I am delighted to be with you as Migrant Chaplains in our great Archdiocese. In your selfless work, for some of you over many years, we have the key to why our people who have come here and settled in Melbourne are so well joined in our great Archdiocese. Father John Raccanello keeps telling me of the needs of the Chaplains; the support, which Chaplains need through each other, the importance of recognition by the Archdiocese that the work that you do is completely irreplaceable.
As members of your community become older they have an even greater need of the Sacraments. You are providing them lovingly, with faith and with tremendous energy despite the challenging way in which you have to travel many miles at inconvenient times to be with them.
I rejoice at being with you as your Archbishop and as an old Xaverian returning to the place where so much of my education took place. I first came here as a student forty-seven years ago and left here forty-two years ago.
Saint Francis Xavier is recognised as a most remarkable person, fired by enthusiasm and love for Jesus Christ. His learning at the university and in the theology school of Paris brought him to such a compelling love of Jesus that he could not keep it to himself; he had to share it with others. His heroic labours in India, Goa, Japan and the islands approaching China gained him nomination as the patron of all missionary work.
"Our salvation is nearer than it was when we first came to believe."
The Church invites us to spend four short weeks preparing for the coming of Christ, remembering that in the lives of each one of us he will come as our judge most certainly on a day and at a time we do not expect. We have to be vigilant in looking for Christ, in following holiness, and courageous in launching out into the deep.
Joseph Tran Thanh Giang comes forward in our presence tonight to receive the Order of Deacon. On this First Sunday of Advent the Gospel, which is the Deacon's special prerogative, emphasises that one who is chosen to be a Deacon and a Priest has to be alert to the call of God and through his Holy Word points out that message of life to God's people.