Today we embark again on the season of Lent—a time when we open ourselves to the grace and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth. Through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, we are called into deeper dependence on Jesus, and to share his love with those who need it most.

This week, with World Youth Day 2023 drawing ever closer, we hear an inspiring story from St Andrew’s in Werribee, where parishioners of all ages are raising funds in generous and creative ways to send a group of their young people to Portugal for the spiritual experience of a lifetime.

Last Saturday, St Patrick’s Cathedral experienced one of its largest events in many years when the Lourdes Day Mass, organised by the Order of Malta Australia, returned after a three-year break. Drawing more than 3000 people from across Melbourne, the Mass was an opportunity—especially for the sick and infirm—to experience the presence of God in a special way.

Since its opening last year, the new JPII House in Parkville has become a true ‘home away from home’ for many students. We hear about the community that has been growing there among those seeking to live their faith and pursue their studies alongside like-minded peers, and about the gracious welcome extended to those who might be encountering the love of Jesus for the first time.

In Pope Francis’ official message for Lent 2023, he draws on the story of Christ’s Transfiguration to explore the ways that our individual Lenten journeys and our journey together as the Church might be ‘transfigured’. Lent takes us on a journey, he says, that ‘like a mountain trek, requires effort, sacrifice and concentration’ but that is nevertheless ‘sustained by grace’ to the very end.

Finally, as Lent begins to push us out of our comfort zones, we are invited this Sunday to reflect on Jesus’ own struggles in the wilderness—struggles that might hold important clues for us about what it means to be tempted, to trust and to be truly human.

As you set out today on your own Lenten journey, may you be sustained by the love and grace of God every step of the way.

WYD fundraising at St Andrew’s Werribee: building parish youth and community spirit
Written by: Fiona Basile
The countdown to World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon, Portugal, is on! And with less than six months to go, a small group of young pilgrims from St Andrew’s parish in Werribee has been diligently fundraising since July last year. So far, they’ve raised more than $13,000 with the aim of raising $30,000 before departure day.
Our ‘true Lords and Ladies’: Lourdes Mass draws thousands to St Patrick’s Cathedral
On Saturday 18 February 2023, more than 3000 people gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral for the Lourdes Day Mass, its first celebration in three years due to the pandemic. In his homily, Archbishop Peter A Comensoli said that Lourdes reminds us that the poor and sick are ‘our true Lords and Ladies, our friends in Christ’.
A home away from home: the flourishing of Melbourne’s JPII House
JPII House was opened and blessed in July 2022, and since then the foot traffic has been constant, with students dropping by to study, eat, talk, and pray. Built around three pillars—communion, formation, and mission—it’s a place where students can experience spiritual growth, engage in rich discussions about faith and life, and form new friendships.
Lenten penance and the synodal journey: Pope Francis’ 2023 Lent message
Written by: Pope Francis
In his Lenten message for 2023, Pope Francis focusses on the role of personal and ecclesial ‘transfiguration’, both during Lent and on the Church’s synodal journey, explaining that the grace we experience when we retreat to spend time with Jesus strengthens us 'to be “artisans of synodality” in the ordinary life of our communities’.
Into the wild: a Lenten reflection
Written by: Lucy Davison
This Lent, we follow Jesus again into into the wilderness. It's not always an easy place to be. Hungry, tired and footsore, but also awestruck and inspired, we find we are not little gods after all—not the independent, self-sufficient beings we thought ourselves to be—but creatures, placed in a wild and beautiful creation by a God who is utterly loving and trustworthy.
‘The Lenten journey of penance and the journey of the Synod alike have as their goal a transfiguration, both personal and ecclesial. A transformation that, in both cases, has its model in the Transfiguration of Jesus and is achieved by the grace of his paschal mystery.’
Pope Francis
in his Lenten message for 2023, reflecting on Christ’s Transfiguration
Upcoming events
World Youth Day: information session
Thursday 23 February 2023
7.30pm–9.00pm
As many people continue to express interest in joining our World Youth Day pilgrimage to Lisbon, we are delighted to host an extra information session. Perfect for parish leaders, priests, parents and, of course, young people. The evening will cover: what to expect at World Youth Daytravel itineraries with indicative...
Ukrainian Catholic Church: Prayer for peace in Ukraine
Friday 24 February 2023
6.00pm–9.00pm
The Ukrainian Catholic Church warmly invites all parishioners and friends of the Ukrainian community to come together and pray for peace in Ukraine. The community will pray the Moleben to the Most Holy Theotokos. After the community prayer, there will be a candlelight vigil at Federation Square. Please note, only...
Rite of Election 2023
Sunday 26 February 2023
3.00pm–4.00pm
The Rite of Election is a significant occasion in the life of our local Church in Melbourne. It marks the beginning of the final preparations of our catechumens and candidates towards receiving the sacraments of initiation. Join Archbishop Peter A Comensoli and the Proclaim team at the Rite of Election...
RCIA online seminar series: ‘Into the Deep’
Tuesday 28 February 2023
7.30pm–9.15pm
The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults online seminar series with Fr Elio Capra SDB is aimed at equipping parish clergy, staff and RCIA teams. ‘Into the Deep’—Easter Vigil and the Period of Mystagogia is the fourth session in this series and will include: the Easter Vigil—sacraments of initiationmystagogialife-long discipleship...
St Patrick’s Cathedral concert: Elyane Laussade
Friday 3 March 2023
6.30pm–8.30pm
To open the St Patrick’s Cathedral 2023 Concert Series, acclaimed concert pianist Elyane Laussade brings her distinctive virtuosity and finesse to this beautiful and inspiring space. In a program which is sure to please, Elyane will present several gems of the classical repertoire, including Liszt’s Liebestraum and Mozart’s famous Variations...
Lenten retreat for lawyers: ‘Interior Freedom’ with Fr Cameron Forbes
Sunday 5 March 2023
9.30am–2.00pm
Take time to reflect and deepen your faith with God during this season of Lent. Join ‘Interior Freedom: The Secret to Living a Calm and Fulfilling Life in Times of Stress’ led by Fr Cameron Forbes, Rector of Corpus Christi College.This retreat for Catholic lawyers offers a wonderful setting, inspiring...
CTC: 50th anniversary solemn celebration
Sunday 5 March 2023
3.30pm–4.30pm
The Master of Catholic Theological College, Very Rev Dr Kevin Lenehan, invites you to join the College community at a solemn celebration of evening prayer and occasional address to celebrate 50 years of theological education—occasional address by Dr Graeme Blackman AO, Chancellor, University of Divinity. For all enquiries, email sarah.styring@ctc.edu.au...

For more events, visit our website.

This newsletter is published by the Communications Office
of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne.

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