I am honoured to be with you to celebrate the Eucharist, which is the sign of our unity in faith and worship and our sharing in the mission of the Church to teach the message of Jesus to all people.
In paying tribute to your staff and students I remember with gratitude the contribution of the Centre over many years, the skill and zeal of staff, the faith-filled witness of students.
Eleven weeks ago I was privileged for the first time to welcome those who were reflecting on becoming members of the Catholic Church at the Rite of Election. Today I welcome you back after the wonderful moment of your baptism or reception into the Church to congratulate you, to join with you in thanking God for the gift of faith, to pray that he will sustain you in that journey.
Today too, as it is the first Sunday of May, we are joined by the Legion of Mary to honour Mary, the Mother of Jesus, who brought us the Saviour, in a simple ceremony of crowning, which reminds us of the care of the Mother of God for each of us. She is also Mother of the Church.
Often when we are overcome by the conflicts and difficulties of daily life we look for a place of peace and rest; it is almost an escape. And yet Jesus reminds us that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He does not seek to have us escape from our present life, but to entrust that life to him.
As we celebrate this Mass let us ask that we will value our life and what we put into it as precious, as the way to the Father, in which Jesus guides and helps us.
United with his surviving sister Eileen, family and close friends we come to bring the gifted, very human, welcoming and dedicated soul of Father Frank Richards to the God whom he served so faithfully in the parishes of Dalyston, South Melbourne, Preston, and Geelong. He is esteemed by all who knew him in the Catholic Family Welfare Bureau, the Catholic Family Planning Centre, and to the parishioners here who respected him as a devoted pastor, while still exercising other work in the Church from December 1972 until June 1992, when he retired to Justin Villa - since then he has known the regard of the sisters, the staff and his brother priests.