Melbourne News

New Church pulls a crowd

Helena Adeloju, Kairos Catholic Journal, 24 September 2013

SURROUNDING streets were jam-packed on Sunday afternoon as more than 600 parishioners of St Catherine of Siena, Caroline Springs gathered for the Solemn Dedication of the newly completed church and altar.
 
Inside, there was standing room only, as parishioners waited with eager anticipation for the ceremony to begin.
 
The enthusiastic church choir stood ready and waiting donning matching outfits, including sky blue stoles for the occasion.
 
As the hymn House of God rang out, Archbishop Denis Hart processed into the church with Auxiliary Bishop Vincent Long OFMConv, parish priest Fr John Tollan and 14 other concelebrating priests.
 
Archbishop Denis Hart began the Mass by expressing his delight at being present to dedicate the new church to the worship of God.
 
“Indeed, this is truly a holy place,” he said. “The beautiful ceremonies of dedication indicate that this is really a place set apart, where the perfect sacrifice of the Mass, the perfect worship of the Sacraments, and the prayers of the faithful are united with the preaching of the Word of God to draw God’s holy people to him.”
 
Following his greeting the Archbishop carried out the traditional Blessing of the Water. He then passed through the main body of the church sprinkling the people and the church walls with the holy water. He returned to the sanctuary to sprinkle the altar.
 
The reading and the gospel were followed by the Archbishop’s homily.
 
“The church is the house of the people of God,” he said. “First and foremost it is a meeting place. This is a place where God really reaches into your lives. This is a place where we reach out to God and he meets us and cares for us in ways we cannot imagine.”
 
The Archbishop also expressed great happiness that the Catholic community of Caroline Spring have built a church so soon.
 
“This church of Saint Catherine of Siena is set apart as a place of wonder.  The dedication indicates that it is permanently endowed with beauty and skill, renewed and prepared for this permanent celebration some seven years after the beginning of the parish.  It will be a constant and beautiful reminder of the presence and love of God among his people,” he said.
 
Archbishop Hart also noted that the new church was a sign of the communion of the Catholic community of Caroline Springs with himself as Archbishop but also with Pope Francis in Rome.
 
The Archbishop then prayed the Prayer of Dedication and anointed the altar while Fr Tollan anointed the crosses on the walls of the church.
 
After the rite of anointing, a brazier was placed on the altar for the Incensation of the Altar and the Church. During this rite the brazier was lit by the Archbishop to burn the incense.
 
The Archbishop then incensed the altar and the crucifix.
 
Fr Tollan incensed the Archbishop, the congregation and then the walls of the church.
Following the incensation, ministers wiped the table of the altar with cloths and arranged and lit the candles for the Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Communion Rite.
 
At the conclusion of the Mass, Fr Tollan gave some closing remarks.
 
“I want to give thanks to God for what has happened here in our parish over the last seven-and-a-half-years,” he said.
 
He also thanked the architect, builders and the many generous contributors to the building project, and the weekly functioning of the parish.
 
Fr Tollan also made special mention of previous Parish Priest Fr Karmel Borg, who was in attendance for the Solemn Dedication, for the great work done in the early days of the parish.
 
“When the history of the parish comes to be written, I am sure the first three words will be Fr Karmel Borg,” he said.
 
At the conclusion of the Mass parishioners and their families and friends gathered in the school Hall for the cutting of the cake by Bishop Long.
 
An abundant spread of refreshments was served to the throng of guests with the help of many dedicated parish volunteers.

Photos by Casamento Photography

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