Archbishop's Homilies 2008

Blessing of the Rehabilitation Centre at St George's Hospital, Kew



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I am deeply honoured once again to be with the Sisters of Charity and you, their gifted collaborators, as we bless the refurbished Rehabilitation Centre here at Saint George’s. 

Saint George’s has long been a valued local hospital and more recently a part of the Saint Vincent’s Health Care network caring for older citizens and for many other people. 

It is an important outreach into the community and my presence here and that of so many other guests recognises that.


"Show to the world the reason for the hope that is in you." (1 Peter, Chapter 3)

Dear friends,

Today we have come with great thankfulness to bless the refurbished Rehabilitation Centre here at Saint George’s.  I have used this quotation from Saint Peter because it is essential to the way in which in this Advent time we live the Gospel message.  Last Sunday the Gospel reminded us to stay awake and be vigilant.  In a spiritual sense this means that the Christian looks for ways in which God’s work can be done in the community and how our prayers and works can make a difference.

The words of the Psalm we used on Sunday:  “Lord, make us turn to you.  Let us see your face and we shall be saved”, helps us to see in the essentially Christian vision that it is by keeping our eyes on God and on his vision for the world and the society in which we live that we can make a realistic, hope-filled contribution.  Indeed, the Charity motto:  “The love of Christ urges us on”, is a similar motive.

When we speak of rehabilitation, the hope of what can be achieved and the wonderful stories that I have heard over my priestly life of the encouragement, the skill, the knowledge of those in medical, nursing and allied professions, would fill a whole encyclopaedia I am sure.  In rehabilitation I suspect that one of the most important contributions is to give our clients hope in what they can achieve, to encourage them to persevere and to know that we are walking with them in what we do.

These same three things are applicable in the spiritual life.  Too often our lives can be crowded by the busyness of everyday.  Yet, if we fix our eyes on Christ’s vision of personhood and seek to live the dignity and respect that he has for others, then we will be hope-filled and life-giving.

Second, perseverance:  Even in rehabilitation there are successes and failures.  What is most important is that we seek to enable people to achieve the greatest potential of which they are able at a particular time, to accept that and to offer hope to others.

Lastly, we come to fulfilment because we know that it is in Jesus Christ that we live.

At the Mass for the opening of the Synod of Bishops on 5th October, the Pope asked the question as to whether people are in fact happy when they put themselves first and forget about God.  He even suggests that if we do this we find ourselves lonelier and society is more divided and bewildered.  Even amidst the conflicts and struggles of our daily living, the Pope says, the Word of God tells us again and again that evil and death do not have the last word, but it is Christ who wins in the end.

The charity of Christ, the love of Christ, is the great constant in our lives and is the motivation of all who work here at Saint George’s.  I do invite those who work at all levels in the hospital to remember that this is a Christian place where Jesus Christ is our inspiration and where our hearts and our ability to give and support are enlarged by the vision of Jesus Christ and the hope that, because of him, we can offer to others. 

May this hope and love inspire us and guide and encourage all who work in rehabilitation, whether as clients, clinicians or administrators.  Congratulations on all that you have done here.  May it long continue.

+ Denis J. Hart,
Archbishop of Melbourne