Media and Communications Office
Recently Bishop Peter Elliott, assisted by Monsignor Charles Portelli, blessed a recently installed set of Stations of the Cross in St Philip’s Church, Blackburn North.
Restored in Melbourne by Mulholland Restoration and Decorating, the antique set is likely German in origin and were sourced from the United States where they would have been in a church for a century or so.
After they had been blessed, the individual crosses were installed by parish priest Fr Nicholas Dillon atop the wooden framed plaster images as the choir sang ‘Crux Fidelis’ by King John IV of Portugal.
Bishop Elliott then led the congregation in the Stations of the Cross, accompanied by Franz Liszt’s dramatic setting of the ‘Via Crucis’ for choir and soloists, with Fr Dillon at the organ.
Liszt had been inspired to compose the ‘Via Crucis’ after having attended the Stations of the Cross in the Colosseum in Rome. He wrote: ‘I should be indeed happy if some day my music could be sounded there, however, even so it would be insufficient to express my innermost emotion which overwhelmed me when once there, amidst a pious procession, I knelt and several times repeated the words: O! Crux Ave! Spes unica!’ (O! Hail Cross! Our only hope!)
In his address at the start of the ceremony, Bishop Elliott thanked the generous sponsors in the parish who financed the project and whose gift is made, ‘not only to the worshipping community today in North Blackburn, but to the future generations of men, women and children who will frequent this beautiful church, long after all of us have completed the great journey of Christian life on earth.’