Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Together with your Canonical Administrators, your Principal, Christopher Houlihan, and so many friends, I welcome you to this Mass of Blessing of Saint Francis of Assisi Chapel.
A Chapel is a place set apart totally for God and for prayer. It has no other use. It is a place where the grace of God is powerfully operating.
In thankfulness for all who have brought this project to reality, we will celebrate this Mass nourished by the Word of God in gratitude for the meetings with God that people will have here, now and in the future.
I will bless water; sprinkle the walls, the people, the altar, the tabernacle and the lectern, before proceeding to the Mass and the Readings. This reminds us that we are a holy people and it is this holy place where our God reaches joyfully into our lives.
Here at Saint Francis of Assisi’s we have listened to God speaking to us in his Word. This day is a moment of tremendous thanksgiving for God’s goodness in bringing Padua College to Mornington and now giving the reality of a permanent Chapel. This Chapel underlines that God lives in the midst of his people. Christ will be continually present in the tabernacle. At this altar Mass will be celebrated so that the redeeming power of the Saviour will come into our lives to uplift them and consecrate them. From the lectern we will hear the Word of God, ponder it and hear it explained as God comes to touch the details of everyday; study, work, creative activity, family life. God is with us too in our moments of joy and sadness. His living presence here in the tabernacle will mean that whether staff or young people we can come here to pray and find silence and comfort. I know the school authorities will ensure that this is always a tranquil place where people can come to meet their God.
At this time in the year many of you at Padua will be thankful for what has been achieved, will have hopes for the future, desires for a relaxing holiday before you begin the New Year. When we meet with God we are refreshed by his Word, nourished by prayer and the Eucharist. It is important, above all, to remember that in every one of us there is a place which only God can fulfil. Saint Augustine it was who said:"Our hearts are made for you O God and they will never rest until they rest in you."
In leading our life, whether of study or work, relationship, family, we need to remember above all that as intelligent human beings God needs to be at the centre of our life. This is why this Chapel of Saint Francis of Assisi, the great Franciscan and one who was a ready helper in time of need and loss, leads us into this Chapel at the centre of this great College.
After our Profession of Faith and Intercessions we will bless the altar, asking that it may be the fountain of the unfailing waters of salvation, where we may draw close to Christ and grow into a holy temple.
The Mass will continue as the great sacrifice of Christ when we remember what he did, pray the prayer he taught us and as one in mind and heart with our sisters and brothers we will receive the Lord in Holy Communion. At the end of Mass, as always, strengthened by our contact with our God and by a mission which he gives to each of us, we will go into the world of today, knowing that God goes with us, strengthening, challenging, consoling and comforting.
May Padua College always be a place where God is to be found, where his love is strong, where his influence carries into all areas of family and society.
+ Denis J. Hart,ARCHBISHOP OF MELBOURNE.