Archbishop's Homilies 2003

Launch of "Stories of Residents" of Saint Joseph's Hostel, Hawthorn

Address given by Archbishop Denis Hart
on Saturday, 6th December, 2003, at 2.00pm


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am delighted to be with you as we celebrate with such enthusiasm the life stories of residents here at Saint Joseph’s Hostel, “Unfolding Memories”.

As a small boy my Dad brought me to this church to serve Mass at a quarter to seven in the morning. Even though we lived at the other end of the parish Saint Joseph’s, both in church and school and its later manifestation as Saint Joseph’s Hostel, has been part of the rich fabric of Hawthorn parish and beyond.

I wish to thank Alan D’Arcy, the Chairman of Catholic Homes for the Elderly, its Executive Officer, Mr. Ross Dawson, your Manageress, Bernadette Mills, the Project Co-ordinator, Mrs. Janet Murray, and all who worked to produce the stories of the residents.

A life story is one of tears and laughter, of family and society, of things past, of faith and truth, and of the hopes of people.

One thing, which is specifically Christian, is that our life always has a dimension of past, present and future. These stories reach back - many of them over ninety years. They tell of a very different Australia, but they recount the enduring values of honesty, generosity, faith and sharing. They speak of work and privation, of hobbies and joy, of hopes, some unfulfilled, but generally they reflect lives well led with contributions to family and community with interest and enthusiasm for those lives, for the present and with hope for the future of eternal life.

The mission of leaders in the Church or in any society is to be people of hope. This is one of the great themes of Pope John Paul II, speaking not only to bishops, that we are to show not only the reason for the hope we have, but to be messengers of hope to the world. My prayer is that these stories will call residents, their families, their friends, and the wider community to reflect upon their stories, to value what is human and precious and to live in the presence of God who loves and understands us.

With esteem for Saint Joseph’s and all of the love and care which is given by staff members here, the interaction between people, and the patience, generosity and prayer of the residents, I readily announce that this collection of stories is launched and I commend it to your attention.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne.