Silver Jubilee Mass of Saint Peter Apostle Parish, Hoppers Crossing
Celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart
at Saint Peter Apostle Parish, Hoppers Crossing,
on Tuesday, 17th December, 2002, at 7.30pm
My dear friends,
I am very happy to be with you this evening for this great occasion in the life of the parish. A Silver Jubilee is a time to pause and reflect on all the good work done; a time to give thanks for all that has been achieved and then to return refreshed to the joy of working for the Kingdom.
It is fitting that this celebration occurs in the last stretch of Advent. This is the season in which we mark the start of another Church year and look to the final goal to which the whole life of the Church points — the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation of his people. As we pause in thanksgiving, let us take the opportunity of Advent to re-focus all our efforts on our true goal. Our goal is Jesus Christ, his promises to us, and his hopes for us. As we heard from Saint Luke’s Gospel, it is easy to take the wrong attitude towards all that the Lord has done for us.
The disciples rushed back to Jesus, full of themselves because of their newfound powers. But Jesus’ message is that power is not truly ours. All power comes from God and all exercises of power must be in God’s name, not as a means to personal glory, but as a contribution to building up his Kingdom.
As Saint Paul says, we must never stop thanking God for all his mercies. We do so humbly and in the knowledge that the gifts God gives come with responsibilities attached.
It is easy to become so caught up in everyday life — including everyday parish life — that we forget to say ‘thank you’ to God. In a sense, he does not need our thanks: he is not changed in any way or made better by our thanking him. Rather, it is we who are changed for the better when we thank God. Every time we recognise that what we have achieved is actually God’s achievement in us — every time we thank him in prayer — we grow in love and grace.
Of course, the thank-you that matters most — the thank-you that saved us all — is the great thanks offered to the Father by Our Lord when he laid down his life on the Cross. In every Mass we offer that thank-you, that Eucharist, again. Like young children whose parents give them the gift so they can offer it back to their parents on Christmas day, God himself supplies us with the only gift acceptable to the Father: the body and blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
This evening, in joy and thanksgiving, we offer this great Gift once again. We give thanks for the first twenty-five years of this parish and for all who have laboured and worked here in the Lord’s name. We pray that the parish continues to grow — not just in numbers, but in love and in fidelity to Christ and his Church.
As a sign of that love and fidelity, I will later [?] bless a statue of Saint Peter. This image of Saint Peter, first of the apostles, reminds us of our unity with Peter’s successor, Pope John Paul II, and our unity with the Universal Church.
Peter, as we all know, was impetuous, hotheaded, weak, confused — but Peter had a faith so great that Christ chose him as the rock on which he established his Church. So as we ask God’s blessing on this statue, let us call to mind the part we all play within the Universal Church, within the Archdiocese, and within the parish community of Saint Peter’s. Let us pray that the rock-like faith of Peter can be ours in the hard times ahead, so that Jesus Christ and his Church remains our guide.
Above all this evening, let us give thanks to God for raising this parish and this church of Saint Peter, and for guiding it through twenty-five years of witness and grace.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.