Celebrated By Archbishop Denis Hartat St Paul's Church, Kealba,on Saturday, 11th November, 2006 at 6.30pmIntroductionDear Brothers and Sisters,I am delighted to be with Father Portelli and Father O’Connor in this your parish church and the focal point of the spiritual life and Masses in your parish, as we consecrate its new altar.The altar represents Jesus Christ and is the point from which he comes to us. May we reverence this sacred place as a place of prayer, its altar as an altar of sacrifice and salvation, and its priests as priests of the Most High God, set apart to bring the wonderful things of God to people.HomilyDear Brothers and Sisters,Today is a special moment when the altar in our church is set apart and consecrated for the worship of God. More significantly, it represents a turning point in the life of our parish. For the first time a consecrated altar will exist in this building now set apart exclusively as the church and sacred place for our parish.This means that whatever may have been its previous use; this is now a place of silence and prayer. It is not a meeting room or an assembly hall, but a place where God lives and where his grace and light strengthen and guide us.We have already sprinkled water on the walls of the church, now we proceed to understand the meaning of what we are about to do.We remember that in the Old Testament Noah and Abraham built altars as signs of God’s saving help. In Jesus the first altar of the cross brought us our salvation and this altar we consecrate is reserved for the sacrifice of Christ to nourish and strengthen us. Just as blood and water came from Jesus’ side, so the forgiving power of God will come from this altar and through the Sacraments we celebrate here we are able, as friends of Christ, to cast upon him our burdens and cares and to take up our journey in renewed love. It is a source of unity and friendship and the centre of our praise and thanksgiving until, together with Christ, we come to eternal life.This church and altar are a reminder that God’s love is constant and permanent and that when we come here we step aside from the cares of every day to experience in a tangible and warm way the love of our Saviour.I congratulate Father Portelli and all of you who have worked with him in this significant step for our parish and in setting this building apart permanently for God’s worship. It shows how God is to be valued in the life of the parish and the consecration of an altar means that this is a permanent sacred place of the highest importance and this is why the Masses in the parish will be celebrated henceforward at this altar.May the Lord who died on the first altar of the cross, whose sacrifice is represented on this altar, come to fill you with salvation, love and peace and make you witnesses of the hope that only he can offer to others with whom he journeys.May we accompany the Lord on our journey with trusting and loving hearts, as with joy we worship in this beautiful place.
Congratulations to all who have worked so hard and done so well in its renewal.+ Denis J. Hart,Archbishop of Melbourne.