Archbishop's Homilies 2003

Mass for the Migrant Chaplains in the Archdiocese of Melbourne

Celebrated by Archbishop Denis Hart
at Saints Cyril & Methode Church, Kew.
on Tuesday, 2nd December, 2003, at 10.00am


My dear Brother Priests,

I rejoice being with you to celebrate this Mass for those who minister to the Migrant Communities in the Melbourne Archdiocese.

I am deeply grateful to Father Ciril for his welcome, as together we reach into the heart of the Trinity; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, revealed to us in the person of Jesus and present with us in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

As we call to mind our sins, let us ask the Lord that he will strengthen and guide us on our journey.


My dear Brothers in the Priesthood,

Today’s Gospel begins with a remarkable phrase, which often receives little attention. Jesus was “filled with joy by the Holy Spirit” as he said, “I bless you, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, for hiding these things from the learned and the clever and revealing them to mere children.” (Luke 10.21)

Right throughout his twenty-five year Pontificate Pope John Paul II has led the Church along a profound journey to recognise the full realisation of the oneness between God and human beings.

Beginning with Redemptor Hominis, then examining human work, the jubilee of redemption, the meaning of suffering, the role of the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Virgin Mary, his instruction on the respect for life and on the reform of the Curia, the publication of the Catholic Catechism, the letter for the Centenary of Rerum Novarum, the Exhortation on the Exercise of Priesthood.

Then there is a transition to moral life: Veritatis Splendor (1993), the letter to families, his book ‘Crossing the Threshold of Hope’, Evangelium Vitae on the value of human life. Fides et Ratio on the relationship between faith and reason and the lead up to the Great Jubilee with a series of Synods and finally Novo Millennio Ineunte, the Church’s programme for the new millennium.

Some weeks ago I was delighted to be with you in the Cathedral as we thanked God for the present Pontificate.

I have used that first sentence of the Gospel, describing the joy which the Holy Spirit gives to remind us that the Lord invites us to live in the communion and mutual interdependence of the Trinity. Just as the Father and Jesus lived for each other and their love breathed forth the Holy Spirit poured out into our hearts, so too, as Archbishop I emphasise that you my brothers in the priesthood are important and equal members with the most longstanding diocesan priests of the Archdiocese in the presbyterium.

We are all called to make a real effort to be united in our common challenge of mission to bring the knowledge of Jesus Christ to those whom we serve and to do it together as gifted priests in a great Archdiocese.

I have often admired the long hours, patient care and long distances that have indicated the commitment, which the migrant chaplains have given to the service of your people. Let me say that your work is something which I esteem above all and which enriches the whole Diocese.

We must remember that ours is a spiritual mission to bring the love and relationships of the Trinity more actively into the daily lives of our people, notwithstanding the onset and inroads of secularism. In his famous section of the first Letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 13.2), Saint Paul underlines love which reflects the self-giving of the Trinity as being at the heart of all that we do.

It is worthy of our considering the words of Saint Therese of Lisieux, “I understood that the Church had a heart and that this heart was aflame with love. I understood that love alone stirred the members of the Church to act … I understood that love encompassed all vocations, that love was everything.” (Manuscript B3 Volume p. 226)

The Holy Spirit is the love of God poured into our hearts. As we offer this Mass and praise God for the vision which he has given us in Jesus Christ let us rededicate ourselves to the service of the Gospel inspired and encouraged by the knowledge that we are never alone, but are supported by our God and his Blessed Mother and by our brother priests in this great Archdiocese.


+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.