BLESSING AND OPENING OF THE NEW PARISH CENTRE AT SAINT PETER & PAUL’S CHURCH, EAST DONCASTER, BY ARCHBISHOP DENIS HART ON SUNDAY, 30 NOVEMBER 2008 AT 3PM.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I am rejoicing to be with Father Gill and each of you as we bless and open your new Parish Centre.
Recent years have brought quite a deal of hard work to provide adequate facilities for the parish; an appropriate residence for the priest and an appropriate parish centre, where parishioners can gather and be welcomed as members of the family of God’s people.
Today then is a fitting moment when we thank God for his many blessings as we bless and dedicate this Centre.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In the Catholic Church when we speak about our parish we speak about a place where particularly we feel at home. We, or our children, have been baptised and educated here. We receive the Sacraments regularly here. Marriages, funerals, special occasions, are all brought into the ambit of God by the life of the parish.
In the same way that the welcoming area was added to the church some years ago, so with the same atmosphere of welcome and care for the people of East Doncaster, Saint Peter and Paul’s now boasts this new Parish Centre, which we bless with rejoicing today.
Above all, our parish is a place of encounter with God. As brothers and sisters, we come with our priest into the presence of our God who loves and cares for us, rejoicing in the gifts which he gives through his Sacraments; the constant nourishment of prayer and worship, the constant human sharing as brothers and sisters.
The primary purpose of our parish is to make us holy, to help us to reach out to God, to deepen our knowledge and faith and to help us then to go into the community as ambassadors for Christ, showing his gifts to the world. In a modern society the relationship with our parish has become more complex. Not all our parishioners are as regular as they might be in the sharing in worship of the parish. Many of our families are challenged, either in their own relationships or in the huge material pressure, which is placed upon them. The sick, the elderly, those in need of comfort and strength and pastoral care, are a constant and important part of our parish. It is for them that we, as brothers and sisters, gather together to use our gifts to reach out to all those in need.
A Parish Centre, therefore, should be an oasis of care and love, where Christian values, the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ, the vision, which his Church provides is offered to us.
In this regard I would pay particular acknowledgment to employed and voluntary parish staff. Your sharing is a very real participation in the work of extending the Gospel. However, we must remember that these things cannot be left just to one or two. It is vital that we all see that in our own particular way; in family, community and parish, we either build up or tear down the relationships which God means us to have and the care that he means to extend.
I would like everyone here to feel that you have a place in God’s love, in our church, in the sharing of the community in the parish and in the mission which God gives to you, which he gives to no other, of knowing his love, witnessing to it and carrying it to others.
Be sure, as with gratitude today we celebrate this opening, let us remember above all our priorities. Our parish leads us to holiness, deepens and reflects our faith, emphasises our role as brothers and sisters, as we reach out to others.
I pay special tribute to Father Gill, to the builder and architect and to so many of you who have worked together to bring about this magnificent project. Be sure that Saint Peter and Paul’s is an important part, highly regarded and respected, in the Archdiocese of Melbourne.
+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne