Blessing of the Gathering Space, Retirement Units and Community Centre at Saint Joseph's
Address given by Archbishop Denis Hart
on Sunday, 30th November, 2003, at 4.00pm
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We have gathered to praise God on this First Sunday of Advent and to thank him for his many gifts. The word ‘Advent’ means coming and opens our hearts to the future coming of the Saviour promised for hundreds of years, the coming at Bethlehem, which we commemorate again this year, and to the possibility of the birth of Christ through love in our hearts.
It is a fitting occasion then when we bless the Gathering Space, Retirement Units and Community Centre. I understand that later when the organ is in place I will return to bless it also.
We do this within a celebration of Evening Prayer and Benediction because we are creatures and God is our Lord and Saviour. This prayer that we make is to acknowledge God for who he is, to reach out to all that he has and gives to us and to thank him for it.
Three important enrichments have been added to our parish today. Your parish priest has very wisely provided a new Gathering Space with facilities for people to assemble in friendship so that all may realise that we are brothers and sisters with the closest link of all – that of faith.
The Retirement Units and Community Centre will also provide a venue for people to gather, as well as being an acknowledgement of the wonderful contribution made by many parishioners over many years and who will now reside in these splendid new facilities.
My prayer, as we thank God and praise him for his gifts – is that these new facilities will be used well to praise God in the wonder of his goodness and then through discovering anew the gifts of our brothers and sisters and walking with them in joy and sorrow, we will go out to the world of family, work and society enriched by the gifts that we have and which we share with each other.
May Saint Joseph’s be always a place of reverence and worship and may this church through silence and public prayer be set apart totally for the worship of God. Its foyer, which leads into it, is for brotherly and sisterly sharing, that we may realise the gifts that God has given to each of us, to be enriched by them and reach out to our street and our suburb.
I congratulate you on this endeavour and I rejoice as Archbishop in underlining the importance of a church as a place of prayer, where we gather as brothers and sisters and I am delighted to be with my dear friends here in Saint Joseph’s. May God bless you all.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.