to say we’ve been found by God. That’s the gift of Jesus and the Lord.’
‘Happy St Patrick’s Day,’ he concluded.