I am delighted to be with you today as we remember thirty years of Melton as a parish under the leadership of Father Bill Donegan, together with 125 years of your first church.
This is a moment of thanksgiving to God. I know that your churches have always been for people made in the image and likeness of God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Today we celebrate God, who is Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. He is faithful, slow to anger, rich in love and constancy, three persons in one, praiseworthy above all forever.
Today too I invite the people of our Diocese to join in a two year programme, launched here in the Cathedral on Friday night, following the Pope's invitation to contemplate Jesus Christ, to take up holiness as our goal and to launch out in mission to our brothers and sisters to share what we have freely received.
I rejoice in your presence this evening under the patronage of Our Lady Help of Christians as she and we pray for the Lord's guidance on the Church of Melbourne at the beginning of the New Millennium.
Tonight is the beginning of two years of focus on Jesus as Our Lord and Saviour, together with taking up the challenge of responding to the Holy Father's invitation to launch out into the deep. In the lives of our priests and people alike, of individuals and communities, prayer and action to preach the Gospel more effectively in diverse situations has to be the indication of authentic Catholic faith, which is to be shared.
Today we gather with Sister Maria Lucy to thank God for the gift of religious consecration in the Missionaries of Charity, which she has exercised under the inspiration of Jesus. Her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in the special charism of the Institute are a public witness to the transforming power of the Lord.
As we join together in thanking God for her gentle gifts given for us for twenty-five years and as we call to mind our sins, let us ask that the Lord may transform us through the example of religious and through a deeper awareness of God's gifts.